Whether the two of you like it or not, your baby will eventually need to start eating solid foods, and you'll both need to get used to it. Chewing and swallowing all sorts of complex foods is part of growing up, and you'll eventually need to put the breast, formula bottle, and puree spoon behind you. When it comes time to start acclimating your baby to real food, you'll want to know everything you can about making this transition.
When Is Your Baby Ready to Start Eating Solids?
In the olden days, parents didn't start feeding their kids solid food until they were at least a year old. However, parenting experts of recent generations have accelerated this timetable to a significant degree, and it is now considered acceptable to start acclimating your kid to food when they are between 4-6 months old.
If you want, you can start feeding your baby solid foods as soon as they are four months old. However, your baby might have trouble handling anything other than purees at this age, and some traditionalists suggest that you stick to formula or breastmilk for the entire first year. In the end, it's up to you, and sometime after the four-month mark and before your baby's first birthday is probably an ideal time to start acclimating your infant to big people food.
What's the Best Way To Start Your Baby Of On Solids?
When you're first helping your baby get used to solid food, it's best not to beat around the bush. Instead of trying to trick them into eating solids or presenting this type of food in any other manner that might confuse your infant, you should place a little bit of solid food on their high chair tray and see what they do with it.
Chances are that almost all of the food will end up on the floor or your baby's face, but they will have fun with the experience, and they'll start to understand that something new is on the menu. If your baby is upset by the sudden appearance of new food, it's always possible to substitute a puree halfway through the meal.
Best Preparation Methods
As you prepare your baby's first finger meal, you'll want to keep in mind that most babies use their whole hands to pick up food. While your first urge may be to present food in tiny bits, this preparation method can prove frustrating to your infant. On the other hand, food that is cut into strips that measure about 2 inches long is easy for your baby to grab and manipulate to their mouth.
You'll want to make sure that the finger food you prepare for your baby is soft enough to chew without many teeth, but remember that food that is too soft will disintegrate when handled. Finding a happy medium between mushy and hard can take practice, but your baby will thank you for the effort.
The Difference Between Gagging and Choking
Most parents experience some degree of trepidation upon presenting their babies with their first finger meals. This trepidation can turn to downright horror when they hear what sounds like choking when their baby has trouble swallowing. However, the sound of gagging that you might hear your baby make isn't usually anything to worry about; on the contrary, it is a sign that your little one is trying hard to swallow their meal. It's only when your baby becomes silent and stops breathing that you'll need to take swift action.
What Are the Best Finger Foods For Your Baby?
When your baby moves on to finger foods, they'll enter a whole new world of dietary choices. Gone will be the days of mushy peas and banana purees, and it will be exciting to share in your baby's first experiences of new flavors and textures. Here are some of the best foods you can prepare for your baby during this stage:
Vegetables For Your Baby To Enjoy
Steamed broccoli is a great option if it is offered in skinny and flat florets. You can also try raw bell peppers cut into strips, steamed zucchini, or steamed asparagus. Steamed cauliflower florets are another great option, and tender sweet potato fries are a time-honored hit.
Fruits For Your Baby To Enjoy
Strips of chopped apples are easy for babies to hold, and ripe peaches are also great when served in strips. If they can hold it up, you can feed a peeled banana to your baby whole, and watermelon, cantaloupe, mango strips, pitted cherries, and quartered strawberries are also great choices.
Proteins Your Baby Will Love
Grilled chicken strips are great for introducing your baby to meat, and the same goes for turkey. Sliced cheese is easy to chew, and scrambled eggs are a perfect option if your baby has mastered the pincer grip.