Learn tips on how to introduce solid food to your baby, what foods to start with and the proper way to feed.
Breast milk is the ideal form of nutrition for newborns. But as a baby's nutritional requirments continue to grow, complementary foods should be introduced.
To know if it is time to wean your baby, he/she is likely to be ready if the following behaviors are exhibited:
- Adequate head and neck control
- Ability to sit well when supported
- Disappearance of the tongue thrust extrusion reflex
- Increased drooling and putting things into mouth
- Interest in food and/or people eating
Before starting weaning, be sure to use a feeding chair with adequate head and body support to ensure your child is seated upright. Use rolled-up towels or pillows for added support.
First food preparation
As first food for your baby, iron-fortified, milk-free, single grain cereal is preferred. By adding your baby's usual milk, the taste will be familiar to your baby. Mix sufficient milk to ensure the consistency is thin but still slightly thicker than milk. The mix should still be able to flow from the spoon.
Apart from cereals, pureed meats are an excellent source of iron for your baby. To puree foods, first boil the piece of meat and add eough water or milk to blend to a puree consistency. Use a sieve to remove lumps of meat so oly a smooth puree remains.
Introducing new foods
Always introduce 1 need food at a time and monitor tor signs of food allergy 3 to 4 days before introducing another new food.
Pick the right weaning spoon and use it correctly
For babies who have just started weaning, a soft shallow weaning spoon is recommended. To use it properly, present the spoon straight when putting it in and taking it out of your baby's mouth. Wait for your baby to close his/her lips over the spoon. Avoid scraping the spoon against the teeth or lips.
If your baby shows signs of wanting more food, you can increase the quantity of each meal. But beware of force feeding. Once your baby is able to take 3 tablespoons of solid food, it is sufficiet to replace a milk feed. You may also increase spoon feeding frequency to 2 to 3 times daily to establish a meal pattern similar to your family's.
Don't miss Part 2 of our "Baby Feeding Tips" video where we'll show you how to encourage your child to self-feed.