Caring for a baby in its first few months is no easy feat; you will need to be as involved as you can while raising them. You will also need knowledge, experience, and professional advice to fulfill your responsibilities well.
One exciting milestone of a baby is their transition from breast milk or feeding formula to solids. If you are here to determine whether or not your baby is in this stage, you are on the right track.
Why Is Solid Food Important To Babies?
Solid food is a vital component of a baby’s diet to promote growth and development. Throughout their time as an infant, feeding them with breast milk has always been recommended, but there will come a time when they’ll need more than what breast milk can provide. This diet includes essential nutrients like zinc, iron, and calcium, which can be obtained from the right solid food.
But note that solid food isn’t equivalent to any food you can find in your fridge. Since babies have sensitive digestive anatomy and their diet requires strict supervision, you should choose the right solid food to introduce them to. You can start with well-cooked, pureed, ground, or mashed meat, beans, single-grain cereal, avocado, and banana, as well as these on-the-go baby food pouches from Serenity Kids for feeding convenience and safety.
Signs Your Baby Is Ready For Solid Food
Weeks before your baby’s transition time, you must prepare to ensure a seamless introduction. With that said, how do you know if your baby is ready for solid foods? Check out these five telltale signs below:
1. Your Baby Is At Least Six Months Old
Babies who had developed for nine months in the womb are born with a plentiful reserve of iron from the mother’s blood. This reserve is only sufficient for the first six months of their life, meaning they’ll need to replenish it through solid food. This fact also explains why, upon checking the recommended amount of iron daily by pediatricians, you’ll notice that the chart only starts at seven months old.
In as early as four months, you can start weaning your infant with single pieces of vegetables and fruits that are either blended or pureed. When your baby reaches six months, it’s time to make a solid food transition. But for premature babies, an iron supplement is needed from eight weeks old until their first birthday. Such a situation makes iron-packed solid food even more important to their diet. Make sure to keep an eye out in case of iron deficiencies in your infant.
2. Your Baby Shows Interest In Solid Food
Babies are naturally eager to learn more about their surroundings, sometimes using their mouths. If your baby is lunging forward to your food or grabbing onto your hands or utensils and putting food in their mouth, they may be ready to eat solid food.
Although, due to their inquisitive nature, seeing your baby showing interest in food doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready for solids. You can confirm this by offering them a small bite and observing if they take it. Give your baby some time to taste, feel the texture, swallow the food, and think it over. Some babies who like the food will even fuss a little, showing their excitement to eat solid food. Most importantly, create a pleasant eating experience for your child by letting them lead the way.
3. Your Baby Has Good Coordination
At birth, babies have the natural skill of sucking, where they can transfer milk from a bottle or breast into their mouth efficiently. It is the only oral motor skill they know before introducing any solids. Also, in the early stages of life, they may still be unable to support themselves. For instance, they may be unable to stay in a sitting position or hold their head steady.
But once they start picking up objects, holding a bottle, or holding their head up with little or no support, you may introduce to them solid food. These actions display good coordination. Trunk stability is crucial for self-feeding as they support a child’s fine motor skills.
4. Your Baby Makes Chewing Motions
To eat solid food, your baby needs a specific set of oral motor skills such as opening their mouth, keeping the food without the tongue pushing it back out, chewing the food, and swallowing it.
When your baby starts making chewing motions, this is an excellent sign of transitioning, but start with soft, pureed food first. It’s also evident when your child tries to put their hands or toys in their mouth without gagging on them.
Feeding the right food to your baby is a good start for their nutritional support and development. Since they’re still unaware of the food they’re eating, you should be there to guide them every step of the way. And the only time you’ll know they’re ready for some solid food is through witnessing the above signs discussed. Along with your observations, it’s best to consult your pediatrician to assess if they’re fit for human food consumption.