Breastmilk and formula milk is packed with all the nutrients your baby needs. But introducing baby food early will help in establishing good and nutritious eating habits. At the age of 6 months, your baby will be ready for complementary feeding.
Signs that your Baby is Ready for Solid Foods
Before introducing your child to baby food, you have to look for signs that your baby is ready to try food other than milk or formula. The signs that he or she is ready and is able to eat solid food includes:
- He or she can sit upright with minimal or no support.
- The baby can hold his or her head steady.
- The baby is sucking his or her hands and toys and putting things near or inside the mouth.
- Showing signs of interest for food (leaning forward or opening mouth whenever he or she sees food).
Clinically, complementary feeding starts when a baby is 6 months old. The basis for this is the “extra” caloric requirement needed by the infant around this time.
Which baby food recipes should I serve first?
Introducing baby food and preparing baby food recipes for your child does not necessarily mean you should discontinue breastmilk or formula feeding. Your baby will still depend on milk for nutrients.
Breast milk is still the best and a priority. It doesn’t matter if the baby will just have a bite or two of solid foods, as long as they continue to drink milk. This will be no problem; this is why it is called “Complementary Feeding.”
You should also ask your baby’s doctor if you can start adding solid food in your baby’s diet and appropriate baby food recipes. If the doctor agrees, here are the things to consider before serving the baby his or her first baby food:
Baby food recipes and tips
Pureed or mashed foods
This is the best way to go at first. Then replace the type of food every 3 days.
As your baby’s first meal, single-ingredient food with no added salt or sugar is the good way to go. This will also help him or her familiarize with the flavor and texture of the food. Also, it will be easy to identify if your baby is allergic to that specific food. You can gradually add ingredients and combinations to introduce the baby to new flavors.
Serve food with high levels of Iron and Zinc
These nutrients found in single-grain foods and pureed liver are important for your baby’s first year. These baby food recipes are often easy to prepare.
Serve fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are easy to prepare and important in your growing baby’s diet. Introducing these foods this early, specifically vegetables, will lower the chances of your child becoming a picky-eater. It is also rich in fiber and is easier to digest.
Oats and cereal for baby
Serving store-bought oats and cereal for baby is a debatable option for an infant’s first food. But studies now show that serving cereal for baby is still okay as long as it doesn’t have to be the sole first food and is served alongside meat, fruits and vegetables. Baby rice cereals are easy to prepare and most common brands are fortified with iron and zinc which is crucial for growth and development. You can mix it breastmilk or formula milk instead of water for a healthier version.
Serve small portions of finely chopped finger foods
As your child becomes accustomed to different foods and has established a meal routine, you can start serving finger foods by the age of 8-10 months, and finely chopped foods around 10 to 12 months.