Introducing new food is one of the greatest and most important milestones of a baby’s development. It provides the baby with the required nutrients, but it also helps them learn about different foods’ tastes and textures. There’s a full world of flavours to explore from juicy mango to creamy avocado to savoury cheese.
The World Health Organization, recommends feeding a baby with breast milk or formula exclusively for the first six months after birth; they also recommend introducing new foods into the mix after six months. However, it is advisable to nurse your young one before giving other foods since they are more likely to be interested if they aren’t ravenously hungry. But how do you go about all this?
Time it right
The American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology, advises on introducing new foods by the 6th month after birth. It’s a good idea not to exceed six months without doing so, since by then, milk alone wouldn’t be sufficient to meet the baby’s nutritional needs. Starting earlier is also ill-advised because the digestive system isn’t yet developed enough to handle new food.
- Baby should be fed exclusively with breast milk or formula for at least six months
- Baby should be able to sit unsupported before weaning
- Baby’s tongue-thrust reflex should have disappeared before weaning
Besides the six months factor, another important thing is determining whether your young one is developmentally ready to receive new food. There are various clues you can look out for. Firstly, find out if your baby can hold their head up well and sit without any support. If not, abandon the weaning plan, and wait for another month or two.
Secondly, check whether the tongue-thrust reflex is gone. You can ascertain this by putting a morsel of food into the baby’s mouth. If the food is pushed out by the tongue and still does after several attempts, then your baby is not yet ready for new food. Lastly, if the baby reaches out for nearby food, it may indicate that they are interested.
How to feed the baby
First things first, gear up the baby by putting a bib on them. You can get top quality bibs such as the long-sleeved weaning bib by Bibado online. Once you’ve geared up, pick a small spoon, preferably a plastic one since it’s much friendlier on tender gums. Begin by placing some food on the baby’s tongue gently.
Start with small food amounts and gradually increase it to satisfy the baby’s hunger. In the beginning, expect a lot of food to be pushed out. Eventually, your baby will get used to this, and they will respond with their mouth wide open. If the baby doesn’t appear to appreciate a new food, try offering it again next time to see the response.
Additionally, always watch out for allergic reactions that may come as a result of weaning. If you try a new food and you notice that the baby gets upset, wait for some days and try it again. An allergic reaction may come in the form of a runny nose or a rash. You can also consult your nutritionist for advice on weaning with allergenic foods.