How to get your baby to eat solid food is a concern for parents everywhere. Babies tend to vary depending on their separate development, but there are some rules that should be noted. Think about when the right time to offer your child solid foods would be and then use useful tips to make the introduction as easy as possible.
Most doctors and health professionals think that a baby should be at least six months old before the gradual introduction of solid food, while still regularly being fed milk. If yours is a breastfed child it’s best for you to do this no more than for six months. Nutrients such as iron, which children need at this age, can’t be fully catered for from breast milk at this point. If your child has been fed formula they should be given this for the first six months also, unless a health visitor or doctor has advised you to feed them any other type.
It’s a lot safer for your child to start eating solids at this point. Their digestive system has developed making it less likely that they’ll develop an infection. It’s also less likely that a child will have any adverse reactions to their food because their immune system is more mature at this stage of their development.
Don’t give your child any food they might have a bad reaction to, if you choose to introduce solids at this point. Cows milk and dairy products, fish and shellfish, citrus fruits and juices and anything with gluten in them are not advisable and have been reported to cause negative reactions from babies who have eaten them at this stage.
When introducing solids it’s wise to start with easily digestible food s such as mashed or pureed vegetables. You could offer your baby vegetables like carrot, Swede, potato or sweet potato which have been mashed or pureed. They can also be offered fruits which have been mashed or pureed, like mango, pear, banana or cooked apple. To give your child more fibre you can offer them baby rice, cornmeal or maize by mixing it in with some of their milk.
You can introduce these new foods to your baby in the middle of a feed to make the transition smoother. Pick a relaxed time that’s works for both of you. If the food is hot make sure it has been well stirred, cool enough to eat and take time to test it on the inside of your wrist before giving it to them.
It may take your baby a while to get used to these new flavours. Don’t be surprised if, initially, it is rejected or the food is spat out. Just try again during a later feed . If that doesn’t work you can make the food a little blander by mixing it with a few teaspoons of your baby’s milk.
To begin with it will appear like the baby isn’t eating enough, but it helps to be patient during this time. Remember that they are learning to eat as they go along. As the child’s mouth begins moving more from side to side and the chewing actions become more obvious, add less milk and water to their food, to make it lumpier and chunkier. This will let them manipulate food with their gums and teeth and help them to get used to swallowing. Once they have become used to the new foods add more. Make sure that you also raise the amount of times they eat solid food during a day. By the seventh month they should have solid food up to three times per day.