Best Time for Baby Food: When to start solid food for baby?

 When to start solid food to your babies?

Starting solid food to your loved one is big challenge and very exciting step. Below we would like to explain in detail, when and how to start solid food to baby along with breastfeeding. Time recommended to start the solid food to baby is after they attain the age of 6 months. Few parents start solid food when the child reaches age of four months.

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It is strongly recommended by experts and WHO in first six months baby only need mother milk. We fully endorse and recommend mother milk is ideal feed for baby and advocate for breastfeeding.

Mother initially needs to have patience to breast feed their babies. In the beginning weeks / month mother feed several times a day,  it is time consuming but this is the most important and TOP priority to have healthy baby with better growth and agile.

If as mother you foresee there is problem in having sufficient quantity of breast milk and you observe the quantity of milk is not sufficient to feed your baby. First priority as mother to do your best to breast feed your baby by devoting time, for baby to have proper healthy diet as well as liquid intake. If the situation persists means in sufficient quantity, please do consult your doctor and pediatrician for help, advice and guidance. If situation is so breast milk quantity is insufficient to feed the baby, than doctors will recommend parents for top feed or formula milk to meet infant dietary requirement and also required calorie needed by baby.

TIME FOR SOLID FOOD

Start solid food is a big change but this is also essential. Start slowly in terms of feeding solid food, and gradually increase the quantity of healthy and natural food intake per day to the baby.  The right age for solid food normally to start at six month or earlier but not before 4 months. Beside it breastfeeding or formula milk to be given regularly for good health.

As mentioned above the right age to start solid food, Parents or care giver also need to look for other signs that means your baby is now ready for solid foods. Such as:

  • Is the baby hold the head in steady position and in upright position?
  • The baby is watching and following you / what you are eating
  • Start solid food when your baby is able to sit with support
  • Does your baby mouthing his or her hand and toys?

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Learn how to manage this transitory phase successfully. This shifting phase period may last for 18-24 months. Initiating solid food with very small amount of solid food to just have the taste and flavor. Gradually increase the quantity of healthy solid food and also feed milk preferably breast milk during this period also or till the baby attain the age of 2 years. In later age shift to cow milk along with healthy and solid natural food.

When to start solid food, what to serve to your babies solid and healthy feed:

It is advised when you start giving solid healthy food, you also need to keep feeding breast milk till age of 2 years as usual or formula milk if needed to your baby on daily basis.

Start solid food with cereal of single grain or oatmeal. Take one teaspoon spoon of either of these and add mother milk which means 20 ml or 4 table spoon or formula milk. If you are planning to have variety of cereal in later ages you may give rice cereal or even barley cereal but it gets thick means to serve with bottle it is better to avoid barley cereal at early stages. You can start later on when he or she can sit upright and ready to eat with small spoon.

In initial stages of 3-4 weeks you are making familiar your baby with taste of solid food and secondly observe how to swallow the semiliquid food.

When your baby is use to swallow cereal with the growing age than you can give it two times in a day. Now at the age of 7 to 9 months you can mix cereal with less amount of liquid means it should be semi solid or much thicker as compare to the starting meal

Please give safe and hygienic water by mug or glass to drink at least 4-5 times a day. Please avoid at maximum to give drinking water by bottle with nipple.

Now you can add vegetable, fruit, chicken small pieces and crushed or smashed meat or scrambled or half boiled egg.  Please ensure at a time you offer single ingredient of food without any sugar or salt. Please be patience at this stage, wait for three to four days for each new food you give that means your baby stomach has well absorbed it without any reaction that means no allergy, diarrhea or vomiting is observe.

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As you have started solid food mostly with variety of single ingredients food and it has been well absorbed and digested by baby. Now you can start combination or mix food such as rice, lentil and meshed chicken, mix vegetable, mashed potato, bread (roti) with home cooked meat or vegetable potato or lentil, all food should be without spice.

In fruits you can start with banana, strawberry, black berry, pulp of mango, peach etc.

Please make sure and ensure to avoid at all cost the cold drinks, ice cream, fizzy drinks, junk food, chips, tea or coffee at all times to come for your baby and yourself.  You both as parent have to play role model role and avoid to take all the above mentioned foods in front of your baby at least, if you also avoid to the maximum level these above mentioned food and drinks to your maximum level it will be good for your health and quality of life (QOL) , As a parent you need to be fit and healthy for the long journey along with your  baby or children.

After attaining age of one year, you can start fresh juice to your baby, which should be the freshly squeezed at home. In the year one please avoid giving fruit juices and especially if they are from juice corner or shop these contain sugar and ice (source of water is not secure and may be unhygienic)

Babies when they reach the age of 8 to 10 months, most of the babies are ready to manage, eat and swallow in little quantity of meshed and very thin slices of finger foods. We refer here such as vegetable, cheese, yoghurt, well coked and meshed meat or potato, home cooked bread with freshly home cook curry without spices, freshly squeezed fruit juice. When baby reaches age of one year, she is ready to take three meals a day and evening meal like adult, She or he is ready to join you and share your food for all three meals and also light snacks in the evening meal.

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 Parents needs to understand the limit:

Please don’t give cow milk to baby before they attain and celebrated their first birthday. The cow milk don’t full fil the nutritional requirement of baby as well as it is not good source of iron which may lead to iron efficiency in children.

Please avoid giving honey to your baby before they are one year old, because honey may contain spores which can cause illness to your baby and one serious illness is known as botulism may occur.

Despite child age is more than one year and can swallow food which are meshed and broken into small pieces. Still it is not recommended to give baby meat chunks, grape, raw vegetable, apple pieces or fruit chunks, hot dogs, candies, nuts or popcorns.  If you prefer to give vegetables or fruit chunks please cut them in small pieces to be easily swallowed and digested by them.

Article written by Mahmood Hussain for Baby First

About Mahmood Hussain

Professional Experience More than 36 years work experience in Healthcare & Pharmaceutical sectorDirector & General Manager Baby First (Pvt.) Ltd Pakistan March 2011 – till to date I have been associated with Baby First (Pvt) Ltd for more than 5 years. It is advisory, community and social interaction medium for parents 16-38 years and babies 0-6 years.General Manager Aga Khan Health Service Pakistasn December 2005 – December 2007 (2 years 1 month)Based at Karachi Pakistan Worked as General Manager managing Karachi & Baluchistan Health care services of AKHSP which includes primary and secondary health care centers and diagnostic centers on all areas nearly 102 centers which include three leading hospitals in Karachi.General Manager Janssen Cilag (Johnson & Johnson) February 1998 – January 2005 (7 years)Education MBA, Marketing 1995 – 1996, Preston University MSc, Biochemistry 1970 – 1974, Karachi University

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