Tips For Introducing Solids To Babies

Introducing solids

Introducing solids: The age at which solids are introduced to babies nowadays is very different from the age at which babies were introduced to solids in the past and this is thanks to all the extensive research done in the area of breastfeeding and breast milk benefits.

Experts now advise parents to delay the introduction of solids until babies are absolutely ready for them. But if you think your baby must be introduced to solids earlier than the recommended age for any reason (maybe you think baby still seems hungry after a feed), then you should seek medical advice from your baby's pediatrician.

At what age should solids be introduced to babies?

Well, there has been a lot of ideas and opinions regarding the best age for introducing a baby to solids and now after a lot of scientific research, most Health Organisations are now recommending that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life. Breast milk or milk formula should cover a baby's nutritional needs from birth to 6 months of age. From 6 months, babies can then be slowly introduced to soilds.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding babies from birth to 6 months of age. For further information on the benefits of exclusive breast feeding please follow this link: World Health Organisation

Why delay the introduction of solids?

There are many reasons why experts encourage waiting until babies are around 6 months of age before introducing solids. For one, a very young baby's digestive tract is not mature enough to digest solids effectively. Also, the risk of food allergies for babies who are only introduced to solids at 6 months of age is greatly minimized.

Human breast milk is nature's food that is especially designed for human babies. It is the perfect food for babies. It is also the most important source of nutrients for babies younger than 6 months. Solids at this stage in life are actually less nutritious than breast milk and therefore should not replace the more important breast milk.

How should the first solids be introduced?

When introducing new foods to your baby, it is best to introduce them one at time waiting 3 to 4 days before offering another new kind of food. This will make it so much easier for you to pinpoint which foods are tolerated well by your baby and which ones are not. This rule is good as it helps you identify trouble foods.

Introducing solids - Some signs of readiness for solids

A baby may be ready for solids if he can...
  • Sit with some support
  • Shows interest in food when you eat
  • Seems hungry even after a feed
  • Can swallow food without pushing it out with his tongue
  • Can grasp or hold toys/objects

Introducing solids - food ideas!

Baby Rice Cereal: It's a good idea to start baby on single grain iron- fortified cereals. Using foods containing one ingredient will make it easy for you to indentify the cause of any allergic reactions that might occur. Rice cereal is less likely to cause any allergic reactions and is also easy for babies to digest.

Apple Puree: Apples have a lovely sweet mild taste and are a great source of vitamin C and other vitamins. Because baby is so young and is only being introudced to solids, apples have to be peeled, steamed or boiled before being pureed.

Introducing solids - picking the right time!

When introducing solids to baby, it is important that you pick a good time, the time of the day when baby is usually in a happy mood. Just before mid-day, perhaps. Make sure you will not be disturbed. Prepare the first food of your choice. Try using a silicone baby spoon rather than a hard plastic spoon. The silicone spoons are nice and soft which makes them perfect for starters.

Start by giving baby his normal feed of breast milk or formula. Sit baby carefully in a comfortable and safe baby high-chair or alternatively, you can sit baby in your lap. Put a bib on baby in case things get a little bit messy, you don't want to ruin those lovely baby clothes. Finally feed the first solid food slowly to allow baby time to swallow.

Introducing solids - Is baby not eating?

It is important to remember that solids are a new thing to your baby at this point and baby might be skeptical about this funny non-liquid textured stuff and may react by spitting it out. Just remember not to stress about this, instead continue offering the same food for another day or two, baby might just finally accept it. If not, offer baby another single-ingredient starter food.

Introducing solids - Babys stool after solids

When a baby starts on solids, its almost expected to notice some changes in the baby's stool. Baby's poop color may change after starting solids and so will the smell. For breastfeeding babies the consistency of the poop might change too from the looser stool to a bit more formed. The nappies may no longer be as messy and the number of times the baby has a poo may also decrease.

Good luck introducing solids to your little one and remember to enjoy this great moment and take plenty of pictures for later memories!!