Set the stage for a life with good nutrition by making your baby’s transition to solid foods smooth and healthy.
You have the spoon in one hand and the camera in the other: you’re ready to give your baby the first solid food! It’s an exciting time, but it can also be a little stressful for dads. Will your baby get excited about the little plane? Is it the right time for me to try solid food? Is it safe?
1.- From 6 months on, solid food is introduced
The decision to move towards solid food comes down to two things: safety and nutrition. From six months of age, babies often develop the ability to place their upper lip around a spoon and bring food to the back of their mouth. At this age, they begin to sit and hold their head, which is necessary to maintain their safety and prevent them from drowning.
However, because each child’s development can vary, it’s important that when he or she is about six months old, you notice signs that your baby is prepared to eat solid foods. Ask:
Can my baby sit and keep his head upright by himself?
Is my baby the right weight?
Is my baby interested in seeing how others eat?
Does my baby have control of his tongue and possess the ability to swallow?
While the exact time to introduce solid foods will depend on each baby’s individual development, the Mexican Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding within the first six months of life.
2.- Starts slow and simple
The first solid foods for your baby, such as a piece of banana or broccoli, may also include purees, enriched with iron, or vegetables and fruit, explains Dr. Hurtado. Start with solid foods once a day and increase to two or three times a day, when you both feel comfortable.
According to a review of evidence published in Nutrients, allowing your child to feed on his or her self at an early age, can encourage better eating patterns and lead to healthier body weight. Start with small portions afterward, gradually increase portions to about a quarter cup.
3.- Food on request
“One of the important parts of teaching your baby about eating is following the supply and demand rule,” says Dr. Hurtado. “Babies and children have an innate sense of how much they need to eat. Let your baby be your guide.”
Similarly, remember that during the transition to solid food – which can take about six months or more – it is very important to continue to regularly feed it with breast milk or formula.
4.- Mix the menu with healthy foods
It’s easy to fall into the routine when you introduce solid food. Remember that the foods you now give your baby can set the stage for the foods they will eat for the rest of their lives, adds Dr. Mafalda. “You have a little window of opportunity to teach your baby to love healthy food. Don’t waste it.”
And when you start varying the menu, you’d better not choose high-fat, sugar, or salt food. This can increase that children prefer it, having a negative impact on their eating habits in the future.
5.- Introduce potentially allergenic foods gradually
Many parents worry about introducing foods that can cause an allergic reaction to their baby, so avoid giving them eggs, nuts, or shellfish. But in the future, these will be part of a balanced diet. The Mexican Academy of Pediatrics recommends that, at an early age, parents present their babies with allergenic foods, as this could prevent the development of specific food allergies.
If you identify any symptoms of food allergy such as cough, swelling, or rash, call your pediatrician immediately. Together, you can determine if there is an allergy.
Introducing the right foods early can give your baby a life of good nutrition and health. But take it easy, don’t be afraid to experiment with food, and most importantly, enjoy this key moment in your baby’s development and growth.
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