What to know before introducing solid food into your baby’s diet
Introduction to solid food is an important milestone in every baby’s life. At this time, even if you have a meal plan in your mind, you might still be confused about the best food options for your baby. Here are some suggestions on how and when to introduce different food items and food groups to your baby’s diet and what could be the best baby food that is easy on the digestive system yet full of nutritional value.
Remember a baby’s taste buds are quite different than those of an adult’s. A baby’s food items do not require salt or high salt additives, which are found in items like stocks or sauces. Therefore, you should not introduce your baby to food that comes with any additives, preservatives or chemicals. Try to give them as many natural foods as possible.
Any kind of refined sugar or even honey should not be given to babies who are less than 12 months of age. If you want to give any sweet food item, just give them a whole fruit (which can be mashed) or even yogurt and custard with fruits.
Technically, organic foods must be free of conventional parasites, chemical fertilizers, hormones, and antibiotics, but unfortunately, not all organic branded foods are healthy. So, you should always opt for only certified organic food brands.
Initially, you can try giving a single food ingredient as it is more convenient and allows the baby adapt to it. Then gradually, you can use a food processor or simply mash foods to prepare a healthy meal. It is one of the simplest ways to feed the baby and is the best food for infants.
Prepare the food as you do normally for the whole family, but just set aside the baby’s portion before adding spices or sauces.
There are many options in complementary foods with added nutrients available in the market today. And they are available for different age groups too – like, 6-month baby food, 7-month baby food, 8-month baby food, 1-year baby food, and so on. They are beneficial for the baby because they come in handy and contain added essential micronutrients which are important for your child's complete growth.
Now that you understand what food to give and how to give it to a baby, you must be eagerly waiting to start giving solid foods to your baby. But you have to take care of some important things and take precautions to avoid choking hazards. Avoid giving whole nuts and popcorns to your baby and never overfill their mouth with food. This could pose serious choking hazards.
Always pay attention to the seating position of your baby while he is eating. Make sure that your baby sits properly while eating and is under supervision. Even when you are feeding him low choking risk foods, you must monitor his posture.
Hygiene in food
For your baby’s wellbeing, food should be prepared and fed in a hygienic manner. Proper sterilisation of utensils is also crucial. Proper sterilization of spoons, bowls, bottles etc. greatly reduces the risk of gastrointestinal infections in babies. The same is applicable in the case of solid foods. So, before feeding your baby any solid food, just take note of a few important things:
- Always clean utensils while serving food to the baby. For infants, its best to sterilize the utensils.
- Properly refrigerate frozen baby foods as they require certain temperature conditions to stay safe and require careful handling.
- If you are serving packaged food, then always follow instructions provided by the manufacturer for storage and heating.
- If you are heating food in a microwave, then always stir it properly and check the temperature before serving to the baby.
- Always discard food which was left over from a previous meal. Do not offer it again after some time.
Introducing solid food into your baby’s diet is a very exciting time for mothers. Just make sure you know what to do and what to avoid so that your baby is healthy and happy. The above list of tips should make this process smoother and an enjoyable experience for both mothers and babies.