Starting baby on solids is important. It is a step where your baby begins to consume food other than breast milk or formula. Therefore, you have to spend some time to prepare yourself and your baby before start giving your baby her first solid food.
When can you give your baby solid foods?
You need to breastfeed your baby until she is 6 months old. It is irreplaceable since breast milk is the healthiest intake your baby can have. Her digestive system is also not ready if you give her solids before that age. Thus, it is best to give start giving your baby solid food at the age of 6 months.
However, age is not the only indication. You have to look at her physical condition. Your baby has to be able to sit, turn her head, and chew. In addition, she has to have the reflex to push out anything other than liquid from her mouth.
Giving your baby solids doesn’t mean you change her diet completely. It is a work in progress. Solid food only acts as a complementary consumption. You still need to breastfeed her until she is reaching 9 or 12 months.
What baby food to start with?
There is no strict rule about what food you should give first to your baby. However, you should consider that this is her first time. Something that is small and easy to digest will be good. Usually, you can start with rice cereal.
Rice cereal contains iron and zinc that your baby needs when reaching 6 months. It is because, at that age, the production of iron and zinc becomes less in breast milk. In addition, breast milk is perceived as the best food as it doesn’t cause your baby allergy. You can simply mix rice cereal and breast milk to feed your baby.
However, the trend is now shifting and people seem to discover more. People start to leave rice cereal because there’s no medical proof that starting solids with specific food has advantages. People presumption that rice cereal is easier to digest becomes outdated as first food recommendation.
In fact, at the age of 6 months, your baby’s salivary glands don’t have the enzyme that allows her to digest complex grains yet.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that you have to avoid wheat completely. You can still give her rice cereal if she’s able to tolerate other food.
What God has provided you on this earth is always the best option. Fruits, vegetables, and meats are good for your baby. But you have to prepare it carefully.
If you want to give her fruits, you can use bananas cut into small pieces, poached apples or pears, and avocado.
As for vegetables, you can use carrots, green beans, or peas that are cooked until soft and tender.
Alternatively, you can choose more natural food such as butternut squash, zucchini or sweet potatoes.
What food not to give your baby?
Even though it’s healthy, some food is not meant to be consumed by your baby yet. You can’t give her anything just because you feel you have to. Below is some food that you cannot give your baby until she can digest it properly.
Honey contains inactive bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. If consumed by a baby, the bacteria can grow and cause intoxication. Unlike an adult, a baby’s digestive system is not well-developed to kill the bacteria. Hence, causing botulism.
Almost all food prohibition for your baby is related to her digestive system, including cow milk.
There are protein and minerals with high concentrations found in cow’s milk that can burden your baby’s kidneys.
Also, cow’s milk is nothing compared to breast milk. It doesn’t have proper iron, vitamin C, and other nutrients that your baby needs. Cow’s milk also doesn’t contain fat that is good for growing babies.
However, if your baby is older than 1 year and has a better digestive system, you can give her milk as a supplement.