Introducing Solid Foods

Introducing Solid Food

Most physicians recommend introducing solid foods at about four to six months after birth.

“Infants are geared to suck and swallow. At about 6 months of age, the configuration of the face evolves to allow efficient eating and chewing. There is no nutritional advantage to giving solids early. Breast milk provides 100% of the essential nutrients a baby needs, including iron in a particularly digestible form. The same can be said for fortified formulas,” explains Steven J. Sainsbury, M.D.

In addition, certain skills are essential for eating solids: Your babies must sit well when supported, have good head control and be able to take food into the backs of their mouths and swallow.

Rice cereal is a good first solid. After you give the regular feeding of breast milk or formula, place your babies in a sitting position and offer them the cereal with a spoon. The texture will seem strange to them at first. After they master a few tablespoons once a day, add a second cereal feeding. When you are feeding about a half cup of cereal daily, you can begin to add other solid foods.

Strained solid foods should be introduced one at a time. This will allow you to judge any reactions to a specific food. Fruits and vegetables are easiest to digest. When your babies become more proficient at chewing, add foods with more texture.

To encourage good eating habits, offer a variety of foods. If you get a less than enthusiastic reaction to a particular food, try offering it again at a later time. Use glass dishes when you heat foods, so chemicals can’t leech from plastic into food.

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