We all know infants will not feed on formula for their entire lives. When they reach a certain stage, you must begin giving them soft foods.
However, introducing soft foods to your baby is a delicate process. Some different approaches and techniques can sometimes contradict each other, leaving you confused. Well, let’s help you with that.
We’ll give you a few pointers on how to lead your child on their soft food journey. I hope you've got your baby spoons ready.
When do I start giving my baby soft foods?
This question has troubled many mothers and has many conflicting answers, depending on who you ask. Many say six months, others say five, and a few even say seven.
The American Association of Pediatricians recommends that “children be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula when they are about 6 months old.” Your baby’s intestines would have developed enough to handle these soft foods by then.
Soft food intake before then would put your baby at risk of developing gastrointestinal or respiratory infections.
But the thing is, every baby is unique. The timing isn’t the only factor in this equation. Another question should be, “Is my baby ready to take soft foods?” Here’s how you know:
Can your baby sit up?: Your baby should be able to sit up with minimal support, in a high chair or a feeding seat with adequate head control. That is to prevent your baby from choking on their food.
Is your baby interested in food yet? If your baby reaches for your food or opens their mouth when food comes its way, then they might be ready. But you should know that some babies even make chewing motions when they are just four months old. That doesn’t mean they are ready.
Can they swallow their food? You won't know this one until the first try. If your baby cannot get at least a little food into their mouth and throat, then you should probably wait a few more weeks.
We should probably tell you that all your baby's nutrients aren't coming from soft foods. You should keep breastfeeding or giving your baby formula up until the first year runs out. The aim of giving your baby soft foods is to get them used to different tastes and textures other than formula or breast milk.
How do I feed my baby?
It would be best if you fed your child in small amounts. Half a teaspoon is a good start; any more, and you'll find the bulk of it splattered all over the place.
Your baby might also get bored, so you should make the session fun to prevent that. You could use the age-old ‘plane coming to land’ play or find a more engaging one for your baby.
Remember that your baby’s nutrients aren’t from these soft foods, so feed them with formula or breast milk first. A hungry baby would not have any patience for your grown-up food games.
If your child rejects the food, that’s fine. It's normal. Return to the usual formula or breast milk for a while, then try again.
What should I feed my baby?
Babies are delicate, so any food you wish to give them should follow this checklist.
They should be soft. You should not include anything your baby has to chew.
They shouldn’t have any added sodium or sugar.
They should meet up with the baby’s zinc and iron needs.
They should not have cow’s milk included. Cow’s milk contains a lot of proteins that your baby’s kidney would struggle to handle at this age.
Taking the step to give your baby soft foods is a big one. Many nerves accompany this step, but it is best to do it calmly. However, if you still need any professional help, be sure to call on us. We have professionals who will walk you through this move and any other childcare aspect you need help with.
Our career nannies have passed a long selection process and are guaranteed the best for your kids. Give us a call anytime.