Your baby’s nutritional requirements fluctuate as they become older. Infants only require breastfeeding or formula feeding when they are newborns in order to grow and thrive. But the time will come when your child is prepared to adopt “big kid” eating patterns and begin consuming solid foods. If this is your first child, you probably don’t know anything about it. How then do you determine when your child is prepared? Knowing whether your infant is ready for cereal and other solid foods can be challenging. When exactly to introduce solids to your infant and which foods to steer clear of were questions we asked a doctor. Many parents’ urgent queries were addressed by Henry Bernstein, MD, the Children’s Hospital of Boston’s director of primary care.
Question: When would you suggest introducing cereal to a newborn?
Answer: There are several reasons you might be tempted to introduce meals to newborns before they are ready. You might be concerned that formula or breast milk aren’t giving your infant enough nutrition. You may have heard that it promotes better sleep for infants.
However, it can be preferable to delay solids.
The American Academy of Pediatrics does not advise introducing cereal and other solid foods until a baby is four to six months old, despite the claims of many grandparents and neighbors that adding a little cereal to their newborn’s bottle made him sleep better. Young infants only require breast milk or formula before that age.
A newborn typically eats every two hours during the first few months of life. If you’re nursing, give each breast up to 10-15 minutes of attention; if you’re taking formula, give each feeding roughly 2-3 ounces.
She’ll probably consume more at each feeding as your baby gets older. Your baby is getting enough food calories if she has six wet diapers a day and is regularly gaining weight. Every time your baby has a checkup, talk to the pediatrician about her nutrition and development.
How and When to Begin Solid Foods
Your baby may begin displaying symptoms of preparedness for solid foods once she is between the ages of four and six months. The ability to support her head, a strong tongue thrust (able to push food out of her mouth), and an interest in the foods you’re eating are some of these signals.
You can start giving your infant single-grain cereals like rice cereal when you believe they are ready and your pediatrician provides the all-clear by combining the cereal flakes with his breast milk or formula. Rice cereal is typically less likely to cause allergies than other foods, and the comforting flavor will help him accept the new diet.
If she initially rejects your efforts, don’t be startled because babies are merely learning new tastes and textures. Try once more in a short while. Increase the amount gradually once she becomes accustomed to the rice cereal.
What Foods Should You Give Your Baby First?
You can introduce oat or barley cereal after she gets used to rice cereal, then add veggies, fruit, and meat after that. Introduce new foods in succession, one at a time. Always give your child a few days to adjust to a new cuisine. By doing this, you can keep an eye out for any symptoms of a food allergy, such as diarrhea, bloating, rashes, or other skin issues.
You’ll soon be sweeping up pureed carrots, peas, and other sorts of baby food from the kitchen floor. Until he’s ready for solid foods, you can enjoy breastfeeding or formula from a bottle.
Best First Foods
- by 4–6 Months of Age: This is the best age range to start your child on finger meals or purees, depending on your baby’s readiness. One of the finest options for introducing solid foods to babies is infant cereal. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes or peas can also be given as purees, but start with only one component. Offer one new dish every several days at first and go gradual.
- 6 to 8 months To test for food allergies, many pediatricians advise introducing specific foods like peanut butter or eggs. To begin, serve little nibbles or chunks. Because it will give your infant the nutrients they require, breastmilk or formula should still make up the majority of your baby’s diet.
- The ideal time to introduce your infant to foods like yogurt and meat is between 8 and 10 months old. Both minced or little bits of meat work well. If you are attempting baby-led weaning, giving your infant raw vegetables is also completely safe.
- 10–12 months: During his first year, your baby will experiment with a variety of new foods. He should be allowed to try spoon-feeding himself at this age. Maintain your current selection of fresh fruits, veggies, and meats.
Foods to Avoid Giving an Infant
- Honey is one of the foods that should never be given to a baby under 1 years old since it can result in newborn botulism. The natural germs in honey are too strong for her digestive system to handle. For older infants who are older than one year old, it is better.
- Hotdogs: Hotdogs are choking dangers, even when chopped into little pieces. It’s advised to avoid feeding these to infants during meals.
- Juice from fruit Juices and other sweet meals and beverages are bad for your infant. When added to a baby’s bottle, it especially can lead to tooth decay. Stick to breastmilk, infant formula, or water in a sippy cup instead.
- Avoid giving your infant cow’s milk throughout the first year of life. It would be best for her at this age to continue using breastmilk or formula.