One of the great
challenges of new motherhood is how to feed your baby. At the beginning of your
child’s life, you must decide whether to breastfeed, bottle-feed, or use a
combination of the two methods. However, once your newborn baby matures, you
face another challenge: How can you introduce new foods into your little one’s
diet? As you might expect, there are a number of factors that go into such an
Timing is critical in
just about everything, but particularly when it comes to introducing solids into
your baby’s diet. Theoretically, you can begin solid feedings any time between
four and six months—although some pediatricians recommend that you wait even
longer. A baby’s digestive system simply cannot digest solids until he or she
approaches the half-birthday mark. If you wait until your baby is ready, you
will lessen the risk of an allergic reaction. You’ll also shorten the
transition period between spoon- and self-feeding.
There are certain
things you should look for when determining whether your baby is ready for
solids. For instance, he or she will need good head control. In addition, your
baby must sit up well and must not use the tongue to push food out of the
mouth. Your baby must be making chewing motions and demonstrate a growing
A Test Run
Consider doing a
test run with your baby. For instance, start with a little bit of dry rice
cereal mixed with formula or breast milk. The portion should be small enough to
fit on the tip of a spoon. Begin with a once-a-day feeding, and then build onto
that. Before you add any other solid foods, your baby should be able to consume
about a half-cup of cereal each day.
When is Baby Full?
There are certain
tricks you can use to determine when baby is full. For instance, if your baby
leans back in his or her
high chair, turns his or her head away from the food, and begins playing
with the spoon, he or she may not want anything more to eat.
The most important factor here is that you be patient and observe your baby’s
actions. You will know when the time is right to introduce new foods.