Baby is now three months or a little older.
Everybody keeps asking if you are giving solids.
You are told you that their own babies were introduced to solids at a particular age.
The benefits of giving solids are emphasised regularly.
WHEN, WHAT, HOW MUCH, HOW FREQUENT and HOW?
The general thinking among professionals is that solids should be introduced as late as possible. Many a doctor or health visitor will advise you to start around five or six months. It is also thought that if solids are withheld until later, then fewer allergies will be experienced as the digestive system has had time to mature.
I believe that you should wait for the best time for your own baby.
Has your baby told you that he/she needs something more than milk?
A magic age is not necessarily the right time to introduce solids.
Your baby will make it very clear to you if the time for solids has arrived.
Has he/she started demanding more frequent feeds?
- Even though you are giving more per feed and feeding more frequently, baby still does not seem to be satisfied.
- Some milk brands have stronger milks for babies at various ages. You are giving the stronger formula and it still does not satisfy.
- The sleeping routine has changed and feeds are demanded around the clock.
- The weekly weight does not show the usual weight increase.
- Finally, your baby is somewhere between four to six months old.
A few of these signs, observed over a week or so, have definitely indicated to you that this baby is ready for something more than milk. It need not be all the signs.
Always remember that milk remains the most important ingredient in baby’s diet.
Whatever solids you are introducing will be a complement to the milk feed for the first six months of baby’s life
Now what are you planning to give? Stop and give it some thought.
If your baby is slightly overweight don’t just rush in and start feeding cereal. A baby who is already plump will just become plumper and the hunger signs will not all disappear. Carbohydrates/ starch form the major ingredients of cereals.
Even though cereal will have an immediate ‘filling effect’, it will not last and baby will become hungry again in a few hours.
If your baby is a little underweight then cereal is the answer for you because it will improve the weight gain.
Baby weighing within a desired range can start with either cereal or vegetables, and mum must just monitor the amount and the weight gain.
Here we again go to the individual baby.
Remember, I said ,at the beginning, that milk must play the major role in the diet? It is at this stage that that aspect becomes important.
Until the age of six months milk must be given before solids.
In this way he/she will not diminish the quantity which baby needs for growth and development.
If you are breast feeding, express about a teaspoon of milk to add to the solids.
If you are bottle feeding you can pour out the same quantity to add to the solids.
Give baby the full milk feed as usual. Wind baby.
Finish up with the one or two teaspoons of solids.
There are exceptions, but most babies will stop when they have had enough.
To start it is recommended that solids are given at one meal a day.
We are in no hurry as he/she will be on solids for a looooong time!
Always try out something new in the morning. Should baby experience any reaction to the solids ( eg cramps or winds), the reaction will have worked itself out before the evening feed.
If all goes well with the morning feed you can offer the solids at the evening meal.
Stay with this routine until baby shows signs of being hungry at other meals.
Most babies are very happy with two meals of solids per day for a few weeks.
If baby is receiving cereal at one meal then vegetables can be given at the second.
Enjoy this new adventure with your little one!
Teresa Denton ©