Tips for Starting Solids

When it comes to raising children, everyone has advice and opinions of their own. It’s hard to know when to heed and when to ignore. At Parents.com, Sally Kuzemchak, RD, gives you the information you need to know about when it comes to starting your baby on solids. Read on to find out which tips to follow — and which you can ignore.

Start solids around 6 months. Up until then, your baby’s digestive system can’t handle anything besides breast milk or formula. You may not want to wait much longer to start, or your baby may get so accustomed to her liquid diet that she loses interest in solid foods.

Cereal in the bottle: Don’t try it unless your pediatrician advises it. Your baby doesn’t need the extra calories that it adds to formula. Plus, thickened formula can cause babies to gag or inhale the liquid into their lungs.

One at a time: Waiting 2-3 days between offering new foods makes it easier to spot allergic reactions like diarrhea, vomiting, or rashes (although most symptoms appear within four hours of eating).

Don’t give up! Don’t stop trying a new food if your baby spits it out after tasting it. Sometimes, babies need to try a food 10 times before accepting it, so offer it again several days later — or mix it with something you know he likes.

Must we eat rice cereal? Although it is often a first food because it is unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction, there’s no reason you can’t start with something else. Try unsweetened applesauce, mashed veges, or pureed chicken.

Veges first? Some people will warn you that if you start with fruits, your baby will get used to the sweet taste and refuse to eat her veges. Turns out there’s no supporting evidence for this theory, so if you want to, offer fruit first.

No vegetarians here: Research shows that babies who eat meat earlier have a higher intake of zinc and iron, nutrients important for growth. Start with pureed chicken.

Spice it up! Babies should learn to enjoy plain fruits and veggies, but nothing bad will happen if you treat her to some mildly spicy ravioli.

For more info on babies and solids, click these links:

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