Starting Baby on Solid Foods: The When, What and Why

What Age Should You Start?
Serving your baby their first spoonful of solid food is an exciting milestone. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most babies can begin the adventures of eating foods around six months in addition to breast milk or formula. The Nigerian  Pediatrics supports this guideline adding babies who start solid foods before this age are more likely to be overweight or obese in childhood and adulthood.

Dr. Sears of the parenting site Ask Dr. Sears says signs of being ready to add food include sitting up on their own, mimicking you eating and asking for food. Once your baby starts showing these signs, have them try some of the recommended the foods below. Mealtime will become more fun–and a little messier.

Why Should Foods Be Added?
Although the WHO recommends parents “continue frequent, on-demand breastfeeding until 2 years of age or beyond,” they also advise parents to add solid foods starting at the six month mark — as long as they show signs of readiness.

Adding additional food helps ensure your child is getting enough energy, protein, and micronutrients that support their significant growth spurts which tend to happen around this age. Foods that are high in iron are particularly important for growing babies since breast-feeding alone doesn’t typically provide the amount needed for babies past the six month age.

When starting solid foods, parents should offer only 1-2 tablespoons and gradually increase to 3-4 as the child gets older. Offering different tastes and textures sets your child up for healthy eating habits in the future and starting the learning before the age of one helps them develop a positive experience with food.

What About Potential Allergies?
In the past, parents were advised to avoid feeding their children certain foods before their first birthday to help decrease their chance of developing severe food allergies. Foods like peanuts, shellfish, cow’s milk, eggs, and fish were on the “do not feed” list. But new research says adding those to your child’s menu before their first birthday may actually help decrease their chances of being allergic.

When it comes to feeding your baby new foods, start with more pureed textures and work your way up to more varied textures. Also, it’s ideal to wait three days between adding new foods so you can pinpoint if something is upsetting your baby’s stomach.

26 Foods to Add to Your Baby’s Diet Before Age One
1. Avocados

2. bananas

3. peaches

4. barley cereal

5. applesauce

6. carrots

7. pears

8. squash

9. baked beans, kidney beans, chickpeas

10. sweet potatoes

11. blueberries

12. onion and garlic

13. spinach and kale

14. edamame

15. cheese

16. pumpkin

17. basil, parsley, chives, and other herbs

18. whole grain bread, toast and crackers

19. noodles

20. chicken

21. salmon

22. quinoa

23. polenta

24. eggs; scrambled, hard-boiled

25. grapes; always cut in half to reduce choking hazard

26; Amala & Ewedu made with blended crayfish

 

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