Making appropriate food choices for your baby is crucial, especially during the first year of their life as more growth occurs during the first year than at any other time in the child’s life. Therefore, it is significant to feed your baby a variety of healthy foods at the proper time. Good eating habits at this early stage can help set healthy eating patterns for life.
When Do Babies Start Eating Baby Food? – Baby Feeding Guide
As suggested by the CDC, babies should not be fed solid baby food until they are four months old. Your baby should be able to sit up on their own and take food off the spoon before you introduce them to solids. As stated by Dr. Alice Kuo of UCLA, introducing solid food early can result in your baby getting less breast milk over the course of their infancy, which decreases their ability to get optimal benefits such as protection against infections.
Four to Eight Months
From the age of four to six months, you need to breastfeed your baby around 28 to 32 ounces each day along with three to five tablespoons of iron-fortified dry cereal mixed with a formula. Make sure you make the first cereal feedings very soupy and thicken them slowly. When your baby reaches seven to eight months, you can start feeding them arrowroot cookies, crackers, plain yogurt or toast. Gradually, increase the intake of solid food and decrease formula intake.
Nine to Twelve Months
At this stage, do not stop or reduce the amount of breastmilk. Just introduce your kid to two to four tablespoons of mashed fruits and vegetables twice a day along with finely chopped meat, fish without bones, and mild cheese. Four to six ounces of fruit juices can also be good for the baby. As your baby grows, you can prepare mashed potatoes, macaroni, or spaghetti for them. Make sure that their diet has a good variety.
Top 11 Baby Feeding Tips
Introducing your little one to solids is no easy task, so here are a few tips to help you.
- In the beginning, give your baby one new food at a time and do not mix cereal and fruit. Give the new food three to five days and then add another new food to the diet. This can help you determine what foods your baby cannot tolerate or might be allergic to.
- Do not use sugar or salt when making homemade infant food. Canned foods also contain large amounts of salt and sugar and should not be used as baby food.
- Always wash vegetables and fruits and remove their pits or seeds. This is because fruits and vegetables that come into contact with the ground may contain botulism spores and can cause food poisoning.
- Do not add cow’s milk to the diet until your kid is one-year-old as it does not offer the proper nutrients for your baby.
- Feed all food with a spoon since your baby needs to learn to eat from a spoon. Avoid using an infant feeder. Only water and formula should go into the bottle.
- Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle propped in their mouth as it has been linked to increased chances of ear infections and there is also a risk of choking. Once your toddler’s teeth are present, propping the bottle can also result in tooth decay.
- Forcing your child to eat all the food on their plate even when they are not hungry is not a good habit. It teaches them to eat only because the food is there and not because they are hungry. As your kid’s growth rate slows around the age of one, you should expect a smaller and pickier appetite.
- Infants and young kids should not eat nuts, seeds, hot dogs, round candies, hard and raw fruits and vegetables, popcorn, peanut butter and grapes. These items are not safe and can cause your child to choke. Many doctors recommend these foods be saved until your child is three or four years old.
- Always watch your young one when they are eating and insist that they sit down to eat or drink.
- Healthy infants usually need little or no extra water except if the weather is hot. However, when solid food is first introduced to your baby, they might need extra water.
- Do not restrict your baby’s food choices to the ones you like as offering a wide variety of foods early will result in good eating habits later.