It is recommended to wait until 6 months to start solid foods, but it is possible to start as soon as 4 months as long as, certain growth and developmental stages have been achieved. At this time, you can gradually start introducing, soft baby foods in addition to infant formula or breast milk. As infants generally have few teeth, feeding your baby soft foods is important to help reduce the risk of choking. According to a study, released by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, babies who start eating solid foods at 4 months old had a reduced risk of allergies. It is important that the baby can sit upright, holds their head up, and shows signs of interest in solid food.
Baby is ready to start other foods when he/she shows these symptoms:
Baby seems hungry earlier than usual.
Baby can sit up without help and support, and has good control of his/her neck muscles.
Holds food in his/her mouth without pushing it out on his/her tongue right away.
Shows interest in food when others are eating.
Opens his/her mouth when he sees food coming his way.
Once you’ve consulted your child’s peadiatrician, you’re ready to bring on baby’s first foods. New eaters only need about; one to two tablespoons of food, so always keep portions as small as possible. Hence you are suggested whether to include or not, some specific ingredients in your babies diet based on your babies appetite, allergies, intolerance, likes and dislikes.
Gradually introduce baby to a different taste, texture and way of swallowing. No point over feeding your child with too many new foods all at once, as it will surely lead to rejection. At this stage, solids are in addition, and not as substitutes for the breast or bottle. When your child is getting older and eating solid food, make sure they are getting the right amount of the essential nutrients and vitamins. Continue feeding your baby breast milk or formula as usual, and then;
Start with baby cereal:
Mix one tablespoon of a single-grain, iron fortified baby cereal with four tablespoons of breast milk or formula. Many parents start with rice cereal, even if you notice that, the cereal barely thickens, resist the temptation to serve it straight from a bottle. Instead, help your baby sit upright and serve the cereal, with a small spoon once or twice a day. For variety, you might offer single-grain oatmeal or barley cereals.
Offer pureed vegetables and fruits:
When your baby masters cereal, slowly and gradually introduce pureed vegetables and fruits. Always offer single ingredient foods that are sugar free and salt free and wait three to five days between each new food. In case your baby has a reaction to any particular food such as rash, vomiting or diarrhoea, you’ll know the culprit.
If you would like to give your baby fresh homemade food, use a food processor or blender and mash softer foods with a fork. All fresh food should be cooked with no added salt or seasoning. You can feed your baby mashed raw bananas but most of the other vegetables and fruits should be properly cooked until soft. Refrigerate any food you do not use, and always make sure to look for any signs of spoilage before giving it to your baby. Freshly prepared foods are not bacteria free; hence they will surely spoil more quickly than food from a can or jar.
Avoid feeding these foods to babies:
Don’t give baby anything that could get stuck in her/his throat, so avoid hard foods like popcorn and nuts and avoid sticky foods as well for example peanut butter.
Any round shaped foods like carrots slices or grapes ideally should be cut into quarters.
Avoid giving honey to your baby, until he/she is year old and above, due to the risk of (botulism) food poisoning.
Incase there are any drinks or foods to which your family members are sensitive or allergic, consult your health care provider before offering them to your baby.
4 months to 6 months:
Soft cooked cereal like cream of wheat (suji), sago or rice 1-2 spoons up to half bowl, washed dal or khichdi ,
Mashed potato ,
mashed and pureed soft vegetables,
Offer pureed cooked fruits, very ripe mashed fruits (such as banana(1/4 to 1/2),
Soft boiled egg 1 to 2 spoons.
6 months to 9 months:
The above foods can be given up to ½ -1bowl. In addition you can offer: