Introducing Solids To Your Baby: The Basics

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By Kori Ellis at AllParenting.com

Introducing solid foods to your baby can be fun for both of you, but what do you need to know? You should always consult your pediatrician before starting your baby on any solids. Here’s the lowdown on how and when to start transitioning from an exclusively breast milk or formula diet

Is my baby ready?

Try spooning baby food into a six-week-old’s mouth and what happens? It comes right back out. While this may make for adorable baby photos, there is actually a reflex that prevents young babies from eating solids. Sometime between the ages of 4 to 6 months most babies lose this reflex and gain the ability to properly swallow solids. Your baby should be able to sit well on her own and have good head control. She may show more interest in the foods you are eating, and still seem hungry after finishing a bottle or nursing.

The menu

The most common first solid food is rice cereal, thinned with breast milk or formula. Other infant cereals may be a mixture of more than one grain, and isolating individual foods helps you determine if your baby is allergic. Fruits and vegetables are next, followed by pureed meat. Allow several days between new food introductions to make certain your baby isn’t allergic. Avoid cow’s milk and honey for the first year.

When your baby is about nine months old, introduce small finger foods such as ripe banana pieces, dry cereal or pieces of well-cooked pasta.

Pre-chewed?

Giving solid foods to your baby is nothing new, but Alicia Silverstone took it to a new level when she posted video of herself pre-chewing food and feeding it to her son Bear from her own mouth. “I fed Bear the mochi and a tiny bit of veggies from the soup … from my mouth to his. It’s his favorite … and mine,” she says. “He literally crawls across the room to attack my mouth if I’m eating.” Pre-chewing is relatively uncommon in the U.S. and not recommended by health care professionals.

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