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It can be very confusing for parents when it comes to weaning babies to solid foods. Before 2003, parents were recommended to wean at four months. This has changed to six months after worldwide research showed that weaning before six months can be very harmful. There are several reasons for this:
Your baby may not be getting enough nutrients from breast milk or a bottle
There is a greater risk of allergies and infections
Your baby’s digestive system may not be developed enough to handle solid foods
With this new information, it really would be unwise, regardless of other people’s opinions, to introduce solids before six months.
When it’s time to introduce solids, it’s always best to start with one food. Rice cereal for babies is a perfect choice when starting to wean babies. There are quite a few on the market, but always look for baby food that has no added sugar or salt. There are also eco-friendly options on the market that are very good. Always remember to start small, using only a couple of teaspoons, and be sure to mix with breast milk or formula. Start with once a day and slowly increase the portions until your baby eats a maximum of 2 spoonfuls. Make sure the consistency is thin until your baby gets used to feeding it. Always look for any signs of allergy and check for rashes or loose bowel movements.
Once your baby can handle baby cereal easily, it’s time to slowly introduce new foods. Make sure the food is pureed so your baby can swallow it easily. You want to make this a pleasant experience for your baby, and choking and gagging won’t be fun for either of you. Simple vegetables and fruits are always a good second stage food. Wait at least 3 days before introducing each new food, as this will give you a chance to see if your baby has any allergic reactions to specific foods.
A good choice for vegetables is squash, potato, sweet potato, carrot and turnips. Most babies love fruit as it is sweet, but start with small portions as fruit can be full of sugars. Banana is always a great fruit to start with as it can be mashed easily, as well as pears and apples. A great way to organize your baby’s meals is to cook the vegetables, puree them and then put them in ice cube trays and put them in the freezer. This way, there is always food for your baby and it is much more convenient than having to make a separate meal every night.
Any meat you introduce should be pureed and chicken is always a good introduction to meat in your baby’s diet. It can also be introduced to your baby in sugar-free bread and biscuits.
Once your baby has some teeth, it will be easier to introduce less crushed foods. From around 8 months, most babies will have a few teeth, but regardless of how many they should be ready to eat anything other than pureed food. At this age they love to eat with their fingers, although keep in mind that this is a very messy stage. It can be time-consuming to get your baby to eat finger food, but allow it as it helps with hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Now you can try introducing fish, pasta, rice and well-cooked and ground meats. It is recommended that babies are not introduced to cow’s milk until after 12 months due to the risk of allergies. There are many baby custards on the market that do not contain cow’s milk and most babies love the sweet taste. There are also yogurts on the market that are made for babies from 6 months and are a good choice for dessert. Mixed with pureed fruit they are a wonderful addition to your baby’s diet.
There are certain foods that should be avoided when you start weaning babies. This includes:
any hard food that could cause choking, such as sultanas, raisins, crunchy vegetables and hard raw fruit
Any known allergy triggers such as egg whites, nuts, shellfish and gluten grains
any processed food that contains added sugars and a high salt content. Canned foods are notorious for added salt, so read labels carefully
Sugars, sugars and sugars. This includes cakes, candies, juices, soft drinks and chocolates.
What you introduce to your child from an early age will determine his diet for the rest of his life. When Weaning Babies By introducing fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods, you are giving your baby the best possible chance for a healthy life.
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