Feeding baby his or her first spoon of solid food is such a milestone. As a new parent, how do we embrace and embark on this exciting new beginning with baby?
These tips might be helpful to you!
Introduce a variety of foods
Your baby is more adventurous than you think. When preparing baby’s first food, rather than limiting yourself and baby to certain groups of food such as cereals or grains, get creative by exploring and experimenting with a variety of food. Choose easily digestible food, such as fresh produce like pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, apple, beetroot, banana etc. Prepare these foods in the right texture for your little one. We suggest you start off with a thin and smooth puree, and gradually adjust to a thicker texture. When you expose your child to a variety of food, you let him or her explore flavours and receive a myriad of nutrients.
Feed them often, in small quantities
The World Health Organisation recommends that babies 6-8 months of age be given 2-3 meals a day, in addition to breast milk or formula milk. Do not expect your little one to eat a lot in the beginning, start with 1 meal a day and slowly increase the frequency of feeding solids accordingly, observing how your child adapts to this new activity. Most babies might start with 1-2 spoonfuls as they work at getting used to new flavours, you can slowly increase food intake to 3 meals a day.
Keep introducing rejected foods
Even if your baby rejects the solids you first introduced, do not give up! As your child is still discovering and learning new flavours, it may take 10-15 attempts introducing baby to a new food before they totally embrace what you shared.
Avoid adding sugar and salt
When preparing baby’s first food, the general rule of thumb is to avoid adding salt and sugar until they reach the age of 1.
Introducing added sugar too early could have babies develop a sweet tooth, which could negatively impact their health in the long run. Added salt may load your baby with too much sodium and in turn burden the kidneys. Condiments like soy sauce, MSG or ketchup contain ‘hidden’ sodium and are best not considered.
Nevertheless, baby’s food need not be bland. Explore natural herbs and spices to add flavour and aroma to baby’s food. Some baby-friendly herbs and spices include cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, turmeric, ginger, coriander and cumin.
Watch out for unsafe food
Infants, with their immature digestive and immune systems, are the most vulnerable when it comes to food borne diseases. Due to the risk of botulism, avoid feeding honey to baby before they reach 1 year old. While cow’s milk is generally high in protein and minerals, but deficient in iron, some infants may not be able to digest it properly. As such, try introducing cow’s milk only after the first year. Avoid nuts, popcorn and dried fruits like raisins and cranberries which have a hard texture, these are choking hazards.
Information adapted from:
- Tiny Reads by Raised Real: Do’s and Don’ts of Feeding Your Baby Solid Food (https://www.raisedreal.com/blog/dos-donts-feeding-baby-solid-food/)
- Healthline- Read the Label: Your Child’s Baby Food May Have Too Much Sugar (https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-you-can-tell-if-your-childs-baby-food-has-too-much-sugar#Developing-a-sweet-tooth-early)