Foodie Friday: More Baby Food Basics
New parents get unsolicited advice about all aspects of baby care, but there’s one arena where it’s especially important to follow your pediatrician’s guidelines: when and what to feed your baby.
At about six months of age, most experts agree you can begin to add solid foods to your baby’s diet. But that these solids will supplement, not replace their regular breast milk or formula feedings.
Here are current best-practice tips for starting your baby on solid foods:
- In general, it does not matter what the first solid foods are. There is no current research stating that introducing solid foods in any distinct order is better for your baby. Traditionally, single-grain cereals are offered first, but single-ingredient strained or mashed vegetables or fruits are fine choices, too.
- When first offering solids, mix a small amount of breast milk or formula with it in a bowl. When mixed, it should have a soupy texture. Feed this to the baby with a spoon once a day for the first 1 to 2 weeks.
- When offering single-ingredient foods such as homemade or store-bought baby food, introduce one new flavor of food every 3 to 5 days before trying a new or different flavor. Following each new food, be aware of possible allergic reactions such as diarrhea, rash, or vomiting. If your baby experiences any of these, stop offering the food and consult with your child's health care provider.
- By 6 months of age, most breastfed babies will need additional sources of iron and zinc. Your baby may benefit from baby food made with meat, which has more readily absorbed sources of iron and zinc.
- Feed solids once a day for the first 3 to 4 weeks. Then, increase feedings of solids to twice a day. During this time, also keep feeding your baby as much breast milk or formula as you did before starting solids.
- For foods that are typically considered highly allergic, such as peanut butter and eggs, experts suggest that introducing these foods by 4 to 6 months of age may actually reduce the risk of food allergy in infants and children. After other common foods (cereal, fruit, and vegetables) have been introduced and tolerated, you may begin to offer allergenic foods, one every 3 to 5 days. This helps isolate any allergic reaction that may occur.
- Ask the health care provider if your baby needs fluoride supplements.
How GMC Can Help
For terrific baby food and kid-friendly recipes, browse our boards on Pinterest. For more information about baby’s developmental milestones, visit our Health (e) Library online.
Expecting a baby? The Gwinnett Women's Pavilion at GMC also offers a range of classes for parents and parents-to-be. See the complete schedule and register online at gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/classes.