Introducing real food to baby
When, What, and How to Introduce Solid Foods | Nutrition
For more information about how to know if your baby is ready to starting eating foods, what first foods to offer, and what to expect, watch these videos from 1,000 Days.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend children be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula when they are about 6 months old. Introducing foods before 4 months old is not recommended. Every child is different. How do you know if your child is ready for foods other than breast milk or infant formula? You can look for these signs that your child is developmentally ready.
- Sits up alone or with support.
- Is able to control head and neck.
- Opens the mouth when food is offered.
- Swallows food rather than pushes it back out onto the chin.
- Brings objects to the mouth.
- Tries to grasp small objects, such as toys or food.
- Transfers food from the front to the back of the tongue to swallow.
What Foods Should I Introduce to My Child First?
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that for most children, you do not need to give foods in a certain order. Your child can begin eating solid foods at about 6 months old. By the time he or she is 7 or 8 months old, your child can eat a variety of foods from different food groups. These foods include infant cereals, meat or other proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, yogurts and cheeses, and more.
If your child is eating infant cereals, it is important to offer a variety of fortifiedalert icon infant cereals such as oat, barley, and multi-grain instead of only rice cereal. Only providing infant rice cereal is not recommended by the Food and Drug Administration because there is a risk for children to be exposed to arsenic. Visit the U.S. Food & Drug Administrationexternal icon to learn more.
How Should I Introduce My Child to Foods?
Your child needs certain vitamins and minerals to grow healthy and strong.
Now that your child is starting to eat food, be sure to choose foods that give your child all the vitamins and minerals they need.
Click here to learn more about some of these vitamins & minerals.
Let your child try one single-ingredient food at a time at first. This helps you see if your child has any problems with that food, such as food allergies. Wait 3 to 5 days between each new food. Before you know it, your child will be on his or her way to eating and enjoying lots of new foods.
Introduce potentially allergenic foods when other foods are introduced.
Potentially allergenic foods include cow’s milk products, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, and sesame. Drinking cow’s milk or fortified soy beverages is not recommended until your child is older than 12 months, but other cow’s milk products, such as yogurt, can be introduced before 12 months. If your child has severe eczema and/or egg allergy, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse about when and how to safely introduce foods with peanuts.
How Should I Prepare Food for My Child to Eat?
At first, it’s easier for your child to eat foods that are mashed, pureed, or strained and very smooth in texture. It can take time for your child to adjust to new food textures. Your child might cough, gag, or spit up. As your baby’s oral skills develop, thicker and lumpier foods can be introduced.
Some foods are potential choking hazards, so it is important to feed your child foods that are the right texture for his or her development. To help prevent choking, prepare foods that can be easily dissolved with saliva and do not require chewing. Feed small portions and encourage your baby to eat slowly. Always watch your child while he or she is eating.
Here are some tips for preparing foods:
- Mix cereals and mashed cooked grains with breast milk, formula, or water to make it smooth and easy for your baby to swallow.
- Mash or puree vegetables, fruits and other foods until they are smooth.
- Hard fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, usually need to be cooked so they can be easily mashed or pureed.
- Cook food until it is soft enough to easily mash with a fork.
- Remove all fat, skin, and bones from poultry, meat, and fish, before cooking.
- Remove seeds and hard pits from fruit, and then cut the fruit into small pieces.
- Cut soft food into small pieces or thin slices.
- Cut cylindrical foods like hot dogs, sausage and string cheese into short thin strips instead of round pieces that could get stuck in the airway.
- Cut small spherical foods like grapes, cherries, berries and tomatoes into small pieces.
- Cook and finely grind or mash whole-grain kernels of wheat, barley, rice, and other grains.
Learn more about potential choking hazards and how to prevent your child from choking.
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What is Baby-Led Weaning? - Solid Starts
Baby-led weaning is a method of introducing solid food to babies whereby purées and spoon-feeding are skipped entirely in favor of finger foods that a baby self-feeds.Pictured left to right: Steamed broccoli floret; a sardine filet from a can, an avocado spear, and a banana spear.
Coined by Gill Rapley, a former public health nurse in the U.K., baby-led weaning (or baby-led feeding as it is sometimes referred to) offers parents a way to bypass the idea of baby food entirely. Growing in popularity, baby-led weaning is particularly popular with parents who want to avoid raising picky eaters, as well as parents who subscribe to Montessori-type philosophies of child-rearing where children are encouraged to be self-sufficient.
At its core, baby-led weaning emphasizes independence of the baby. A parent is to wait for their baby to show signs of readiness for eating and to follow the baby’s cues in all matters of introducing solid food. Babies are brought to the table for family meals, encouraged to pick up food with their own fingers, and trusted to eat as much or as little as they need. Babies introduced to solids with baby-led weaning also continue breast or bottle feeds and are permitted to determine when those milk feeds should be reduced.
Research studies are just beginning to analyze the impacts of baby-led weaning, but we know there are many benefits to letting your baby self-feed.
Of primary importance is fostering independence: with baby-led weaning, your baby will learn to eat on their own and have control over what—and how much—they eat. Our experience is that babies who are given this control over what they eat early on are less likely to become picky eaters in the toddler years and beyond. With baby-led weaning, food is less likely to become a lever for control or power in the child-parent relationship because the child is in control from day one of starting solids.
Other benefits of baby-led weaning include the opportunity for your baby to practice critical motor and oral skills. Self-feeding a variety of food consistencies and textures enables your baby to work on tongue movements, jaw strength, and swallowing as well as the fine motor skills required to pick up different sized pieces of food with their fingers.
Lastly, current research shows that babies who are started on solids with finger foods (or “baby-led weaning”) are no more likely to choke on food than babies who are spoon-fed.1Juliet Rose, 11 months, eats pulled pork and radish.
Benefits of Letting Your Baby Self-Feed
- Independence: Baby learns to eat independently and is in total control.
- Development: Baby practices critical motor and oral skills.
- Appetite Control: Baby is in charge of how much to eat and learns to stop when full.
- Ease: Baby (mostly) eats what you eat. Less special meals.
- Variety: Baby can eat a variety of textures and flavors, which may reduce picky eating later on.
- Less Expensive: Baby eats real food. No pricey jars, pouches or blenders required.
- Family Meals: Baby is part of your family meal, eating with you.
- Dining Out: It’s easier to eat in restaurants as baby can eat whole food.
- Fun! Babies enjoy touching, inspecting, and tasting a different flavors and textures.
While our preferred mode of introducing solids—Finger Food First—builds on the wisdom of baby-led weaning, it offers a bit more flexibility. For example, with a finger food first approach, you can employ a combination of feeding methods, with an emphasis is on letting your baby self-feed a variety of textures and flavors.
Hungry for more? Head over to our comprehensive video library with topics from how to get started with baby-led weaning to how to prevent picky eating.
This page has been created with typically developing infants and children in mind. If your baby/child has underlying medical or developmental differences, including but not limited to: prematurity, developmental delay, hypotonia, airway differences, chromosomal aThese pages have been created with typically developing infants and children in mind. The information here is generalized for a broad audience and is for informational purposes only. Your child is an individual and may have needs or considerations beyond generally accepted practices. If your child has underlying medical or developmental differences, including but not limited to prematurity, developmental delay, hypotonia, airway differences, chromosomal abnormalities, craniofacial anomalies, gastrointestinal differences, cardiopulmonary disease, or neurological differences, we strongly recommend and encourage you to discuss your child’s feeding plan and when and how to start solids and finger food with the child’s doctor, health care provider or therapy team. Close consultation with a feeding and swallowing specialist can provide safe guidance for the child’s feeding journey. Always seek the advice of your doctor, health care provider or therapy team with any questions you may have regarding your child’s development and capacity for starting solid foods.
- Arantes A et al. The Baby-led Weaning Method (BLW) in the Context of Complementary Feeding: A Review. Revista Paulista de Pediatria 36, no. 3 (2018): 353–63.
The content offered on SolidStarts. com is for informational purposes only. Solidstarts is not engaged in rendering professional advice, whether medical or otherwise, to individual users or their children or families. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or your medical or health professional, nutritionist, or expert in pediatric feeding and eating. By accessing the content on SolidStarts.com, you acknowledge and agree that you are accepting the responsibility for your child’s health and well-being. In return for providing you with an array of content “baby-led weaning” information, you waive any claims that you or your child may have as a result of utilizing the content on SolidStarts.com.
Acquaintance of the baby with "adult" food. – Krya-Krya
| Section: Blog
| Question from: admin
Your baby has grown up, he can do a lot. The first few months have flown by, and it seems that it is time to introduce the baby to “adult” food. For this, complementary foods are introduced into the diet. This event raises many questions. How to enter it correctly? From what age? What is the peculiarity of the first feeding?
The first food of a newborn is mother's milk. Studies claim that it contains all the necessary micronutrients for the growth and development of babies. In the case when breastfeeding is not enough due to a lack of milk, newborns are supplemented with an adapted milk formula or completely switched to it. Such mixtures also contain all the necessary nutrients and are as close as possible to breast milk.
When should we start introducing complementary foods?
World Health Organization recommends from 6 months. By this time, the weight of the little one should double, the child begins to be interested in what the rest of the family eats; also, the baby does not push out reflex food, although it can turn away from food, showing that it has already eaten.
Why not sooner? First, we have already found out that breast milk satisfies all the needs of the baby up to this time. Secondly, the children's digestive system is not ready to cope with adult food at an earlier date, as it does not have the necessary enzymes in sufficient quantities.
We introduce complementary foods according to all the rules.
The teaspoon rule. Starting from six months, there is a fascinating and long acquaintance with the whole variety of delicious food. And the task of mom is not to overdo it. Any new product is given for the first time in a minimum amount, starting from 5 grams. Within a week, the volume can be increased to 150 gr. The rules for introducing food say that a new product is introduced no more than once a week. This is done to detect possible allergic reactions.
Who eats complementary foods in the morning, he acts wisely. As they say, that's what morning is for ... That is, in the event of an allergy, you have a day ahead of you to monitor the baby and take action, if necessary.
Complementary food consistency and temperature. Baby food should be at a comfortable temperature, namely around 36 C. It can be a little hot or cold later. The first complementary foods from vegetables are given in a boiled puree-like state. By 8 months, the baby has more teeth, which means that food can be thicker.
Child's well-being. The baby should be in a good mood, not after vaccination and not during illness.
Feed elements. Since we are trying new adult food, then let the serving utensils be like those of adults. The kid should have his own small spoon, plate (deep and not very deep). Until, of course, mother will feed. But it will take quite a bit of time, and the child will learn to eat on his own.
The baby eats with a spoon - the mood and his own spoon play a significant role. The rules are quite simple.
6-month-old baby - Vegetable purees
7-month-old baby - Dairy-free, gluten-free cereals
8-month-old baby - Diet meat, potatoes, yolk
9-month-old baby - Dairy products
Complementary foods at 6 months. Where to begin ?
There are three options for the introduction of the first complementary foods: vegetables, cereals, dairy products. Which one will be the first is not so important. When children do not have enough body weight, it is recommended to start with cereals.
As far as vegetables are concerned, it is better to start your acquaintance with vegetables with zucchini. Then you can try cauliflower, broccoli; after which pumpkin and carrots, rich in carotenoids, go for introduction into complementary foods. Carrots are usually given in soups along with other vegetables no more than three times a week.
6 months: Vegetable puree
Vegetable puree is one of the first to be tasted. Vegetable puree is very easy to prepare. The necessary products are washed, then they are cleaned and boiled in water or steamed. Preference is given to steam cooking - this way the maximum amount of vitamins is preserved. After the cooked vegetables are chopped in a blender, adding water or vegetable broth, bringing them to the consistency of thick sour cream. Keep 1 day.
Here's a rough weekly complementary feeding schedule:
Monday - a teaspoon of squash puree, followed by supplementary feeding with formula or breast milk.
Tuesday — 10 g of squash puree (corresponding to 2 teaspoons), then breastfeed.
Wednesday - 20 gr + top dressing as usual.
Thursday - 40 gr and supplement with milk.
Friday - double the portion again, 80 g of zucchini puree + supplement with breast milk.
Saturday - 120 gr and additional feeding.
Sunday - 150 gr and supplement with breast or formula.
Next week a new vegetable is taken for sampling and further, according to the scheme. When several products appear in the child's diet, you can prepare multi-component purees, but so far only one of them is taken as the basis. The goal of gradually increasing the portion is to replace one of the feedings with a similar food.
Please note that meals must be voluntary. If the child refuses to eat up, do not force feed him, so to speak, “for mom”, “for dad”. This is especially true for children who are breastfed.
7 months. Kashi.
It's a new month, which means we're trying a new product: porridge. Children under one year of age are strongly advised to consume gluten-free cereals, which include corn, rice and buckwheat. The fact is that gluten is a protein found in cereals and forms gluten. Some people, including small ones, have a predisposition to gluten intolerance. Therefore, temporary hypofunction of food enzymes can provoke the development of celiac disease. This condition is dangerous because it causes damage to the small intestine. It is for this reason that it is not recommended to give semolina porridge to infants.
8 months. Meat and more.
This month, the child is ready to try meat puree of rabbit, veal and turkey. Such types of meat are considered the most suitable, as they belong to dietary varieties. In addition, they are hypoallergenic. After another month, chicken, beef puree can be added to the diet.
At this age, consumption of no more than 50 g per day is allowed. meat. Closer to the year, this figure will increase to 100. As for pork, its intake should be postponed until one and a half years old, and then exclusively low-fat varieties.
At 8 months it is time to get to know the yolk. This is done carefully for the same reason: allergic reactions. The first time, give the crumbs only 1/10 part, after three days, if everything is fine, a quarter, then a half. Quail eggs are better than chicken eggs. The yolk is given twice a week, preferably in the morning feeding.
At this age, vegetable and butter are also introduced (no more than 5 g per day). They can be alternately added to vegetable puree.
9 months: curds and kefirs.
If you have chosen the same order of introduction of products as described in this article, then it is time for curd puddings and kefir. They also need to be child friendly. If there is a children's dairy kitchen near your place of residence, be sure to sign up for it. The cottage cheese is chosen low-fat, given at first by a teaspoon, gradually the portion increases to 50 gr. Kefir by the year is 200 ml per day in the child's diet. His reception is planned for the evening hours before bedtime. As for baby cottage cheese, it should not be too greasy.
10 months: sweet season.
Sweet in the sense that the time has come to get acquainted with fruits. At this age, those species that are grown in your area are selected. It is better to wait a little with overseas curiosities. An excellent option would be mashed apples, pears, and prunes. Since the child already has several teeth, you can give him a piece of fruit to chew on. But this should be done, of course, under the supervision of adults.
With regard to red berries such as strawberries, raspberries, currants, it is considered that they should not be given until the age of one because of the risk of an allergic reaction. If you still decide to treat the baby with a red berry, give him one ripe one and watch the reaction during the day.
It is worth noting that cookies and other sweets (especially sweets) are unacceptable for newborns.
Without tears and whims: when and how to accustom a child to adult food
“Adult” nutrition refers to food from the common table, and it is recommended to switch to it gradually after a year. However, if the family menu contains “correctly” prepared dishes suitable for the child, then you can start earlier. For example, a soup prepared for the whole family on a vegetable broth or a second broth with vegetables and lean meat is quite suitable for a baby from 10 months old. Only the vegetables should be mashed with a fork, and the meat should be finely chopped.
Meatballs and lean meatballs prepared for the whole family can also be suitable for a baby from the age of 8-10 months.
Where to start?
It is best to start with vegetables mashed with a fork: broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots. By 8 months, we add meat in the form of soft meatballs, cutlets, soufflé. In the same period, it is very important to accustom the child to fish. From 10 months we diversify the diet with small pasta and grated cheese. For breakfast, you can also start giving an omelet.
After a year, more complex dishes may appear in the child’s diet: meat soups with various vegetables, pasta with vegetables and cheese, vegetable, meat, cottage cheese casseroles, vegetable stew ( see also: “My child eats: 10 rules of food education Europeans who will be useful to us").
“It is also necessary to take into account national traditions in nutrition, so the diet of a young child should be formed from those products that are typical for his place of residence. The more varied the diet of the baby, the better it will develop physically and intellectually. However, do not forget that for greater safety, it is recommended to start complementary foods with industrial products. They are designed and adapted specifically for young children, taking into account their needs and the capabilities of the gastrointestinal system. Too early introduction of adult foods into complementary foods can have an adverse effect on the baby’s digestive system, ”says Olga Lukoyanova, MD, leading researcher at the National Medical Research Center for Children's Health, Federal State Agrarian University of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation.
Consequences of not following the recommended timing
If coarser foods are introduced before 8 months, this can put a lot of strain on the digestive system of a young child. As a result, the development of diseases such as gastritis, biliary dyskinesia and allergies is possible.
Late introduction of adult food is also undesirable. If started after 1.5–2 years, the child will have a poor diet, delayed chewing of solid foods, reduced interest in food, and abnormal eating behavior will form.
In addition, the child may develop neophobia - a negative attitude towards new foods, which will lead to insufficient intake of essential nutrients, vitamins and trace elements, which, in turn, can lead to serious health problems. In addition, such behavior of the child will become a big problem for parents.
How to make this stage easier for mother and child?
Experts recommend that the transition to adult food be easy and bring only pleasure to everyone, develop a food interest in the baby and in every possible way encourage his craving for acquaintance with new tastes and dishes. Manufacturers of baby food try to diversify their assortment as much as possible and thereby make a great contribution to the development of the taste and nutritional preferences of the child.
For example, the Russian brand FrutoNyanya can offer babies from 6 months of age puree with non-standard flavors for the Russian baby food market: puree with oatmeal cookies, apple puree with charlotte cookies and puree with muesli. If such combinations are unusual for us, then in the West there has long been a trend for "adult" tastes, adapted to the children's diet. This step has a logical explanation: to help moms and dads comfortably transfer children to an adult table without additional stress. An intermediate link in the chain "fruit puree - full-fledged meals" has so far been practically absent, with the exception of meat and meat and vegetable products for children over 8 months old.
Another piece of advice from Olga Lukoyanova: parents need to keep their child interested in food by offering it in the form of pieces and letting them pick it up with their hands.
Pieces should appear in your baby's diet as early as 8-10 months, when pureed food is gradually replaced with finely chopped food. Observations show that if a child is not offered food in pieces in the first year of life, he gets used to food from the common table much later and worse in the second year. But you should not leave the baby alone when he eats food in pieces, and even more so allow him to run around at this time. It is advisable to use children's dishes and special children's appliances. While eating, the child should sit on his chair and not be distracted by anything ( see also: "10 tips on how to teach a child to eat beautifully").
New foods or dishes are best introduced at the beginning of a meal when the baby is hungry. The appearance of food is also of great importance: beautifully decorated dishes with a variety of color combinations will attract the child faster and easier.
It is very useful to share meals with other family members so that the child begins to feel like an adult.
What should I do if my child refuses a new menu?
Parents' attempts to force them to eat a new dish or eat it to the end can have a very negative impact on the child's further perception of any unfamiliar food and lead to a complete rejection of the proposed food. The kid needs to be given time and not insist, but periodically offer a new menu. Sometimes children are more willing to try an unfamiliar dish if it is on the plate of mom or dad or just stands on the table, as they say, “in the public domain”. Sometimes it helps to mix a new flavor into an already familiar dish. The main task of parents is to be calm and tune in to the wave of the baby, but in no case force him to eat.