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Babys First Food

August 15, 2018

For the first five or six months of life, babies get all their calories, nutrients, and water from breast milk or formula. At around age six months, they can begin transitioning to solid foods (learn more about transitioning from the bottle). Doctors recommend that parents not begin feeding their infants solids before this age for a number of reasons. First, younger infants have not yet developed the physical coordination in their mouths and throats to manage solid foods and can easily choke on baby food. Secondly, research has shown that babies are much more likely to develop food allergies to any foods they try before age six months. Lastly, young infants still need the unique nutrient compounds only found in breast milk and baby formula at this point in their life.

Start with half a spoonful or less and talk to your baby through the process. Your baby may not know what to do at first. She may look confused, wrinkle her nose, roll the food around inside her mouth, or reject it altogether. One way to make eating solids for the first time easier is to give your baby a little breast milk, formula, or both first; then switch to very small half-spoonfuls of food; and finish with more breast milk or formula. This will prevent your baby from getting frustrated when she is very hungry.

It is important for your baby to get used to the process of eating—sitting up, taking food from a spoon, resting between bites, and stopping when full. These early experiences will help your child learn good eating habits throughout life. The best first foods for baby are ones that can be made smooth and mushy, have tons of vitamins, and are easy to serve. Sweet potatoes and yams have vitamin A and are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B1, B2, B6, potassium, dietary finer and niacin. Avocado is one of nature’s perfect foods for a growing babe. Like avocado, banana is smooth, creamy and very easily digestible by babies. At 6 months of age, the amount of iron in breast milk is not sufficient for growing babes. Adding meat to your baby’s diet is a fantastic way to make sure they are getting the extra iron they need.

Encourage family meals from the first feeding. When you can, the whole family should eat together. Here are some tips for sign language so your baby can tell you if they need more, or all all done. Research suggests that having dinner together, as a family, on a regular basis has positive effects on the development of children. Remember to offer a good variety of healthy foods that are rich in the nutrients your child needs. Watch your child for cues that he has had enough to eat. Do not overfeed!

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