First thing to feed baby
Feeding Your 4- to 7-Month-Old (for Parents)
Most babies this age are ready to try solid foods. Experts recommend starting solid foods when a baby is about 6 months old, depending on the baby's readiness and nutritional needs.
Be sure to check with your doctor before giving any solid foods.
Is My Baby Ready to Eat Solid Foods?
How can you tell if your baby is ready for solids? Here are a few hints:
- Does your baby swallow food or push it out of their mouth? Babies have a natural tongue-thrust reflex that pushes food back out. Wait until this reflex disappears (typically when babies are 4–6 months old).
- Can your baby support their own head? To eat solid food, an infant needs good head and neck control and should be able to sit up.
- Is your baby interested in food? Babies who stare, reach and grab, and open their mouths for food are ready to try solid foods.
If your doctor gives the go-ahead but your baby seems frustrated or uninterested in solid foods, try waiting a few days before trying again. Breast milk and formula will still meet nutritional needs as your baby learns to eat solid foods. But after 6 months, babies need the added nutrition — like iron and zinc — that solid foods provide.
Do not add cereal or other food to your baby's bottle because it can lead to too much weight gain.
Watch for signs that your child is hungry or full. Respond to these cues and let your child stop when full. A child who is full may suck with less enthusiasm, stop, or turn away from the breast or the bottle. With solid foods, they may turn away, refuse to open their mouth, or spit the food out.
How Should I Start Feeding My Baby Solid Foods?
When your baby is ready and the doctor says it’s OK to try solid foods, pick a time of day when your baby is not tired or cranky. You want your baby to be a little hungry, but not so hungry that they’re upset. So you might want to give your baby a little breast milk or formula first.
Have your baby sit supported in your lap or in a high chair with a safety strap.
Most babies' first food is iron-fortified infant single-grain cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. Place the spoon near your baby's lips, and let the baby smell and taste it. Don't be surprised if this first spoonful is rejected. Wait a minute and try again. Most food offered to your baby at this age will end up on the baby's chin, bib, or high-chair tray. Again, this is just an introduction.
When your little one gets the hang of eating cereal off a spoon, it may be time to try single-ingredient puréed meat, vegetables, or fruit. The order in which you give them doesn't matter, but go slow. Offer foods that are high in iron and zinc — such as meat, poultry, eggs, and beans — especially if your baby is breastfeeding. Try one food at a time and wait several days before trying something else new. This will let you identify any foods that your baby may be allergic to.
Which Foods Should I Avoid?
Foods that are more likely to cause allergies can be among the foods you introduce to your baby. These include peanuts, eggs, cow’s milk, seafood, nuts, wheat, and soy. Waiting to start these foods does not prevent food allergies. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about food allergies, especially if any close family members have allergies, food allergies, or allergy-related conditions, like eczema or asthma.
Infants with severe eczema or egg allergies are more likely to have allergies to peanuts. Talk to your doctor about how and when to introduce these foods to your child.
Possible signs of food allergy or allergic reactions include:
- bloating or an increase in gassiness
Get medical care right away if your baby has a more severe allergic reaction, like hives, drooling, wheezing, or trouble breathing.
If your child has any type of reaction to a food, don't offer that food again until you talk with your doctor.
Babies shouldn't have:
- foods with added sugars and no-calorie sweeteners
- high-sodium foods
- honey, until after the first birthday. It can cause botulism in babies.
- unpasteurized juice, milk, yogurt, or cheese
- regular cow's milk or soy beverages before 12 months instead of breast milk or formula. It’s OK to offer pasteurized yogurt and cheese.
- foods that may cause choking, such as hot dogs, raw carrots, grapes, popcorn, and nuts
Tips for Feeding Your Baby Solid Foods
With the hectic pace of family life, most parents try commercially prepared baby foods at first. They come in small, convenient containers, and manufacturers must meet strict safety and nutrition guidelines.
If you prepare your own baby foods at home, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Follow the rules for food safety, including washing your hands well and often.
- To preserve the nutrients in your baby's food, cook it in ways that keep the most vitamins and minerals. Try steaming or baking fruits and vegetables instead of boiling, which washes away the nutrients.
- Freeze portions that you aren't going to use right away.
- Whether you buy the baby food or make it yourself, texture and consistency are important. At first, babies should have finely puréed single-ingredient foods. (Just applesauce, for example, not apples and pears mixed together.)
- After your baby is eating individual foods, it's OK to offer a puréed mix of two foods. As babies get older, they will learn to eat a greater variety of tastes and textures.
- If you use prepared baby food in jars, spoon some of the food into a bowl to feed your baby. Do not feed your baby right from the jar — bacteria from the baby's mouth can contaminate the remaining food. If you refrigerate opened jars of baby food, it's best to throw away anything not eaten within a day or two.
- Around 6 months of age is a good time for your baby to try a cup. You might need to try a few cups to find one that works for your child. Use water at first to avoid messy clean-ups. Do not give juice to infants younger than 12 months.
Over the next few months, introduce a variety of foods from all the food groups. If your baby doesn't seem to like something, don’t give up. It can take 8 to 10 tries or more before babies learn to like new foods.
When to Start Baby Food
Starting solids is an exciting and important milestone in baby’s development—one that not only opens them up to a brand-new world of flavors and textures, but also puts them on the right path to growing healthy and strong. Here’s what you need to know about how and when to start baby food for a smooth transition.
In this article:
When to start baby food
How to start baby on solids
Best first foods for baby
Introducing allergenic foods
When to Start Baby Food
Knowing when to start baby food is both crucial and tricky. Starting baby on solids too early means you might increase the risk of choking, obesity and bellyaches, but introducing solids too late means you might slow baby’s growth and encourage an aversion to solid foods, among other conditions. Fortunately, doctors have zeroed in on a sweet spot for starting baby food, which is sometime between 4 and 6 months of age—though, ideally, baby should be receiving their nutrition exclusively from breast milk until the six-month mark, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). How to tell if it’s time for starting solids for your little one? Baby will give you clues, including:
• Baby can sit in a high chair comfortably on their own. This is a major sign in terms of when to start baby food, says Lauren Kupersmith, MD, a pediatrician at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone in New York City. It means baby can hold their head up and doesn’t need to be propped up to stay in the upright position, which is important to avoid choking.
• Baby looks interested at mealtime. Babies likes to mimic what we do, so if your child likes to sit up like a big kid and watch you eat, then by all means let them try eating too.
• Baby can move food to the back of their throat to swallow. But if baby tends to push the food out of their mouth—not because they don’t like it, but because they can’t seem to get the food to where it needs to go—hold off on starting solids.
How to Start Baby on Solids
At 4 to 6 months, most of baby’s nutrition will still come from breast milk or formula, so don’t worry if baby doesn’t like eating food right away. Introducing solids is a gradual process, and every baby learns in their own time. Here are some general guidelines for how to start baby on solids:
• Feed baby with a spoon. Letting your child go at it with their hands may seem tempting (and super-cute), but it’s best that they learn the right way from the get-go. (And even then, be prepared to clean up more than a few messes!) Also, never put cereal (or any other food) in baby’s bottle—it’s a choking hazard.
• Start slowly. When introducing solids, a half spoonful will do at first—you may even want to talk baby through it (“Yummy!”). To make it easier for baby to get accustomed to the idea of swallowing solids, start mealtime with a little breast milk or formula, then offer some food (again, no more than a half teaspoon at a time) and finish off with more breast milk or formula. If baby cries or turns away when you present the spoon, try again some other time. Start off with introducing solids at one meal a day, then slowly work your way up. The morning is a good place to start, since baby is often hungriest at that time. When starting solids, baby typically won’t eat more than an ounce or two in one sitting.
• Try new foods more than once. Since babies’ tastes will evolve, you may need to try a food 20 times before a baby actually likes it, says Kupersmith.
• Stick with the same food for three days before trying another one. This makes it easy to track whether baby is allergic to a particular food.
• Try foods in different forms. If baby doesn’t like pureed food, try it mashed. After all, baby is learning about new textures as well as new tastes. It may be a case of trial and error until you find a winner.
Best First Foods for Baby
Got baby safely strapped into the high chair and bib? You’re ready to finally start feeding baby solids! There aren’t any official food rules for babies starting solids, and there’s no scientific evidence suggesting you should introduce one type of food before another, assuming the foods aren’t choking hazards. Nevertheless, baby cereal (such as oatmeal, rice and barley) is an “easy training food,” says Kupersmith, which is why it’s often recommended as baby’s first food; you can always mix it with more milk to build up to a thicker consistency. Many doctors also recommend starting vegetables before fruits, but there’s no evidence that this would make babies like vegetables more when they grow up—babies innately love sweets, and the order of introducing solids to baby doesn’t change that.
So why not simply start introducing solids with something you think baby will like? Here are a few common first foods for baby that are healthy and easy to eat (and, in the case sweet potato and banana, also easy to digest). Whatever you decide to feed baby, mash it with a fork or puree before serving whenever introducing solids.
- Baby cereal, such as oatmeal, rice, barley
- Sweet potato
- Green beans
- Butternut squash
If your child has been breastfeeding, check with your pediatrician about getting a jump on pureed chicken or beef when you’re starting solids. These foods contain easily absorbable forms of iron and zinc, which baby needs by 4 to 6 months, according to the AAP.
At around 9 months, baby should have already worked their way up to a variety of foods, including cereal, vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs and fish (see below regarding the last two). (Keep in mind, though, that baby will still get the majority of their nutrients from breast milk or formula until age one.) By now, baby will probably settle on three meals a day along with two snacks. Let them consume about 4 ounces of solids at each meal (equivalent to a small jar of strained baby food) and about half that amount for each snack.
Save honey and cow’s milk for after baby’s first birthday—there’s a risk for infant botulism with honey (a type of bacterial poisoning), and baby’s tummy isn’t prepared to digest large amounts of cow’s milk until they’re about one year old. Avoid adult processed foods and foods that are choking hazards (such as sticky foods, like large gobs of peanut butter; hard foods that are difficult to gum, like raw vegetables, nuts, seeds and popcorn; and round, slippery foods that haven’t been cut up, like grapes and cherry tomatoes). Instead, the first foods for baby, and those in the months that follow, should be soft and served mashed, pureed or (once baby seems ready to move up from the really mushy stuff) cut up into really little bits. “There’s pretty much free reign at that point,” Kupersmith says.
Introducing Solids Chart
Hesitant about improvising your first foods for baby? That’s okay too. If you prefer an “introducing solids chart” to help you plan out baby’s path, the guide below can come in handy.
Image: The Bump
Introducing Allergenic Foods
Much of the confusion around when to start baby food stems from questions concerning allergenic foods. These are foods that babies are most often allergic to. The major culprits include dairy, eggs, fish, peanuts and tree nuts. In the past, parents were advised to hold off on exposing baby to these foods, but now doctors recommend introducing them early, often and in age-appropriate format, which means starting off with purees and soft textures.
“Dairy is an easy starting point, given options such as yogurt and cheese,” says David Stukus, MD, director of the Food Allergy Treatment Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and a spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. You can also try scrambled eggs in small amounts, although baby may not be too pleased with the texture at first.
As far as peanut products go, the National Institutes of Health issued new guidelines in 2017 that encourage parents of children at high risk for peanut allergies to incorporate them into baby’s diet at 4 to 6 months of age. Giving these babies peanut products before the age of one actually decreases their risk of developing a peanut allergy before age 5 by 81 percent, compared to kids who are introduced to peanuts later in life. Parents of kids without the food allergy risk can start peanut products whenever they’d like, as long as the nuts are in an age-appropriate form: Peanut butter can be thinned out with water or mixed into a fruit or vegetable puree, and peanut powder can also be mixed into cereal and fruits. Don’t give whole peanuts or pieces of peanuts, since they’re a choking risk.
Allergic reactions to food are never just a fluke; they will happen with every exposure. Symptoms can range from mild (such as a rash or vomiting) to severe (such as trouble breathing). If baby has a food allergy, you’ll notice a reaction within minutes or up to two hours after eating the problematic food, Stukus says. If the symptoms are severe, call 911 right away. Otherwise, talk to your pediatrician; she can help confirm whether it’s an allergy or some other type of condition (such as a viral illness).
Lauren Kupersmith, MD, IBCLC, is a pediatrician and clinical instructor at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone in New York City, as well as a certified lactation consultant. She earned her medical degree from New York Medical College in 2005.
David Stukus, MD, is the director of the Food Allergy Treatment Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, an associate professor of pediatrics in the division of allergy and immunology and a spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. He earned his medical degree from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2002.
Updated January 2020
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
Breastfeeding your baby with special needs
If your baby has special needs and has difficulty latch-on, there are many other ways to breastfeed
Share this information
Breastfeeding is a serious stress for a baby. This process involves 40 muscles in the lips, tongue, jaw and cheeks, as well as six cranial nerves 1 for coordinating sucking, swallowing and breathing.
If a baby has a congenital disorder or disease that affects these muscles or nerves, the baby may not be physically fit to breastfeed or may not be able to get enough milk while nursing. But this does not mean that your baby should be deprived of extremely healthy breast milk. Moreover, the protective properties of milk and useful substances in its composition are even more necessary for children with special needs.
“Breast milk contains many living cells and growth factors that help boost immunity and prevent inflammation,” explains Dr. Katsumi Mitsuno, Professor of Internal Medicine in Pediatrics, Koto Toyosu Hospital at Showa University, “It is important for infants with special needs to give breast milk to prevent infectious diseases and ensure optimal nutrition.”
“Children with congenital and neurological pathologies are more susceptible to respiratory 2.3 and ear 4 infections and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract 5 , and are also more likely to require surgical intervention. Breast milk helps to protect the baby's body from infections and promotes recovery 6 ,” adds Dr. Mitsuno.
Reasons your baby may have difficulty breastfeeding
Cleft lip and/or palate
breastfeeding or supervising physician can show several helpful tricks. Newborns with cleft palate are often unable to breastfeed with sufficient force. 7
If the baby was born prematurely, he may be too weak and not have enough coordination to suckle effectively. Read more about this in the article on breastfeeding premature babies.
Down's syndrome and other chromosomal disorders
Babies with Down's syndrome typically have problems with muscle tone and mouth-tongue coordination that prevents effective breastfeeding. 8 Other chromosomal disorders, such as Edwards syndrome or Patau syndrome, also make breastfeeding difficult.
Neurological disorders (disorders of the brain, spine or nerves) often cause hypotonia, the medical term for low muscle tone. Cerebral palsy, 9 hydrocephalus, birth asphyxia, spina bifida, cerebral hemorrhage during childbirth, cerebral malformations and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy can cause difficulties in breastfeeding.
Pierre Robin's syndrome
With Pierre Robin's syndrome, the baby's lower jaw is much smaller than normal. Often this is combined with a cleft palate and tongue retraction, making breastfeeding almost impossible. 10
If your baby has had oral, tongue or jaw surgery, it may be painful or uncomfortable to suckle for a while.
Expressing milk for children with special needs
Regardless of whether the baby can breastfeed, the first step is to start milk production in order to get enough milk. If the baby is unable to feed directly from the breast, it is important to ensure frequent pumping to collect as much milk as possible. It is necessary to start and stimulate the production of milk as early as possible so that the baby has enough of it now and in the future.
Double pumping is recommended about eight times a day as this is the best way to stimulate a steady supply of milk. 11 Ask your healthcare provider or lactation consultant for help.
“For the first few months my life revolved around pumping. I set an alarm and woke up every three hours at night to express milk,” recalls Katherine, a mother of two from New Zealand, “Michael had a cleft palate, so he couldn’t suckle, and we had to use a special squeeze bottle. When he ate, I did not take my eyes off him - as soon as I turned away, he could choke, or I did not notice how milk began to flow from his nose, which he did not like very much.
Participating in online support groups for mothers who only feed their babies with expressed milk has helped me a lot. I was able to express milk for my son for seven whole months - it was a real work in the name of love!”
Ways to breastfeed your baby
In some cases, your baby needs to be fed in a special way before he can breastfeed or bottle feed. For example, a feeding tube can be used to deliver milk directly into the baby's stomach. The tube is inserted by the attending physician, usually through the nose or mouth. As soon as the baby can eat in the usual way, the tube will be removed.
If the baby can swallow but is unable to breastfeed, alternative ways of feeding may be recommended. “For infants suffering from neurological disorders, you can use a drinking tube with a feeding tube or a special silicone nozzle on the finger, which an adult presses a finger against the palate. Some babies find it more convenient to eat with a special cup*, says Dr. Mitsuno. It all depends on the characteristics of the baby. Some people prefer drinking cups.”
“Cup cup feeding* is one of the most popular and safest ways to feed a baby who cannot breastfeed,” Dr. Mitsuno continues. you will be able to breastfeed your baby longer. Cup feeding usually spills quite a lot of milk, 12 and the amount spilled must be measured and accounted for if a specific amount of milk is recommended for an infant.”
Sarah, a UK mother of three, recalls: “Our eldest daughter is a child with special needs. In particular, she has cerebral palsy. At first she suckled well at the breast, but on the third day her condition worsened, and until the age of two months she was fed expressed breast milk through a nasogastric tube. While she was in the hospital, I pumped milk every three hours.”
Sarah's story ended well: “At about eight weeks, my daughter's condition stabilized, and with the help of a specialist, we resumed breastfeeding. She switched to breastfeeding very easily. By the time she was 12 weeks old and we took her home, she was exclusively breastfed.
Although many people cared for our baby, pumping made me feel important, my special role. It helped me get through that incredibly difficult period.”
If your baby can latch on
If your baby has special needs but is physiologically able to latch on, offer the breast regularly along with other feeding methods. Even if he can't suckle milk from his breast, this "soothing" suckling will help him feel safe, warm, and cared for. It will also help your baby practice suckling skills, making it easier for him to transition to breastfeeding later on.
If your baby can breastfeed but is not getting enough milk, talk to your doctor about how much pumped milk you need to supplement and how best to give it. You can give your baby expressed milk while breastfeeding with a supplemental feeding system* or use one of the devices mentioned above.
If your baby is recovering from maxillofacial surgery (eg for a cleft lip or palate), breastfeeding may be uncomfortable. However, offer your baby the breast along with other ways of feeding, according to some studies, sedative sucking can relieve pain. 13
“Everyone told me that because of the cleft lip, my son would not be able to breastfeed. But in fact, he was good at it, even though he injured my nipples while doing it,” recalls Nicola, a mother of three children from the UK, “After the operation, he was in pain at first, but soon everything returned to normal. He began to latch on very differently so it took us both some time to adjust, but pretty soon he was able to breastfeed normally and I breastfed him for up to a year.”
1 Walker M. Breastfeeding management for the clinician. 4th edition. Burlington, MA, USA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers; 2016. 738 p. — Walker, M., Breastfeeding Considerations for Practitioners, 4th edition. Burlington, Massachusetts, USA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers; 2016. Pp. 738.
2 Seddon PC, Khan Y. Respiratory problems in children with neurological impairment. Arch DisChild. 2003;88(1):75-78. - Seddon PS, Khan Y, "Respiratory problems in children with neurological deficits." Arch Dis Child. 2003;88(1):75-78.
3 Proesmans M. Respiratory illness in children with disability: a serious problem?. Breathe. 2016;12(4): e 97. - Proesmans M., "Respiratory diseases in children with disabilities: a serious problem?" Breeze (Breath). 2016;12(4):e97.
4 Zeisel SA, Roberts JE. Otitis media in young children with disabilities. Infants Young Child. 2003;16(2):106-119. - Zeisel SA, Roberts JI, "Otitis media in young disabled children". Infants Young Children. 2003;16(2):106-119.
5 González DJ et al. Gastrointestinal disorders in children with cerebral palsy and neurodevelopmental disabilities. An Pediatr (Barc). 2010;73(6):361. - Gonzalez D.J. et al., Gastrointestinal Disorders in Children with Cerebral Palsy and Neurological Diseases. An Pediatrician (Bark). 2010;73(6):361.
6 Salvatori G et al. Human milk and breastfeeding in surgical infants. Breastfeed Med . 2014;9(10):491-493. - Salvatori J. et al., Breast milk and breastfeeding in children undergoing surgery. Brestfeed Med (Breastfeeding Medicine). 2014;9(10):491-493.
7 Reilly S et al. ABM Clinical Protocol# 17: Guidelines for breastfeeding infants with cleft lip, cleft palate, or cleft lip and palate, Revised 2013. Breastfeed Med . 2013;8(4):349-353. - Reilly S. et al., AVM Clinical Protocol #17: Guidelines for breastfeeding children with cleft lip, cleft palate, or cleft lip and palate, 2013 edition. Brestfeed Med (Breastfeeding Medicine). 2013;8(4):349-353. Thomas J et al . ABM Clinical Protocol #16: Breastfeeding the Hypotonic Infant, Revision 2016. Breastfeed Med 2016;11(6). - Thomas J. et al., "AVM Clinical Protocol #16: Breastfeeding a Baby with Reduced Muscle Tone, Revision 2016. " Brestfeed Med (Breastfeeding Medicine). 2016;11(6).
9 Wilson EM, Hustad KC. Early feeding abilities in children with cerebral palsy: a parental report study. J Med Speech Lang Pathol. 2009: nihpa 57357. - Wilson I.M., Khustad K.S., "Early independent feeding ability in children with cerebral palsy: a study of parent reports". J Med Speech Lang Patol. 2009: nihpa 9 E et a. Feeding-facilitating techniques for the nursing infant with Robin sequence. Cleft Palate Craniofac 2006;43(1):55-60. — Nassar, I. et al., Feeding Ease Techniques for Babies with Robin Syndrome. Kleft Palet Kraniofak J. 2006;43(1):55-60.
11 Kent JC Principles for maintaining or increasing breast milk production. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal 2012;41(1):114-121. - Kent J.S. et al., "Principles for Maintaining and Increasing Milk Production". F Obstet Ginecol Neoneutal Nurs. 2012;41(1):114-121.
12 Dowling DA et al. Cup-feeding for preterm infants: mechanics and safety. J Hum Lact 2002;18(1):13-20. - Dowling D.A. et al., "Cup feeding preterm infants: technique and safety issues". F Hum Lakt. 2002;18(1):13-20.
13 Harrison D et al. Breastfeeding for procedural pain in infants beyond the neonatal period. Cochrane Database of 2014;10: CD 11248 - Harrison D. et al., "Breastfeeding for Pain Relief from Medical Intervention in the Neonatal Period." Cochrane Database of System Rev. 2014;10: CD 11248
Read instructions before use. Consult a specialist about possible contraindications.
* RU No. ФСЗ 2010/07353 dated 07/19/2010
What is complementary foods and how to start itsearch support icon
Home ›› What is pedagogical complementary foods and when can I start it?
Home ›› What is pedagogical complementary foods and when can I start it?
What is educational complementary foods and when can I start it?
One of the important and even a little fun things that your baby has to overcome in the first year of life is learning to chew solid food like adults. If this is your first child, you may be wondering where to start. There are many different approaches, and you may have heard of such a method as pedagogical Complementary foods (pedal foods). But, first, let's figure out what types of complementary foods exist.
Types of complementary foods
There are 2 types of complementary foods: energy and pedagogical.
- Energy food is the most popular type of food, it is even called classic. Its main goal is to provide the child with an additional source of energy in the form of new products. With this type of complementary foods, the baby is first introduced to pureed foods or cereals, which gradually replace breastfeeding for the baby. The main feature of this type of complementary foods is that the baby does not develop chewing skills for a long time due to the homogenization of complementary foods.
- Pedagogical complementary food is a type of complementary food that introduces the child to "adult" food, develops his/her interest in food and teaches him to eat independently. The main purpose of this complementary food is pedagogical, that is, to teach the baby to eat like adults and to show interest in the food of their parents. With this type of food, chewing skills develop much faster, as the stage of pureed food and spoon feeding is completely skipped, and your child begins to eat solid foods right from the table.
Feeding food has many benefits, so we will tell you how to start it and give some practical tips to make it enjoyable for both you and your baby. As always, if you have any questions, be sure to check with your child's healthcare provider.
Learn more about PE
Unlike energy supplements, PE does not have a strict plan for the types and quantities of products. One of the main differences is that nothing is specially prepared for the child. He is offered microdoses of adult food (the size of a rice) to prevent them from getting stuck in his throat (for example, well-cooked vegetables or soft fruits are cut into small pieces). The child himself chooses which products he wants to try from the table, and he takes them with his hands, he is not spoon-fed, as in energy foods. For the first few weeks of complementary foods, the child sits on her mother's lap while eating and tries microdoses of food from her plate. Gradually, the number of microdoses and types of food increases. Thus, there is an acquaintance with new food. Remember that mother's milk remains the main food for the child. We also draw your attention to the fact that this type of complementary foods is usually suitable for those families where they eat properly and varied.
Many experts recommend steaming the first "adult" food for a baby, since it is this method of cooking that preserves the maximum amount of useful trace elements and vitamins in products, and also because steamed products turn out juicy and retain their taste . Look no further than the Philips Avent 4 in 1 Steamer Blender to help you save time and effort and prepare the healthiest meals for your little one. The Philips Avent steamer allows you to make any consistency of food, from puree to chunks.
An important point here is the established diet of the family.
Here are a few more benefits of complementary food: 1
- development of active food interest and eating behavior;
- development of motor skills;
- making independent decisions by the child;
- reducing the risk of overeating and the formation of eating behaviors leading to fullness (leveling habits that further contribute to overweight).
Would you like to try the infant formula? Let's see where to start!
When to start feeding?
According to the infant feeding methodology, solid foods are recommended to be introduced when the baby is six months old. Six months is the ideal time to start complementary foods, as most babies at this age can sit without support and have good control of their neck, head, and motor skills. 2
If you choose an energy type of complementary food for yourself and your baby, you can introduce puree food at the age of four to six months. However, it is better to be careful with solid food and wait until your child is six months old to give him solid food in the form of small pieces.
How to start feeding?
To make this transition enjoyable for both you and your baby, let's discuss some aspects of infant formula. Below is an algorithm and useful tips about infant feeding: 1 2
- Have the child sit at the table. One of the benefits of infant food is the opportunity for your baby to eat at the table with the whole family. Start with the fact that during lunch, just put the child at the table with everyone. In this way, the child will be able to watch all the members of the family when they are eating, and he will develop an active food interest.
- Give your child food that he can handle. Even though your baby is not getting pureed food as part of complementary foods, but is given small pieces right away, you still need to make sure that the food is well crushed and soft enough so that he does not choke. Cut baby food into small pieces the size of rice that the baby can easily pick up and eat on their own.
Remember to make sure the food is soft enough for your child to chew and swallow easily. Foods like mashed potatoes, beans, well-cooked pasta, and rice are all great food options to offer your little one.
For even more variety in your baby's complementary foods, look no further than the Philips Avent 4 in 1 Steamer Blender to prepare delicious and healthy meals with a variety of recipes. You'll discover new ways to prepare homemade vegetables and meats that the whole family can enjoy, as one jar is enough for several servings.
- Have a glass of water ready. As soon as the child begins to feed on his own, he will also begin to drink on his own. Try using the Natural training cup so that your baby can gradually get used to holding the sippy cup by the handles while drinking from the familiar Natural nipple.
When you start complementary foods, be aware that dinner will get a little messy! As your child learns to pick up food and eat on his own, dropped food pieces will become commonplace, as will cute smudges of food smeared on your child's cheeks.
5. Continue breastfeeding or formula.
And remember that complementary foods don't mean you have to stop breastfeeding or formula right away. When starting complementary foods at six months of age, think of this time as your baby's introduction to new food textures and flavors. Continue breastfeeding or formula to ensure your baby gets all the nutrients it needs in its first year of life. Remember that the main food for him remains mother's milk or infant formula.
There will come a time when you and your baby will be ready to stop breastfeeding. You can find out when and how to do this here.
Now that you know what infant foods are and have a few recommendations in your arsenal about including food from the common table in your baby's diet, you can sit at the table with the whole family! Yes, there will be some confusion, but this is only part of a long journey that you and your child are walking together.
Philips Avent articles and tips
1 Contemporary Pediatrics - Baby-led weaning: Introducing complementary foods in infancy
2 U.S National Library of Medicine - Baby-Led Weaning: The Evidence to Date & The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) - A Baby-Led Approach to Eating Solids and Risk of Choking
Download app and track with trackers the development and growth of your child, and to keep those special moments forever.