Introducing Solid Foods

After turning six months old, your baby will be ready to try solid foods. Your doctor can help you decide when the time is right. Do not rush this too quickly. Your baby must be able to swallow the foods or he can easily choke. One sign is when your baby is strong enough to sit up comfortably in his high chair. If he cannot, he probably is not ready to add the first solid foods to his diet.

When he is ready, you will want to start slowly. The first solid foods will be partly liquid, such as rice cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. Be patient and allow your baby to become accustomed to different foods. It is best to add one new food at a time. Try the food for two or three days. See if the baby has any problems (rash, vomiting, diarrhea). If all goes well, then you can try the next new food.

Here are some guidelines to what your baby might be eating.

6 to 8 Months:

  • Rice cereal mixed with breast milk or formula.
  • Mashed fruits and vegetables.
  • Start with vegetables. If she gets a taste for sweet fruits, she may not eat her vegetables.

8 Months:

  • Add some “finger foods,” such as small pieces of bread or crackers or cereal. Around this time, your baby will enjoy trying to pick things up and eat them. Never give your baby hard foods such as carrots, nuts, apples, or grapes. This can lead to choking.
  • This also is the time to give your child a training cup with two handles and a snap-on lid. You can put water, juice, breast milk or formula in the cup. Do not give soda, cow’s milk or citrus juices.

7 to 10 months:

  • Mashed meat, chicken and rice.

Can a Baby be Overweight?

Your child’s pediatrician will help you decide if your child is eating too much or not eating enough. Be sure to get your child’s pediatrician’s advice before making any changes in your child’s diet. During these months of rapid growth, your child needs the right balance of fat, carbohydrates and protein.

A better answer might be to change the types and amounts of food you offer your child. Make sure to offer him plenty of fruits and vegetables. Children control their own weight by eating only when they’re hungry. When he loses interest in his food, he is usually full.

When to Give your Baby Cow’s Milk

You should give your child only breast milk or formula until he is one year old. After that you can give whole cow’s milk until he is two. After that, low fat milk is appropriate because he doesn’t need the extra fat for growth. Some parents like to give their child juice, but it isn’t necessary.

—- from First5 Advice for New Parents

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