- Last Updated on Thursday, 24 April 2014 13:45
Experts agree that exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life is optimal, however some babies are ready for more sooner than 6 months of age. Is your baby showing you signs of feeding readiness and is older than 4 months of age? If so, the adventures of starting solids are upon you (just be sure to consult your baby's healthcare provider for the all clear).
So your baby is ready, but are you? Find out how to start this new adventure.
How Much Should Your Baby Eat?
- This is very individualized and varies greatly from baby to baby.
- Remember, your pediatrician is a great resource for information regarding introducing solids. Ask your pediatrician about his/her recommendations on what to start, when to start and how much to give.
- Introduce new foods slowly to monitor for food allergies by giving one new food a minimum of every 2-3 days.
If your baby is showing signs of feeding readiness (see Is Your Baby Ready to Start Solids?):
- Give breastmilk or formula first (since breastfeeding/formula is the main source of nutrition at this time).
- If starting with cereal (remember, whole grain cereal is a better choice than white rice cereal), begin with approximately 10-15 spoonfuls mixed with breastmilk/formula to give a very runny consistency once a day. Dr. Kinney's tip: Fill the bottom of the cereal bowl and mix to the desired consistency.
- Increase to 1 to 2 tablespoons one to two times per day according to your baby’s cues. Remember, your baby may or may not eat the entire amount that you have prepared, but this is a good starting point.
- If starting with vegetables, fruits or meats, start with 1 to 2 spoonfuls and increase according to your baby's cues.
- Breastmilk or formula is still your baby's main source of nutrition at this time.
- If your baby is showing signs of feeding readiness, you can start to introduce cereal (whole grain cereal is the best option), vegetables, fruits or meats. The new AAP recommendation state, "there is little evidence that delaying the timing of the introduction of complementary foods beyond 4 to 6 months of age prevents the occurrence of atopic disease...This includesdelaying the introduction of foods thatare considered to behighly allergic, such as fish, eggs, andfoods containing peanutprotein." Remember to consult your baby's healthcare provider to get his/her recommendations.
Starting solids is a very anticipated milestone. It's important to wait to start solids until your baby is ready for this task (to prevent choking), offer breastmilk/formula first, feed your baby according to his/her cues and watch for signs of fullness and don't forget to have fun!
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Author : Diba Tillery RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST