Wednesday, September 10, 2014

5 Easy Ways To Switch Your Baby To Solids

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The first 6 months in your baby's life are the months where nothing but your feed should provide the nutrition. Of course, in those situations where baby is not getting enough for whatever reasons, a discussion with your baby's doctor will tell you which formula milk you can give baby.

Once your baby crosses the important 6 month mark, it's time to move into mushier and messier territory. Yes, introducing your baby to solids is actually as much messy as it's fun. But I'm sure you're gonna love the phase as much as your baby, who will have a lot on her palate now!

Before you move on to introducing your baby to solids, you need to make sure that your baby is ready for the transition.

How Will I Know If My Baby Is Ready For Solids?

Most babies are ready by the 6th month to move on to the grown-up world of food, albeit with baby steps. For some babies, it may be even a little earlier. Here are some common signs that will tell you that your little one is ready to move on to solids:

  • If your baby is able to hold her head on her own for a long period of time at a stretch
  • If your baby can sit up considerably well for a good amount of time, whether in a proper high chair or even a car seat
  • If your baby starts making mouth movements and sounds
  • When your baby starts showing an interest in what you are eating - a good way to notice this is by sitting with your baby together at meal times

Once you see these signs in your baby, it is time to start a few steps into the solid foods world.

5 Easy Ways To Switch Your Baby To Solids:

Once your baby is showing you she is ready, it's time to bring on the gear. To help your baby get interested in meal times and let her transition easily, here are a few things you can do:

  1. Let her sit with you at meal times, as this will teach her all about the eating rules (of course I don't mean that your baby will become a pro at table manners in a month, but what it means is that your baby will start identifying the meal times as times when she will be eating, and very soon will be looking forward to it)
  2. Give her a baby spoon to let her get a feel of things
  3. Start by giving very very tiny portions, like just a little bit at the tip of the spoon. Wait for her reaction. See if she likes it or throws it out.
  4. Introduce new tastes and textures at a safe space of about 4-5 days. This will help you identify if any particular food item is causing a reaction, and also give baby a chance to get acquainted with the taste.
  5. Start by giving liquid food, move on to semi-solid and then solids. 

5 Things You May Need While Starting Baby On Solids:

Though it is not mandatory, these things can help make the initial phase of introducing solid food a little less messier and more comfortable for both your baby and you:
  1. Get a comfortable seat, it could either be her car seat, a pram or the regular high-chair, depending on age and preference
  2. Invest in baby cutlery, like plastic spoons and bowls, as these will not harm the soft gums
  3. Get a full-body weaning bib that will ensure baby does not get splashed with food 
  4. Keep some baby towels handy to clean baby up when she has food all around her mouth.
  5. It is a good idea to have an old towel or old mat placed under baby's seat, on the floor, so that it holds any spills or food droppings that are bound to be made during feed time.
5 Semi-Solid And Solid Foods To Start With:

While different babies will have a different preference and taste range, there are a few types of food that are generally introduced in the starting phase, when your baby is eating solids for the first time.

For the first few times, you can try giving your baby the following:

  1. Lentils (dals)
  2. Pureed fruit
  3. Pureed vegetables
  4. Rice
  5. Grains mixed in breast or formula milk

These are some of the easiest and safest introductory foods that you can offer your baby.

5 Things To Remember:
Your baby is eating for the first time in her life! And this is a big moment for her, as well as a difficult or confusing one:

  1. Give her enough time to finish her mouthful
  2. Understand when she has had enough. Usually, once she is full, she will either move her head away, or push away your hand, or spit food out. 
  3. Respect her wishes to stop. In case she doesn't like something, do not force her to eat it.
  4. Introduce all kinds of healthy food to your baby, in their own time. Just because you don't like something does not mean it is not healthy for your baby, or that she will not like it. Let her decide.
  5. Stay away from instant foods as much as possible. If you can, make her food fresh each day, rather than storing it up in the fridge or refrigerator.

Do Not:

Remember that doctors do not recommend starting the following food till at least the 9th month:

  1. Chicken
  2. Eggs
  3. Dry Fruits
  4. Dairy Products
  5. Honey - not before baby has turned a year old

My younger daughter is now 13 months old and she absolutely loves meal times. So much so that once she has finished her own meals, she wants to eat from our plates too!

I have been able to interest her in all kinds of vegetables and fruits, as well as lentils and meat, though she does not seem to like eggs yet.

It's quite a fun process watching her eat, along with my elder daughter...and together, they do manage to create quite the mess.....!!!

- Debolina Raja Gupta

And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!! Be good to your little one, and to the millions of little ones out there who truly need every bit of love and compassion they can get.....Be a grown the little ones.... Debolina Raja Gupta

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