When should you start feeding baby solid food? Should you start when they are four months old, or wait until they are six months? What happens if you are raising a preemie? Do you go by the real age or the adjusted age? Do you have to worry about dentistry and the dental health of various foods? These are just a few of the questions that parents ask themselves and their doctors when they are wondering how to and when to begin feeding solid foods to their babies. Each baby is different, and they all start comfortably at a different time. There are cues you can look for, and you should always listen to your doctor.
Many can start feeding baby solid food as early as four months, but do not do this without the blessing of your doctor. Most start out with rice and then oatmeal cereal made just for baby. There are some that believe that these are not the right choices, even if they are the easiest to digest right away. Some believe that rice cereal can lead to diabetes or weight problems later in life. They skip right to simple vegetables first, like peas, green beans, or carrots. Your doctor can talk to you more about it. Your dentist may have ideas on food for tooth development. They may feel the cereal issue is a myth or they may tell you to do what you think is best.
When you start, you have to watch your baby for signs that everything is okay. Before you even consider feeding baby solid food, there are some things you should see. For one, your baby should be able to sit up with assistance rather well. They should show interest when you are eating, and they should have some hand control. They will have to master keeping the food in the mouth as the tongue pushes outwards when drinking a bottle. They should get the hang of it rather quickly, but if not, don’t push it. Put it away for a later date.
You want to watch for some types of reactions when you start feeding baby solid food. Start with just one food and feed them just a few bites of it a day for four days. See how their body responds. Some babies simple are not ready and they may develop painful gas or diarrhea. This usually means their digestive system is not ready. In some rare cases it may mean an allergy, but don’t assume that without talking to your doctor. Discontinue or try something else if you have these issues.
Allergies can happen more often with babies than in any other age group. An allergy can sometimes be temporary. Their digestive systems can not handle all foods and you have to keep your eyes open. Never introduce more than one food at once so if there is a problem, you know what the problem is. Don’t force too much at once when feeding baby solid food either. Some suggest vegetables should come before fruits or they will never eat the veggies, but others say that is not true. Ensure general nutrition and proper foods to help new teeth. Use your best judgment, and of course, talk to your doctor about your concerns and for their advice when you start and as you go along.