As babies grow, their nutritional needs change too. They start to require more nutrients to support their developing bodies and brains. They start transitioning from a diet that primarily consists of formula or breast milk to solid foods. While there is no hard and fast rule as to when do babies stop drinking formula, most experts recommend that babies transition to solid foods gradually, starting around six months of age.
Most babies are ready to start eating baby food between the ages of 4-6 months. However, every baby is different, and it’s important to look for signs of readiness before introducing solid foods. Some signs that your baby may be ready for baby food include:
- Your baby can hold their head up on their own and sit up with support.
- Your baby shows interest in what you’re eating and may try to reach for your food.
- Your baby has doubled their birth weight and seems hungry after consuming their formula or regular milk.
It’s important to remember that breastmilk or formula should still be the main source of nutrition for babies until they are 12 months old. Baby food should be introduced gradually and alongside milk or formula feeds.
How to introduce baby food?
When introducing baby food, it’s important to start with simple, single-ingredient foods such as pureed fruits or vegetables. This will allow you to identify any potential allergies or digestive issues. Some good first foods include pureed sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, or avocados.
To introduce baby food, start with a small amount on a spoon and offer it to your baby. Don’t be discouraged if they spit it out or seem disinterested. It may take a few attempts before they acquire a taste for the food.
It’s also important to introduce new foods one at a time, waiting a few days between introducing each new food to make sure your baby doesn’t have an allergic reaction.
How to prepare baby food?
Making your own baby food can be simple and cost-effective. All you need is a food processor or blender and some fresh fruits and vegetables. Simply wash and chop the produce and blend it until it’s smooth. You can then store it in small containers or freeze it for later use.
If making your own baby food isn’t an option, there are many commercially available options. Serenity Kids is a company that produces high-quality, organic baby food made from ethically sourced meats and vegetables. Their products are free from preservatives, additives, and artificial flavours, making them a great option for parents who want to feed their babies nutritious food.
What food to avoid
When it comes to introducing babies to solid foods, it’s important to be aware of which foods to avoid. A baby’s digestive system is still developing, so introducing the wrong foods too early can lead to digestion problems, allergies, and other health issues.
Here are some foods to avoid when introducing baby food:
- Honey. It’s important to avoid giving honey to babies under one year old, as it can contain spores of bacteria that can cause botulism.
- Cow’s milk. Avoid cow’s milk until your baby is at least one year old. Cow’s milk can be hard for a baby to digest and may cause an allergic reaction.
- Salt and sugar. Avoid adding salt and sugar to your baby’s food. Babies don’t need extra salt and sugar in their diets, and introducing them too early can lead to a preference for overly sweet or salty foods later in life.
- Choking hazards. Avoid foods that are small and hard, like nuts, popcorn, and hard candy. Also, avoid foods that are round and can easily become stuck in your baby’s throat, like grapes and cherry tomatoes.
- Fish high in mercury. Avoid fish that are high in mercury, like sharks, swordfish, and king mackerel. These fish can be harmful to a baby’s developing nervous system.
- Raw or undercooked eggs, meat, and poultry. These foods can contain harmful bacteria that can make your baby sick.
Overall, it’s important to introduce new foods to your baby slowly and watch for any signs of an allergic reaction or digestive issues. Always consult with your paediatrician before introducing new foods to your baby’s diet.
Introducing baby food is an exciting milestone in a baby’s development. By following the signs of readiness and introducing foods gradually, parents can ensure that their babies get the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Whether making your own baby food or opting for a commercial brand like Serenity Kids, there are many options available to support your baby’s nutritional needs.
Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.