Introducing Baby Food – When Should You Do It?

During the first year of parenthood, your baby food has been relatively simplistic: you either breastfed or you fed your baby with bottle formula. However, now that your bouncing baby has reached the teething stage, you’re starting to feel as though it might be time to slowly introduce solid foods. But when is the right time to start introducing semi-solid and solid baby food into your darling’s diet? Is there a recommended period of time, or should the decision be made based upon your own parental instincts?

There’s no end to the conflicting answers awaiting inquiring parents regarding the issue of introducing baby food. It seems as though every nutritional and medical expert has a differing opinion on the matter; yet there are some underlying congruities that can help you to determine when your baby is ready for semi-solid and solid baby food.

While many health experts claim that you can start your baby on solid foods as soon as four months old, the World Health Organization (WHO), the health committee of the United Nations, recommends that infants shouldn’t start eating solid foods until they’re six months of age. Other influential health organizations, such as UNICEF and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have similar recommendations as WHO regarding the issue of the right time to introduce bb 食品

So why have doctors and health experts decided on the sixth month marker as the appropriate time to start introducing solid baby food? Simple: once your baby reaches the six month milestone, he will have the necessary physical developments needed to swallow and digest solid food. Before six months, your baby will have a very sensitive gag reflex that can be triggered by solid foods in addition to an overwhelming instinct to continue tongue-thrusting, which makes solid foods extremely difficult to consume. Add to the fact that health experts have only recently unearthed research to support the theory that early feeding can increase the risk of obesity, and you have some very powerful reasons to withhold solid foods until your baby reaches six months in age.

Of course, it’s important for each and every parent to make the decision to introduce solid foods based on your baby’s needs. To determine if your baby is ready for solid baby food, answer the following questions; if you’ve answer “yes” to most of the questions, your baby is ready to move on to more solid foods:

· Has your baby become more curious about your own foods? For example, does your baby try to grab food off of your own plate or watch you eagerly as you eat your own dinner? Babies use instinct to move from breast milk to solid food, so watch your baby’s behavior carefully for these signs.
 
· Has your baby become dissatisfied with breast milk or infant formula? Does your baby become hungrier more quickly than usual? If so, your baby’s precious tummy needs more substantial food in order to satiate her appetite!
 
· Does your baby exert more control over his body? For example, can your baby easily hold up his head or turn it away? This is crucial when deciding if your baby is ready for solid baby food, since better head control will help him swallow food easily and refuse food once he becomes too full.
 
· Does your baby wake up frequently throughout the night, whereas before she would sleep soundly? This can be a good indication that she’s ready for more solid foods, since breast milk or baby formula isn’t keeping her satiated during the night. Be careful, however, as this can also be symptomatic of your baby’s uncomfortable teething process.
 
So if your bundle of joy is ready for solid baby food, what’s an appropriate food that’s not only easy to eat, but will be easy on his delicate digestive system as well?
 
Nutritional and medical researchers recommend that parents start out with single grain carbohydrates, such as baby rice or baby oatmeal. These semi-solid foods won’t pose a challenge for babies to swallow, but will still satiate a powerful appetite. Puree fruits and vegetables also can be introduced at this time, since it’s a great way to ensure that your baby continues getting the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that she needs to grow up healthy and strong. 
 
If your baby has trouble with the baby rice or oatmeal, try mixing a tablespoon with breast milk or formula to make a more liquid consistency. Don’t forget to use a rubber-encased spoon, as common metal cutlery can irritate your baby’s sensitive gums – and since she’s likely going through the teething process, this can be quite painful for your darling angel!

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