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Being a first time mom can be scary, and worrying about your baby getting the right nutrients and developing “on time” is something many mothers worry about. When to start your baby trying out solids, is something that can vary from child to child however there are some clues that you can take from you babies actions to know when they are ready. A child watching the food being opened in anticipation to eat it is a clue that shows that they are interested in trying new things since there attention is gaged at the new food. Also reaching for a spoon shows readiness for feeding.
Playing with food or a spoon, and also irritation when feeding too slow are indicators that your baby is ready to move on and try solid foods. Children typically start to exhibit these types of behaviors at around four to six months. Starting your child out eating a tablespoon or two of semisoft food on a spoon once or twice a day is a good way to begin, only start with small portions in the beginning then work up. Food offered from a spoon stimulates muscle development and also new experience in sensation, taste, and texture.
When you are ready to start you child eating solid foods you want to make sure of a few things before you begin. First you want to make sure your infant is not overly tired or hungry, this could cause your baby to not corporate or be interested in trying new things. You want to use a small spoon and allow the infant to open their mouth and extend his/her tongue. Next you want to place the spoon on the tongue and avoid scraping the spoon on the infant’s gums. Scraping the food on your babies tongue does not teach them how to properly eat.
Make sure to pace yourself to allow your infant to swallow. Mothers want to make sure that they are not feeding their child too quickly, first meals may be 5-6 spoonful’s over 10 minutes. The first food you should be spoon-feeding your child is iron fortified baby cereal. You will then want to move on to pureed vegetables and fruits. Most people recommend starting out feeding your infant pureed vegetables because fruit is sweet so normally if you start with fruit your baby will not like those peas or green beans because they will want the sweet pears or bananas.
This is not for all babies however. Only try one new food at a time and offer for 2-3 days with 1 week in between introducing something new. You want to wait a week incase your baby has an allergy to that food, that way you can identify it and talk to your doctor. There are many unsafe food choices for infants starting out eating solids. Popcorn, peanuts, raisins, whole grapes, stringy meats, gum/gummy candy, jellybeans, hot dogs, and hard/raw fruits or vegetables; should be avoided.
This time of trying new foods is an experience for both you and your baby. There is no need to rush your baby into eating solids, when they are ready they will act like it. Something’s to watch out for when feeding your child is to not force them to eat it. Place the spoon on their tongue and let them take the spoon in without you doing it for them. If your infant continues to spit the food out over and over again or don’t open their mouth then do not force it, they just might not be ready, put the spoon and baby food away and try again in a day or two.
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