Time flies by when your baby is in its growing stage. Before you know it, it's time for you to prepare yourself for the next journey and challenges. Their nutritional requirement changes, and so do their taste buds. These changes require careful consideration to avoid overwhelming the baby. This blog will discuss how to introduce solid foods into your baby’s diet and what to keep in mind.
Before we begin...
What are solid foods?
Any solid substance that provides nutritional benefits to the individual consuming it is known as solid food. The most common types of solid food fed to 6-month-old babies are fruits, cereals, vegetables, grains, curd, cheese, etc. For the ones who are meat-eaters, meat is introduced to their diet.
An effective diet plan includes elements from all food groups. Once this is ready, your focus should be on how to feed this to your toddler.
How to introduce solid food to my baby?
It is recommended to continue breastfeeding for at least six months. After this period, you can feed solid food to your kids. The process is more about teaching swallowing and chewing solid foods. Along with this, you must ensure the food is soft and chewable.
In the beginning, you’ll have to set a routine for your toddler. Provide your kid a bottle of milk in the morning or breastfeed them. Repeat this process before meals and even before bedtime if necessary. In between, prepare different mixtures of food and feed your baby.
You’ll have to experiment with different types of food to see what suits your baby’s taste buds. All the babies tend to have different food preferences that you’ll slowly have to figure out.
Here are a few tips for preparing the food for your baby:
1. One of the most important things is to make the food soft and chewable. The texture must be soft enough not to hurt the toddler’s gums. Hard texture food can hurt the kid, making them resent solid foods.
2. The fruits and veggies you add to your food preparation should be mashed properly. Kids have difficulty swallowing large chunks of solid food, so mashing avoids them.
3. When you use cereals and grains for your porridge, you must mix it properly with water, milk, or breastmilk. Blend the ingredients in a smooth paste and feed your toddler.
4. There are some fruits and vegetables that are hard, for example, carrot, that must be boiled and cooked first to make it chewable. You can choose to mash it or blend it into a puree.
5. If you feed meat to your toddler, ensure to remove any traces of bones, skin, and even fat to avoid any discomfort for your kid. It goes without saying to get meat from hygienic places.
6. If you garnish the porridges with fruits or serve them separately to your toddler, you must cut them into tiny pieces. Remember that your child is learning to chew, so you must do everything possible to make the process easier.
7. While you cut the fruits, remove the seeds from the pieces or slices. Also, some fruits have hard pits so take care to remove them.
8. Grapes, berries, and other small spherical fruits look as easy to swallow but are not. Your baby can find it challenging to swallow them and choke on them if things go south. It is best to cut them into smaller pieces and serve the toddler.
9. Foods like hot dogs and sausages are best served when you cut them into small thin strips. Generally, kids find it challenging to swallow round pieces, and chances are they get stuck in windpipes.
10. Avoid adding any spices or chilies to the baby food. Keep the food bland and simple.
As parents, you must know that the process of changing your baby’s diet will be slow and require your patience. Your child will take time to become comfortable with new sensations like being fed with a spoon and decide on their preferred tastes. Your child might create a mess when having their meals, so you must be prepared for it. You must never let your guard down and note any allergic reactions that might erupt due to specific food consumption.
Overall, this process will allow you to experiment and learn new things as parents. Keep calm and remember that you won’t get everything right, but you will do your best!