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INTRODUCING YOUR CHILD TO SOLIDS

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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that we begin introducing solids to baby around six months of age. Prior to six month of age baby's digestive system is developing and the immune system is also strengthening.

When we introduce solids too early, the body may see these substances as foreign and kick them into the bloodstream potentially leading to food allergies. Swallowing and chewing mechanisms are also developing. So speak with your pediatrician about your infant's readiness to begin solid foods.

When your child clocks six months you'll probably start noticing signs that your baby is ready to have more than just milk, be it breast milk or formula.

You know your child is ready when he starts:

1. Holding his head up by himself.
2. He would have lost the reflex that makes him stick out his tongue automatically, meaning he is ready to learn to take more than just liquid food.
3. He will start being interested in your food, eyeing meals, and possibly reaching for your plate.

The first few weeks of starting solid foods are important for teaching your baby taste habits. Introducing a range of foods and tastes at this stage of your baby’s life may reduce the chances of your baby becoming a fussy eater later on.It's important to offer your baby savoury foods (vegetables and cereals) at this stage, so she learns to like a range of flavours.

Tips for Introducing solid food to your baby:

  • Be calm and relaxed when you start to feed your baby.
  • Make sure your child is sitting comfortably and is not too hungry.
  • Be patient. Your baby may only take a spoonful at first, but this will increase with time and practice.
  • Be prepared, all babies will make a mess as they learn to eat.
  • Stay with your child while eating to avoid accidents such as choking.
  • Try again in a day or so if your baby refuses the first time.
  • Wait several days before introducing a new food
  • Offer foods on a small, infant-sized spoon.
  • Do not feed when your child is cranky or tired.

 

Don't expect your child to eat very much at a time. Tiny tummies need tiny portions. Try offering from one spoonful or two spoonful’s of the following:

  • Pureed or mashed cooked vegetables, such as carrot, parsnip, or potato/ sweet potato.
  • Mashed or pureed fruits, such as banana, cooked apple, pear, or mango.
  • Gluten-free cereal, such as baby rice, sago, maize, cornmeal, or millet, mixed with your baby's usual milk.
  • Very soft amala, semo, wheat with ewedu + titus fish. When starting, avoid salt in food instead use crayfish (blend well to avoid sharpness and sieve) for a mild taste.
  • Indomie noodles (boil till it’s very soft) and do not put too much of the spice.
  • You can also wash some beans in hot water to remove the coat, then cook till very soft. Mash it. Add some palm oil and blended crayfish for added nutrition. Babies usually love this recipe.

Once your baby is eating fruits and vegetables and those listed above happily, you can move on to others such as:

  • Dairy foods
  • Bread
  • Rice, pasta
  • Mashed yam
  • Mashed plantain
  • Meat, eggs etc.

If you want to introduce her to vegetables slowly, you could combine them with fruits. Try carrot purée with mashed apples, or mashed sweet potato with a few well-cooked lentils. An easy meal to prepare is banana mashed with avocado. It's full of vitamins and minerals and is easy for your baby to eat. Diluted orange juice with meals will help your child’s body to absorb iron from vegetables.
Remember that you don't need to add sugar to your baby's food to encourage him to eat.

Eating is a new skill for your little one; your baby will definitely learn gradually.

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