How to Find and Prepare Baby’s First Solid Food

Preparing the baby’s first solid food can be an exciting but stressful time for first-time parents. How do you determine if your baby is ready for solid food? Which food can you safely prepare for your baby? And how will you introduce different solid food?

When to Feed the Baby
Most babies can be given their first solid food between 4 to 6 months. They are supposed to feed on breast milk or formula while still young because they do not have the capacity to chew and swallow solid food yet. Ask your pediatrician for advice when introducing the baby to solid food, because some doctors argue that babies should not be fed yet until they are about 6 months of age.

Your baby will also give you signs that he/she is ready for solid food. He/she might be ready if you see the following signs: baby can keep his/her head steady; baby can sit upright; baby is curious about food; baby has gained weight; and baby can use his/her tongue and mouth properly.

Recommended First Solid Food
If you think your baby is ready to eat his/her first solid food, you should look for food that can be safely digested by baby’s sensitive tummy. Most babies can easily digest pureed single-ingredient solid food, such as squash, potato, banana, pear, peach, avocado, sweet potato, and brown rice cereal. Some doctors also recommend beef or chicken if the baby is still breastfeeding at 6 months.

Do not add salt, sugar, and other ingredients yet. Observe baby’s reaction to food and signs of allergies. Later, you can introduce known allergens, such as wheat, fish, eggs, soy and peanut butter, to determine if baby reacts to any one of them. If a family member, however, is known to be allergic to some food, you should ask the pediatrician about coming up with a feeding plan and blood tests for the baby.

Introducing Solid Food
Most parents start by preparing the food themselves to make sure that there are no additives to the food, although commercial baby food is generally safe if you read the labels properly. Spoon-feed the infant with the puree, limiting each feeding to 1 to 2 teaspoons.

You can also let the baby feed himself/herself by placing the food in front of him/her after nursing or bottle-feeding. Cereals should be diluted and mixed with milk or baby formula when introduced for the first time. If the baby does not seem interested, just let him/her smell it then try again later.

One feeding daily should be enough to allow the baby to practice chewing and swallowing. Remember to place the food in a feeding dish separate from the jar or container of baby food to prevent bacteria from accumulating. Leftovers from the feeding dish should not be stored and open food containers should be disposed one or two days after opening.

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