By the time your baby reaches around 4 – 6 months of age, it’s time to start feeding them solid foods. Whilst breast milk and formula do give your baby the nutrients they need, when they grow a little bigger, solid foods are a great way to complement breastfeeding or formula and wean them off of milk. The transition from breastfeeding or formula feeding to solid foods can be a tricky one, so here are 5 of the best tips for making the transition as smooth as possible.
1. Start simple
The best tip is to start simple. Try to feed your baby single ingredient foods at first, and wait to see if they have any reactions to them such as rashes, diarrhea or vomiting before introducing another. This is a great way to keep track of any allergies and to see how each food affects your baby. Once you’ve given them single ingredient foods you can give them combinations of foods you know they can eat and build from there.
2. Choose store-bought baby food wisely
If you’re opting for store-bought foods such as baby food jars or baby food pouches, make sure that you choose them wisely. Often what is marketed as healthy or clean baby food can actually be high in sugar, preservatives, and filler ingredients that your baby simply doesn’t need and that can negatively affect their health. You do have the option of making your own baby food by simply blending up ingredients with some water to make baby food which is perfect for knowing exactly what your baby is eating.
3. Cover the main nutrients
Whether you’re buying baby food or making your own, once your child has been introduced to solid foods, remember to cover the main nutrients. Babies need nutrients like iron and zinc in their first year, which can be found in meat products and cereals, but also need other vitamins and minerals that can be given to them by introducing a healthy, balanced diet to them.
4. Remember what’s off-limits
When it comes to feeding your baby solid foods, there are a few no-gos. Babies are not supposed to have cow’s milk as it can contain harmful spores, or honey before the age of one, so it’s useful to remember that when thinking about what to give your baby.
Another key thing is to not give your child anything to eat that they can choke on. This includes:
- Hard foods such as raw vegetables and hard candies
- Food that is too large and could get lodged in their throats such as chunks of meat, cheese or fruit.
To avoid your child choking on foods, make sure that you cut them up into small pieces and that they have softer foods where possible.
5. Don’t give up
The transition from breastfeeding to solid foods can be difficult, and if your child is resisting solid foods the best tip is to not give up. If they don’t like what you’re feeding them, then try something new because something will stick. As long as you don’t give up and revert back to breastfeeding or formula, you’re going in the right direction and your child will be enjoying solid foods before you know it!