Are you a new parent? Are you having trouble figuring out when to introduce solids? Not to worry, as there are a few signs that will help you realize your baby needs more food in their body.
Normally, solid foods are introduced to your baby between the ages of 4 to 6 months when your baby is ready to swallow and digest such foods. If you think your baby may not be ready, then you can continue breastfeeding them as well as using the formulas which will give your baby all the nourishments and calories they need.
Feeding solids to babies after 6 months is probably one of the safest options, especially if you are confused about whether your baby is ready. Nevertheless, here are some signs that will help you understand whether your baby is ready for solid foods yet or not.
What Signs Will Tell Me If My Baby Is Ready for Solids?
When you want to start your baby on solids, there is no need to look at a calendar to see how old they are. You simply need to watch your baby and see when they are ready to eat. Here are some of the obvious signs:
- Your baby will start sitting up with your support and will start to grab things and reach out for anything around them. They will also start to put things in their mouth, such as their hands. If your baby is sitting upright, they will be able to swallow foods properly.
- Your baby will start to look at you eat and will try to copy your hand movements from spoon to mouth.
- Your baby will try to copy your actions, such as if you open your mouth, they will also try to open their mouth wide.
- By the age of 6 months, some babies can start saying small words like yes and no. If you ask your baby if they want to eat, they might say yes or no and will either lean towards the food or away from it. Your baby might be confused with what they are about to eat, so offer it to your baby to taste first, but don’t force them to consume it.
- Your baby will learn how to use their tongue to move food to the back of their mouth to swallow. Once they start swallowing their food, you will notice your baby will start drooling less. Although, if your baby is teething, there still might be a lot of drooling.
- Your baby will be ready to eat solid foods when they have gained at least double the amount of weight from when they were born or should weigh at least 15 pounds. This could happen when they turn 4 months old or by 6 months at the most.
- Your baby’s appetite will start growing. Even if you feed them 8 to 10 times a day, your baby will want more food.
- Your baby will start to get curious about what you are eating and will start looking at your plate of food and will try to reach out for what you are eating.
What Is the Best Time for Feeding Solids to My Baby?
Offering solid foods to your baby completely depends on your baby and when they will be willing to try some. Some of the best timings to offer your baby solids are:
- Offering your baby new solid foods early lunch time is one of the best times as baby is also in a good mood and will be more interactive and playful at that time.
- If you are breastfeeding your baby, you can try offering your baby solid foods towards the end of the day. For mothers, milk supply is usually the lowest towards the end of the day, therefore leaving your baby hungrier and more likely to eat solids in between of breast feedings.
- Feeding solid food to your baby can take some time because there will be a lot of dropping, spitting, dabbling and smearing all over the place, so make sure you are not in a hurry and can enjoy these new moments with your baby.
What Foods Should I Feed My Baby Once I Start Solids?
Babies are extremely unpredictable and are always changing their habits each day. You should start your baby on watery or squashed foods to lumpy foods at a slow pace and then increase it depending on how much your baby starts to eat. You may be feeding your baby solids once a day, but within a few weeks, your baby might be eating solids as many times a day as you are. Here are some good suggestions that can help you figure out what solid foods to offer to your baby.
- Cereal: When your baby is about 8 or 9 months old, you can start feeding them plain rice or barley cereal. High protein cereals are great for babies because it gives them a good amount of protein. There are also baby cereals that contain calcium and phosphorus, and also vitamins and iron. You can mix the cereal with breast milk or formula and make it as thick as you want. Cereal may be very bland and tasteless and your baby might reject it at first. So if your baby isn’t allergic to any cereal and any kinds of fruits, you can mix up some fruits with cereal to give the food a better flavor.
- Carrots: You can feed cooked baby carrots to your child, which are great if you want to give your baby some vitamin A intake. Carrots also improve your baby’s eyesight. Steam, slice and peel the carrots without adding anything to them. Smash the cooked carrots until they become of a thick consistency and are easy for your baby to eat.