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Be Confident Introducing Solid Foods to your Infant
Are you a new mom who is worried about when and how to introduce your baby to solid foods? This may seem like an easy thing to figure out but it can be a tough decision for a lot of new moms. Don’t fret. Your concern makes you a good mother. Knowing that is the first step towards having the confidence that you need to take your baby through transitions like this with ease.
Remember first and foremost that you’re a smart woman. You have a college degree, you balance a sense of independence with your family life and you are confident in discussing a range of different topics with others. So why is it that you falter so much when it comes to the transitions that your baby is going through? Introducing solid foods to your infant seems like something that should be relatively easy but you feel a bit overwhelmed by the process. Don’t worry; you’re not the only mother to experience insecurity when it comes to making the transition to solid foods. In fact, this insecurity just confirms that you’re a smart mom.
A smart mom is concerned about the health of her baby. You want to make sure that you’ve done all of the research that you can to make informed decisions about moving your child in to this next stage of life. You’re not only concerned about the timing of introducing solid foods to your baby but also about choosing the right foods to maximize your baby’s health. You don’t want to make any wrong choices when it comes to what you put into your baby’s body and when you do it. Luckily, other mothers have expressed this concern before you and medical professionals have come together to create some basic guidelines to assist you in making these decisions.
The general consensus amongst professionals is that babies should not begin eating solid foods until they are about four months old. Parents are often advised to wait until six months to begin the food introduction. At that time, it is wise to introduce just a few solid foods into your baby’s diet. This begins with rice cereal, fruits and soft vegetables. You should hold off on meats and dairy products until your child is nearing one year in age. These products are rough on their bodies and they aren’t good for babies who don’t have teeth yet. By introducing these foods on a graduated basis over the course of approximately six months, you will assist your baby in the healthy digestion of new foods. And this gives you time to think about whether or not you even want your baby to eat animal products. It’s not something that you have to worry about right now; it’s something that you can take your time to think over as you begin introducing new solid foods to your baby.
As you begin to introduce solid foods to your infant, you should stick with just a few basic items. However, you can combine these items to bring new tastes to your baby’s palette. For example, the six month old baby is ready to begin eating rice cereal, apples, bananas, avocado and squash. You can provide these to your baby as single foods to begin with. As your baby begins to eat these foods on a regular basis, you can make combined dishes such as rice cereal with apples and bananas for breakfast and an avocado / squash blend for lunch. This develops your baby’s appetite and prepares him or her for the next stage of introducing more diverse foods. Starting simply and then moving to more complex meals just makes sense. Realizing this might help you to feel more comfortable about your ability to navigate this new stage with your baby.
Although it’s important to know which foods to introduce when (see chart in the links below), you do have some flexibility in this area. There are a few key foods that you should avoid. Anything that is difficult to chew (peanut butter, raw carrots) or which is small and slippery (grapes, hot dogs bites) should be left out of your baby’s diet. This is for the obvious reason that you don’t want your baby to choke or to suffer trying to chew foods that require a more grown-up mouth with a set of teeth. Citrus, honey, eggs and dairy should also be postponed until the baby is older for reasons that relate to the baby’s ability to handle these foods with proper digestive abilities. Outside of these major limitations, you can pick and choose foods based on your intuition. The key is to introduce foods gradually and give your baby a chance to get used to them.
Pay attention to how your baby reacts to the new foods that you provide. This will help you to hone your sense of what is right and wrong when it comes to introducing new foods. That’s because your baby is going to have a good sense of what is right and wrong for his or her new budding baby. Trust your baby. And most importantly, trust yourself. You’re a smart mom. You can handle bringing new foods to your child’s diet without harming his or her health. See the resources in the links below for additional guidelines to aid you in this transition. Remember that you can always talk to other moms and do more research to increase your own confidence in getting through this tricky stage of your baby’s early life.