First Feeding Q & A
When is your baby ready for solids?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (http://www.aap.org/) recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for at least six months, therefore introduction of solids would be at 6 months. Of course, when faced with the reality of working outside the home, many mothers have moved their babies to formula before six months old. Until 6 months old, breast milk or formula provides all the calories and nourishment your baby needs and can handle. His digestive system probably isn't mature enough for solids until he nears his half-birthday. Introduced early, different foods can cause unpleasant reactions and even trigger allergies. These problems can be avoided by waiting until your baby is ready for solids. Some parents have found introducing solids before their baby is ready to be a waste of time, energy and money.
Will my baby give me signs that he is ready for solids?
You will know that he is ready to start solids when:
- he is about six months old
- he can sit up with help
- his birth weight has doubled
- he has lost the tongue-thrusting reflex and does not push solids out of his mouth
Listen to your baby! Babies with a tendency to allergies may refuse solids until later in their first year. As long as they are growing well and are happy and healthy, there is no need for concern.
How should I start feeding my baby?
The best way is to just mix a little rice cereal with water, breast milk, or formula and feed it to her on your finger. The mixture should be very soupy, room temperature, and should only be about 1 teaspoon. You will instantly see if the tongue-thrusting reflex is still present, and evaluate if your baby is interested in more.
How much should I expect my baby to eat?
Breast milk or formula continues to be the most important source of nutrition for your baby during the first year of life. Think of the solids you are feeding your baby as EXTRA calories that she may or may not want. To begin with just see if your baby is able to swallow the food you make for her. At one year old, your baby will only eat (on average) 3 tablespoons of solid food for three meals a day and 2 snacks. This is not a large amount of food. Keep your portion sizes small, and watch your baby for signs that she isn't interested in any more food. Never force your baby to eat more just to finish off the jar or cup. Allow your baby the chance to tell you when she is full.
What time of day is best for beginning solid feeding?
If your baby is drinking formula, the best time to feed him is 1 or 2 hours after a bottle. If you baby is breastfeeding, you want to start solids after breastfeeding. You want to avoid times when your baby is cranky or hungry. Find a time, when both you and your baby are relaxed and willing to play the "new solids" game. Remember solids are supplemental calories and nutrients and should not take the place of breast milk or formula.
My baby won't eat! What do I do?
Try again in a few days. The first foods are usually banana and rice cereal so try both of them. Your responsibility is to provide the food. Let your baby decide if she wants to eat it.
How do I avoid food allergies?
Please read our Foods to Avoid page. The best way to avoid allergies is to introduce age appropriate foods. In addition, wait 2-3 days before introducing a new food to ensure that you know which food is causing a reaction if there is one.
Does my baby need to drink anything with her meal?
No, your baby should be getting all of her liquids from formula or breast milk. But, it is nice to start them getting used to drinking from a cup. We suggest using a straw cup instead of a sippy cup to practice drinking. Sippy cups may interfere with speech development. Or course, you can skip the straw and just use a regular cup, though that might be pretty messy.
When should I switch to chunkier foods?
As your baby grows and develops teeth, you should move to chunkier consistencies. There should be a gradual change in texture from pureed, to minced, to diced, and to family table foods. The lumps should be soft and small enough that your baby will not choke if swallowed whole. Chewing is a learned skill and you should not wait to long to introduce foods with textures. Your baby may refuse chunkier foods if you wait too long to introduce them.
My baby is a picky eater, what should I do?
It may take 10 to 15 times before a baby will be interested in a food that you want to serve. Keep trying and respect your baby's need to control what goes in her mouth. Do not force your baby to eat anything she is not interested in. Just try to feed it to her at another time.
Is there an optimum schedule for feeding my baby?
Yes, you want her to eat when you are eating. The less amount of time spent cooking and cleaning the better! By the time she is one year old, she should be eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2 snacks per day. As she gets bigger, time her eating with yours and feed her what you are eating. This means that you will have to eat fruits and vegetables too!
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The information on this site is not a substitute for your pediatrician's advice
As with any health concern, please consult your pediatrician regarding your specific child. BabyFood101 recognizes that there are many differing opinions on the subject matter we cover. This information is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or for your own opinions. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition