Starting solids for your baby: A first-time-mom’s guide!
First-time-moms need support in helping their little ones achieve an important milestone of starting solids. Here are effective tips about what foods must be included or excluded and how moms can overcome the hurdles in this process.
Parenting is a wonderful yet difficult journey. Most parents would agree that raising a baby is definitely not a cakewalk and those initial months after childbirth bring along many things ranging from excitement and curiosity to frustration and stress. However, what makes this entire experience worthwhile is watching your little one grow up before your eyes and soon enough, you both reach an important milestone together, that of starting solids.
Starting solids for your baby: A crucial phase for breastfeeding moms
Mom, before reaching this stage, you may have exclusively breastfed your little one and now, you may have mixed feelings as for the first time you introduce your baby to something from outside. It is only natural to feel anxious about this new change. However, it is a necessary step to take for the sake of your own child.
1. How to know if your baby is ready for starting solids?
Mostly, solids can be started when the baby is between 4 and 6 months of age. Watch out for these important signs in your baby to know whether they are ready for starting solids as yet:
- Your little one starts sitting up on his or her own.
- They can hold their head up for a long time.
- He or she shows interest in mealtime, that is, they may try to grab food from your plate.
- Despite nursing or bottle feeding your baby continues to be hungry.
- The tongue-thrust-reflex or automatically pushing food out with their tongue is reduced in your baby.
- Your baby opens his or her mouth upon seeing food.
- He or she starts keeping the tongue low to receive the spoon.
2. Why should you wait for your baby to be ready for their first solids?
It is important to ensure your baby’s readiness before starting solids as it can impact your baby staying at a healthy weight.
3. What should you include in your baby’s diet?
Here’s what you must include in your baby’s diet during the age of 4 to 8 months:
Starting from the age of 6 months offer 1 or 2 tablespoons of single cereals like rice and barley. Between 6 and 8 months, you can offer 3 to 4 tablespoons of iron-rich cereal or hot cereals, dry toast, small pieces of crackers or dry cereals.
Start with 1 to 2 tablespoons of veggies like squash, peas, green beans, broccoli, carrots or spinach. These can be cooked, strained or pureed. You can gradually increase the quantity to 3 to 4 tablespoons.
You can start feeding 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh or cooked banana and applesauce to your baby between the age of 4 and 6 months. After that, till your baby turns 8 months you can increase the quantity to 3 to 4 tablespoons.
You may start with protein rich foods only after the baby turns 6 months old. You can offer them well-cooked, plain, strained or pureed meats or poultry, egg yolk, mashed beans and plain yogurt.
For your 6 month old baby, Cerelac can be the nutritious first solid. Each serving of Cerelac includes BIFIDUS BL Probiotics & DHA, more than 50% of your baby’s iron intake, Omega 3 and other essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. You can choose from the 11 options that has naturally grown ingredients.
4. What drinks can I give my baby?
Mom, you must avoid giving sugary drinks to your baby such as pouched and ready-to-drink juices or sodas. Rely on water in case you want to offer something when feeding them solids. You may give fresh juice in a cup aside from water.
5. How to know if your baby is done eating?
When feeding your baby, know when they are done:
- If your baby moves his or her face away
- If they keep the lips shut
Mom, when your baby shows you that he or she does not want to eat anymore, don’t force-feed. Your baby is learning to eat at this time and also understanding his or her own cues about feeling hungry and full.
6. Is it important to involve family members?
Yes. Apart from you, other caregivers of your little one must be involved in feeding solids to him or her. While you know everything about your baby, it is essential that even others in the family understand the baby’s hunger and fullness cues. This will help them in feeding your baby at the right time as well as avoid overfeeding in your absence.
7. How you can avoid picky-eating?
Offer a variety of foods to your little one and let them taste one food at least 7 times until they develop a liking for it. Make sure you include different colours, textures and flavors. As much as possible keep the diet varied as it can help avoid picky-eating later on.
8. How to feed the baby?
Firstly, keep in mind that you will require a lot of patience here. Your baby may take around 10 to 15 times of feeding over several months to get used to a new flavor. Offer only a spoonful to begin with. Don’t start with a bowl-full quantity. It may be too much for the baby.
9. When to introduce a new solid food and finger foods?
Follow these simple tips:
- Offer one new food at a time.
- Hold on for at least seven days before offering a new food.
- Give your baby some time to adjust.
- Keep a check for any allergies related to the new food that you have offered.
Continue to offer the foods that your baby has previously rejected. It takes your little one a while before they can get used to a new flavor.
10. What changes should you watch out for after starting solids?
Watch out for these important changes after you start feeding solids to your baby:
- Your baby’s poop becomes more solid
- It can have varied colors based on what food they have been eating. For example, green vegetables may turn it to a deep-green while beetroots can make it red. Beetroots can also make the urine red at times.
- The poop can also have a strong odor.
- It may also have undigested food pieces like hulls of peas and corn, tomato skins and so on. This is quite normal as your little one’s digestive system is not yet fully developed. It will take time to completely process new foods.
- In case of poop being loose, watery or full of mucus, slow down the process of feeding solids. This is an indication that your little one’s digestive tract is irritated. See a doctor if there is no improvement in this.
Parents also need to keep in mind that babies can have intolerance for certain foods and food allergies like nuts. These foods must be avoided.
Mom, with these easy and effective tips, starting solids for your little one won’t be as difficult as you imagined or feared.
You can know more about Cerelac here.
Note: This product is not suitable as a breastmilk substitute. Infants 6 months onwards should be given fresh and indigenous foods in combination with continuous breastfeeding.