Your toddler's transition (6 months and above) from mother's milk to other liquids and solids.
For a baby, breast milk or baby milk remains the primary source of nutrition until the age of 1. However, your baby can make the transition from mother milk to table foods typically by the age of 4 to 6 months. But, preparing them for the same can be a tough job. Don't give up. Remember, patience is a virtue.
SIGNS THAT YOUR BABY IS READY FOR BABY FOOD:
- They can sit upright and hold their heads up.
- They display curiosity and notice you when you eat.
- They can hold small pieces of food between their fingers.
- They look hungry after getting a full day's portion of milk (8 ounces of breast milk or 32 ounces of baby milk).
- Their tongues don't push the food out of their mouths.
HOW TO PREPARE BABIES FOR TABLE FOOD?
Here are a few tips:
Stay seated: Use a highchair with a broad, stable base soon after your baby can sit easily without support.
Start small: Start with a teaspoon or two and increase the amount of food gradually. Give your baby time to learn how to swallow solids. Start with one ingredient foods, then work your way up.
Keep it Simple: Choose simple, healthy foods without spices. Give them plenty of water to sip from a cup.
Test before serving: Make sure the food you're serving can be pierced with a fork so that the baby's mouth can mash it easily. Cubes of boiled sweet potatoes, carrots, soft proteins like meatballs or tofu, bananas and apples are good choices.
Know when to stop feeding: Crying and turning away are signs of a full tummy. Do not force feed. In such cases, you should try another time. Do not feed them too much in order to get them to sleep through the night.
Be patient: Your baby will take time to get comfortable with new tastes and textures and the feel of the spoon in his mouth.
Embrace the mess: Your baby may make a mess of the food you give and it may end up on his hands, mouth or the bib. Getting food into a baby's mouth will require practise and coordination from his side.
Beware of allergies: Hives, rashes, wheezing, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhoea, blood in stools, excessive gas are signs of allergies. To detect allergies easily, give your child a new food every 3 or 4 days. Potentially allergenic foods include: peanuts, eggs, cow milk products, wheat, fish, and soy.
FOODS TO AVOID:
Juice: Babies younger than 12 months should not be given juice. It can lead to diarrhoea and increased weight.
Honey: It can cause botulism, a rare form of food poisoning that is rather serious.
Choking hazards: Nuts, seeds, raisins, hard candy, grapes, hard raw vegetables, popcorn, and peanut butter are foods that need to be avoided during the first year.