In the previous article What to Do if Your Baby Doesn't Sleep Through Night and How to Do Baby Massage at Home, we have shared some sleeping tips towards newborn babies. This time we make a feeding guide for babies before age 1. Baby’s early food especially foods he/she was fed in year 1 is essential in the growth path of the baby. We can divide the baby’s feeding process in year 1 into 2 periods. In the early period of year 1, babies are fed only by breast milk or formula and in the later period, he starts to eat solid foods and gets more and more of them. However, here are some questions you may ask - how can I tell if my baby's ready for solid food? How should I introduce solid food to my baby and when? Don’t worry. This article will help you with these questions.
Part 1. When Can My Baby Start Eating Solid Foods?
Newborns only need breast milk or formula after they’re just born. But by ages 4 to 6 months, most babies are ready to start eating solid foods as a complement to breastfeeding or formula-feeding. During this time, babies typically stop pushing food out of their mouths by their tongues and begin to develop the coordination to move solid foods from the front of the mouth to the back for swallowing.
But it’s not just about age, you should also look for other symptoms that indicate your baby is ready to eat solid foods. For example, he or she is able to sit up with support; he is able to hold his head in a steady, upright position; he is mouthing his hands or toys; he is able to make chewing motions; he stops spitting out anything including liquids; or he is interested in what you're eating. If you have found these signs and your baby’s doctor agrees, you can begin feeding your baby solid food.
Part 2. What to Feed Baby Before Age 1?
Here we list some foods to get baby start solids. But remember, each baby is different, and there are no hard-and-fast rules anymore about what foods to feed your baby first. So it would be better to consult your baby's doctor about which solids to introduce before you feed him something new.
Just as grown-ups do, babies eat with eyes too. They’re always attracted by beautiful bright red or dusky blueberries. Serve small or chopped berries as finger foods, or mix them in the blender for a delicious puree that's as good spread on toast as it is off a spoon.
Babies' growing brains crave for DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that is important to cognitive development. Salmon is just right packed with the stuff. Feed your baby salmon at least once a week. Mash some flaked, cooked fish into a puree, or bread it and bake it for salmon nuggets - a delicious finger food for older babies.
A recent landmark study showed that feeding peanuts to babies - even those at high risk of allergies - before age one can actually prevent peanut allergies. Never give your baby whole peanuts or a spoonful of peanut butter because they are both choking hazards. Instead, you can spread a little peanut butter on toast sticks as finger foods or blend a bit into a puree. Start on peanuts after your baby has tried and tolerated other more traditional foods, and, as always, consult your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns.
4. Onions and Garlic
You can add small amounts of leeks, onion, scallions, and garlic into your baby's diet. These flavor-boosters add a mellow, savory quality to purees and chunkier baby meals when cooked. What’s more, if you want to raise an adventurous eater, it is a smart start to feed your baby food with flavor.
5. Spinach and Other Leafy Greens
Sometimes babies will refuse a new food once or twice or more with a yucky face. But that doesn't mean he won't eat it. Don't give up offering, especially when it comes to leafy greens, who are truly some of the healthiest foods on the planet but also refused by kids. Here is a guide about How to Help Baby Love Vegetables. Let your baby become accustomed to the earthy taste of kale, spinach, and chard, and you'll go a long way toward raising a more adventurous eater in the future.
If your family eats meat, you can introduce meat to your baby as first food. Iron in pork, beef, chicken, and turkey can help to replace your baby’s iron stores, which start to diminish at about 6 months of age. Beef is an ideal early food full of protein and zinc. Serve it pureed on its own or mixed with potato, sweet potato, or a green vegetable puree.
7. Whole Grains
You don’t have to limit your baby's starches to traditional rice cereal. Try cereals made from oats, brown rice, quinoa, or other whole grains, which generally have more fiber, and often more flavor.
When it comes to foods rich in iron, our minds often leap to meat, but do you know lentils are also packed with the stuff? Unlike dried beans, lentils require no soaking, and they combine well with a variety of savory add-ins, like mild curry powder, veggies, and fresh herbs. You can make lentils one of your baby’s early solid foods.
So this is our baby feeding guide for the first year. But these are not the only foods to feed your baby. You can also expand your baby's food horizons with Peaches, Zucchini, Lamb, Kale, Strawberries, Banana, Pears, Oats, Beets, Pumpkin, Cheese, Carrots, Barley, Wheat and so on... Just take it slow, don’t introduce your baby too many new foods at once, provide him with just one new food every 3 days, and watch closely for symptoms of allergic reaction.