At 6 months, your baby can slowly transition from just drinking milk to eating solid food. But what types of food are best for your baby?
At 6 months, breast milk or formula milk won't really be enough for your child's daily nutritional needs. Which is why at this crucial stage, you have to know how to slowly introduce them to solid food, and what types of solid food are best given to 6-month-old babies!
Know first if they're really ready for solid food
Solid food at 6 months is mainly a guideline, and not a hard and fast rule as to when your child can start eating solid food. More important are knowing the signs that your baby is indeed ready for solid food. Here are the signs that you should look out for:
- They should be able to hold their head up. Your child should be in a sitting position when feeding them solid food, so it's important that they're able to hold their head up so that they won't choke on solid food.
- Opens their mouth when food is given. Of course, your child should be interested in eating solid food. An easy to tell sign is if they start opening their mouth when food approaches them.
- They should be able to swallow. When giving solid food for the first time, your child might not always swallow it right away. If this happens, try adding a bit of water or milk to their food to make it easier to swallow.
- They should be big enough to eat solid food. Once your baby weighs about 13 pounds or more, you can already start trying to feed them solid food. In some cases, babies can even start as early as 4 months.
How much food should I give them?
Start off by giving them just a couple of tablespoons of pureed fruits or veggies. As your child gets used to eating solid food, you can then gradually increase your feedings. It's important to know when your child is full, or if they're still hungry since children's appetites really do vary. It's a good way to finish off a feeding by giving them breastmilk or formula milk.
At this age, babies usually need about 200 calories daily. For comparison, one cup of white rice has about 200 calories so you can use that to gauge how much solid food and milk you will need to provide your baby.
What types of food are best for my baby?
Generally speaking, pureed fruits and veggies are the way to go when it comes to your baby's first solid food. While the stuff you buy in the supermarket might be more convenient, it's always better if you can make your own, since you know exactly what goes into the food you're giving your child, and you can be sure that it's safe and free from preservatives that might harm your baby.
For veggies, pureed carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and broccoli are good and healthy. Your child would especially like carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes since they taste sweet, so it might be a good idea to start with those first so that your child can get used to solid food. Eventually, you can move on with pureed leafy green vegetables like kale, or cabbage.
You can also give them pureed fruits like bananas, mangoes, pears, apples, and peaches. These fruits are high in vitamin C, and not too sour so they won't upset your kid's tummy.
Pureed rice is also good to add to their food to make it more substantial, and later on you can add tiny bits of meat like beef, pork, or fish so that they can get some protein in their bodies.
The important things to remember would be to not add any extra salt, sugar, or any seasoning since your child won't really benefit from the taste. It's also good to not let them get used to eating salty or sweet food since if they get used to it at an early age, they might get addicted to eating those types of food, and it might affect their eating habits later on in life.
You also need to make sure to introduce different types of food gradually. Don't give them a different meal each time, especially if you're just starting to eat solid food. That way they can gradually get used to the food, and it's also a good way to check for allergies that they might have.
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