For the first six months all your little one needs in terms of nourishment is breastmilk or formula. It has all the vitamins and nutrients he needs to grow up happy and healthy. Between four and six months, bubba might show developmental signs of being ready for “real” food.
Things to look out for to decide if your mini-me is ready: Being able to hold his head up and sit with minimal support, having outgrown his tongue-thrust reflex (which makes him push food out of his mouth) and showing interest when you’re eating.
Introducing new textures into your tyke’s diet can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. The key is to not stress. Remember that during the first year solids are just for fun and only meant to complement milk, not replace or take precedence over it. Here’s how to get your sweetie onto the right dietary track.
START WITH IRON-FORTIFIED BABY RICE “This will least likely trigger an allergy reaction,” explains Dr Wendy Sinnathamby, a specialist in paediatrics at the Raffles Children’s Centre. Feed him the same thing three to four days in row to ensure he isn’t allergic to it. “Look out for allergy signs like a rash, swelling of lips or eyes, diarrhoea or vomitting,” says Dr Sinnathamby. If the coast is clear, gradually introduce other cereals containing wheat and oat.
MIX One or two teaspoon of cereal with some breastmilk or formula. This will encourage junior to eat it as he’s familiar with the taste and smell of his milk.
KEEP THE TEXTURE RUNNY So that he can consume and digest it easily. “You can move onto finely minced and soft food before progressing to lumpy foods by 9 months of age,” adds Dr Sinnathamby.
USE A SPOON With a silicone tip as it’ll protect your peewee’s gums no matter how hard he chomps on it. Even better, one that’s flat to make it easier for you to scrape away the stray bits around his mouth and sneak them back in. Also, avoid mixing cereals into your baby’s bottle as this will prevent him from making the connection that food is to be eaten while sitting up and from a spoon.
OFFER SOLIDS ONCE A DAY Nurse or bottle-feed your young ’un first, then give him cereal. At this point your peewee is only going to take a few mouthfuls, so don’t push him any further if he’s not showing interest. If he’s completely unenthusiastic about it, give it to him on alternate days or wait a week before trying again.
ENCOURAGE SELF-FEEDING And tolerate the mess he makes! “Give him a spoon if he shows interest and feed him in between his own attempts,” suggests Dr Sinnathamby. This will not only be a great source of entertainment, but he’ll also learn to hone his pincer grasp which will come in handy when you introduce finger foods at a later stage. Always remember that feeding can be a time for bonding for the both of you!