Your Baby's First Meal
When do I Start My Baby on Solid Foods?
The answer to that question is around 6 months. When your baby is young, her body is designed to have breast milk, or a similar substitute, because breast milk is the best source of nutrient's for your baby. If you start your baby on solid foods too early, she will be missing out on the vital nutrient's she needs in the early stages.
There are several reasons why you should only start your baby on solid foods when they are 6 months:
- Your baby's digestive system isn't able to cope with solid foods until she reaches about 6 months. She lacks some important enzymes that help digest carbohydrates and fats.
- Your baby's throat muscles aren't developed to swallow properly. Until the age of 6 months, a baby's natural reaction is to push her tongue forward, instead of moving the food towards the throat to swallow.
- Your baby needs to have a way of telling you that she is full. When a baby is breast feeding he usually falls a sleep, when feeding on solids she will turn her head, and this only develops around the 6 month mark.
Signs of Readiness for Solid Foods
You can tell your little one is ready to start on solid food when:
- She is about 6 months old and weighs twice her birth weight.
- She can sit with support and can lean forward.
- She has control over her head and neck muscles and can turn her head to refuse food.
- She has stopped the extrusion reflex, (sticking her tongue out), when you put a spoon in her mouth.
- She is drinking at least 32-40 ounces of formula, and still wants more, or you are breast feeding her 8-10 times a day.
- Shows interest in others eating around her.
- She wakes in the middle of the night when she used to sleep through.
Which Foods Should be First?
Foods that are easily digested, and have the least chance of causing an allergic reaction. You should try and consult with your pediatrician about what foods should be first.
It is also important to remember to try and keep the foods as liquid as possible, as your baby will not to be able to eat any "solid" foods until she has a full set of teeth.
You will be surprised how little you need to feed your baby at it's first meal, in fact, often as little as 2 teaspoons!
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