(This first appeared on The Standard Newspaper on Sun 27th Nov 2016)
It is the most exciting thing mothers await anxiously, feeding solid foods. Well, I hate to break it to you but it is not all fun and games. Knowing what to feed them, deciding between blending or mashing, baby spitting or refusing the meticulously prepared food and crying over the spit up food are some of the reasons why you will be over the excitement faster than expected.
To make the introduction easier, there are plenty of tips available on introducing solid foods with different approaches but they have a lot in common. This is what I have learned.
Things to consider before introducing solid foods
- Unless it is unavoidable don’t introduce solid food before 6 months. Bear in mind that breast milk or formula are still their source of much needed nutrients and the additional food you will introduce are only supplementary.
- Make sure that the baby can sit supported and control the head well.
- Observe if the baby is interested in food(following your hand or swallowing when you eat).
Once you are ready
- Start with simple grains like rice or oatmeal cereals as well as maize porridge as they are easy to digest. They are also hypoallergenic, highly unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. Then gradually move to fruits and cooked foods.
- Introduce slowly – few spoons a day and one food at a time. Giving the same food for a few days will help you observe an allergic reaction, which can be rash around the mouth, vomiting or diarrhea.
- You can start giving water after meals now. It will help in avoiding constipation.
- Avoid fruits with citric acid(oranges, pineapples) for the first few months.
- It is always advisable to consult your pediatrician before introducing new food.