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It must feel like yesterday that you were holding your little baby in your arms and were worried about feeding them breast milk. Time flew and now you are worried about how to introduce solid foods to them.
Here is a guide for you to introduce solid foods to your child. You can know when, what and how to introduce solid foods to your child. Trust me that this too is an art. Your child’s future health, current behaviors, and past preferences all are strongly associated with the smart introduction of solid foods.
Weaning is the process of gradually introducing an adult diet to an infant. This may or may not be accompanied by the withdrawal of breast milk. In humans, it is important to breastfeed a child for at least a year. You should breastfeed your child exclusively for the first six months and then start introducing solid foods along with breast milk for the next 6 months.
When To Introduce Solid Foods?
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, a child should be introduced to solid foods by the age of 6 months. Before this, they should be exclusively breastfed. Keep in mind that every child is different, some children may have delayed development, so it is important to assess a child before you introduce solid foods to them.
Following are the signs that may suggest that your child is now ready for solid foods.
- Your child can sit with little or no back support
- Your child can support and control his own head
- They tend to open their mouth when something to eat is offered. They usually lean forward and open their mouth when you offer something to eat.
How To Introduce Solid Foods?
Introducing solid foods to your child is an art in itself. This apparently simple practice will affect their health and eating behaviors for life. So it is important to consider a few factors and follow a few tips.
Introduce one food at a time. This will help you in identifying any allergic reactions. If you introduce a number of foods together you will never know which food is causing a reaction. So it is best to introduce one food at a time and stick to it for 3-5 days. Once you are sure that your child is not reacting to it in a bad way you can introduce another food.
Avoid any foods that are known to be allergenic in your family. The common allergenic foods are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. The only way to test for an allergy or reaction against these foods is to introduce them in a controlled situation.
What Food To Start With?
You can start with any food with a few factors in mind. The food must be soft, as your baby has almost no teeth. The food should not be seasoned strongly as your baby can not bear much spice in their mouth and stomachs. You can start with soft fruits, blanched or pureed vegetables, grains, legumes, yogurt, rice, cereals, or packaged foods.
If you go for packaged or ready-made infants’ solid foods, it is better to go for fortified foods. While buying such foods it is important to dive into the labels. You can always consult a nutritionist to help you in this regard.
Beware of the known harmful compounds like arsenic, mercury, and BPA.
It is important to know a few things like serving a lot of sweet fruits can develop a sweet tooth in your child, and serving too many legumes can cause diarrhea.
How To Prepare The Solid Food?
A child is more likely to accept smooth and soft textures as opposed to rough, grainy, and hard textures. Your child will take time adjusting to new textures. If an unwanted texture is introduced your child might choke, through up, and cough out the food. So it is very important to focus on the preparation of food.
Here are a few tips and guidelines to prepare solid food for your child
- Cook food enough to make it soft and mashable.
- Start with mashed and pureed foods.
- remove all the skin from fruits and vegetables.
- Remove all fat, skin, and bones from meat.
- Remove the cream and fat from the milk.
- Mash and puree foods in breast milk. This way you can feed them both the things.
- Try making a blended mixture of the commonly eaten foods. So the baby may develop the taste of what they will more often eat.
- All hard fruits like apples and carrots should be cooked, until soft.
- Cook well and grind or chop the cereal grains. It is better to cook them in milk.
- Cut the small foods like grapes and cherries into even smaller pieces, as these can be a choking hazard.
How To Serve The Solid Food?
When you are in the introduction to solid food phase, presentation matters a lot. Your child will not eat the newly served food in a plain white bowl. You will have to come up with tricks that will make them try and enjoy the food.
Following are some simple tricks that will help your child accept the introduction of solid foods.
- Serve the food in colorful platters.
- Let them make a mess. The priority is to make them eat the food not to keep the place clean.
- Eat what you want them to eat. They will naturally try and eat what you are eating.
- Do not force food into their mouth. Let them take their time and enjoy the food.
- Be patient.
Above all, consult the best nutritionist in Lahore or the pediatrician in Pakistan. These experts will help you in assessing your child’s current health and determine their future health. Moreover, not every child can be raised according to a rule of thumb. Every child is different and may need special attention and special foods to support their growth.
Book an appointment now, to answer all your queries. You can book an appointment with top pediatricians in Pakistan through Marham by calling at Marham helpline: 0311-1222398 or by online appointment booking facility through the website or Marham mobile app.
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