Can you tell me what the best first foods for my baby are?
If you have been a reader of our site for any length of time, you will know that we strongly emphasize to all parents that you should hold off starting your baby on solids until he is at least six months of age or older. There is a lot of information out there that encourages parents to start their babies on solids at four months of age. However, many experts will tell you that this is a bad idea, because the digestive system of a baby this young is really quite immature.
You are not doing your baby any favors by starting him on solids at an early age. In fact, you may be doing more harm than good. Babies who are given solids at this age may develop food allergies or experience diarrhea or constipation. The reality is that babies simply do not even need solid foods for the first year of their life to thrive. Giving your baby formula or breast milk will be all the nutrition that he needs until he is at least 12 months. The only reason you are giving your baby solids in the first year of his life, is to teach him how to eat like an adult.
So with that said, there should be no rush to start your baby on solids.
Starting Solids For Babies
Once your baby is six months old, this is typically the best time to begin introducing solids to him. However, this is just a general rule and some things you will want to look for to know that he is ready for solids include:
- He has at least doubled his birth weight
- He can easily hold his head straight and can sit up on his own
- He has lost his reflexive action to push food out of his mouth with his tongue
- He is curious about what you are eating and may even try to grab at your food
Once your baby meets all of the criteria above, it is more than likely that he is ready to begin eating solids.
What Types Of Food Can I Feed My Baby?
The first solid that many parents start off feeding their baby is rice cereal. However, there is no real particular order that you need to follow, as long as you are aware of the types of foods that are safe for your baby to eat.
Some of the most popular foods that many parents start off with include: Mangoes, bananas, peaches, avocados, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, carrots, and squash.
You will want to keep the foods pureed and offer your baby about a teaspoon of your chosen solid, after they have nursed or been bottle-fed. It is extremely important that you remember to always offer solids only after a regular feeding. Remember, your baby will still get all of the most important nutritional value he needs from breast milk or formula for the first year. Solids should always be a secondary option.
You will also want to introduce to solids one at a time, usually over the course of a few days. This will allow your baby to adjust to new foods slowly and help you to determine if your baby is allergic to any of the foods.
If your baby rejects any food, never try to force it on him. Simply try to reintroduce the food in another week to 10 days.