Starting a solid food is one of the major milestones in a baby’s first year and it’s a long (Messy) process. Couple days ago my son turned 1 year old, and now he eats almost everything we eat (no spices though). When I turn back to myself, conscious to feed anything new with a lot of questions in my head and a very confused mom. Today I thought I should pen down everything I learned in this process, so here I’m listing a few pointers to be considered before starting solids to little one. Please go step by step and don’t forget to get a thumbs up from the baby’s pediatrician before starting anything.
Is your baby ready for solids?
Each child’s food readiness depends on their own growth and physical development. Starting solids before the baby is ready can lead to choking, indigestion or other serious health issues and we can’t be late in this process because it can delay the baby’s overall development.
So Finding out whether a baby is ready for solids is the most important task in the whole process, please check below few pointers :
Baby is 6 months old – Babies should be breastfeed (if possible) or formula feed up to 6 months of age. Although you can start solids between 4 to 6 month old, check with your pediatrician and then proceed.
Baby sits on his/her own – This is one most important point, babies should be able sit on his/her own without any props/support and have really good head control. As suggested by doctors, babies should be fed in sitting positions only.
Baby weight – according to the American Academy of Pediatrics When babies double their birth weight or reach at least 13 pounds, they may be ready to start solids.
Baby looks interested in your food – If the baby looks interested in your food or leans forward when offered food and opens his mouth, this is one of the signs that they are ready to taste a treasure of flavors.
Last but not least baby is all healthy, no fever, cold or stuffy nose while starting this phase.
What are the required stuffs? Preparations?
Now once you are sure your baby is ready to start solids, now comes the most exciting part of moms life. Shopping !!! Yes, I was very excited to get a high chair and bibs and bpa free stuff to feed the baby.
A high chair or feeding chair is one must thing, I feel it keeps the baby in a proper position and gets them used to eating in one place (and not running all over the place) And A few bibs to reduce mess.
Choosing a high chair – points to be considered).
No need to buy baby bowls or plates, I used the regular steel or glass bowls but temp sensing spoons which are also soft edged are worth the penny else u can stick to normal bpa free spoons and bowls.
I personally used a few silver utensils for baby feed – The fact is that Silver kills bad bacteria. I heard a story that in ancient times, when there weren’t cleaners for water yet, the people lowered a silver spoon in water and the water became purer and with the minimum quantity of bad bacteria! So, if you have any utensils or if it can be easily available, go ahead and use them, but don’t fret about it.
And yes you need a mixer to puree baby food and Any small mixer works. Remember you will need it only for a few months to puree as the baby will start chewing or eating finger food . regular Mixer grinder – baby bullet or any small bullet works so Don’t spend too much on baby food makers but grinder jar should be thoroughly cleaned before using for baby food as it can have other spices or flavors.
If you need a few small jars to package homemade baby food when travelling(if you travel often or plan for any).
What should be given first? And how?
As the first time you are giving something apart from breast milk/formula milk so be very careful about what should be given and how. Always feed the baby in sitting position, if possible fix the spot for feeding – high chair or booster seat with tray.
Prefer to feed new items at morning time so you get enough time to observe the whole day about digestions or any allergies. If the baby is not able to digest the item you will notice some symptoms like skin rash, constipation or loose motions and you get enough time to react if anything.
Always start with 2 -5 spoons or lesser quantity for the first 3 days, feed the same item for 3 consecutive days and once you are sure then change time and quantity if you feel the baby is comfortable with that item. I avoid buying jarred baby food as it’s full of preservatives. Just my opinion.
I Prefer home made fresh food (Home made quick khichdi mixture) and always start with fruits and vegetables purees one by one with a 3 days thumb rule. for both my kids I started with lentil and rice water (yellow moong dal are best to start with) slowly increasing the consistency reducing the water content. Then start adding veggies or fruits one by one but Make sure you give each new thing for at least 3 days before moving to a new one.
Few tips to follow :-
You can use BM/FM or water to make smooth puree.
Cook and finely grind barley, rice, lentils and other grains.
Remove seeds/skin and hard pits from fruit/vegetables and then cut into small pieces.
Hard fruits and vegetables, like apples, pear and carrots need to be cooked.
Cook food until soft enough to easily mash.
List of fruits/vegetables to be considered – Carrot, apple, pear, sweet potato, pumpkin, banana, avocado, green peas.
Be ready for Expected changes and multiple sessions of cook,feed and clean. Starting a solid is a messy process. Sometimes babies will eat the food happily and other times they will just refuse single byte or sometimes half of the food is on a bib or tray only, Take it easy.
I would suggest making a routine, fixed place and time helps them to understand the whole process and they can enjoy the food and strict No to screen time while eating. Also this helps to recognize when they are full. Never force feed the baby, let them enjoy food.
Here listed below few things should be avoided for babies – popcorn, nuts, seeds, candy, gum drops, raw fruits and vegetables or anything hard to chew as it can be a choking hazard for babies.
Rest You will need lots of patience and a camera to capture those moments when you feed them solids. but definitely I miss my feeding sessions with my little one!!! Enjoy this process and Happy Parenting !!!