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Introducing Food into Your Baby's Diet

introducing food into your baby's dietDuring the first 6 months of their life, breast milk or infant formula serves as the only diet needed to help your child grow and develop. Once your child reaches 6 months and beyond, they will require additional nutrients, such as zinc and iron, to further assist with their healthy development. This is where a diet consisting of a combination of breast milk / infant formula and food is important – a topic we will be delving into further in this blog post.

When is Your Baby Ready to Start Solids?

Many parents worry that they may be starting their child on solids too early or too late. As a general rule, infants under 4 months are too young to begin eating solids, whereas children beyond 6 months should already have been introduced to solid food.

To help you determine whether your baby is ready to introduce solids into their primarily breast milk or formula diet, we’ve listed the most tell-tale signs below:

  • Increased appetite and more frequent feeding
  • Wanting to put things in their mouth
  • Showing an interest in the food eaten by others
  • Is able to sit upright when supported with good control of their head

Tips for Introducing Solids into Your Baby’s Diet

Remember, breast milk or infant formula will still serve a very important role within their diet. As you begin to introduce solids, it will serve as a great learning experience for your baby. The most important thing is that your child is learning to swallow food successfully, as well as experiencing new tastes and textures. This is all part of their healthy development.

Want to make this process easier for both yourself and your infant? Here’s some helpful tips you can implement:

  • Try one new food at a time to avoid overwhelming your baby
  • Start by letting them pick up the food or use a soft spoon for feeding
  • Hard foods may be grated, cooked or mashed
  • Begin the process with just one to two teaspoons of food, then increase the quantity to two to three tablespoons once they feel more confident. Gradually, you can build this up to three meals a day when your baby is ready
  • Sit your baby upright and firmly supported, not slumped to one side
  • Always be with your baby when they are eating

Recommended Foods for Your Baby

Up to 6 months (but not before 4 months): mashed or pureed fruit or vegetables (such as carrot, sweet potato, zucchini, potato, pumpkin, apple, pear, banana, etc.), infant rice cereals, couscous, soft cooked meat, chicken, fish, or egg.

From 7 – 8 months and beyond: well cooked meats and poultry (i.e. minced or shredded meat, chicken, fish), cooked and mashed legumes (baked beans, chickpeas), cooked egg, baby muesli, rice, pasta, bread/toast, rolled oats, couscous.

Have a question about your child’s oral development? Feel free to contact us or schedule a consultation with our friendly staff.

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