Feeding your baby solids for the first time can be a great experience for both of you. Both mother and baby gain a new type of independence . Baby is no longer dependent on mommy for the breast or bottle 24/7 and can starting using their hands to experiment with eating, and mommy can get a break from having to breastfeed or hold a bottle. Here’s some important information I found on feeding baby solid foods:
Tips for Easy Feeding
Start the first feeding by giving your baby about half the regular breast milk or formula to take the edge off his hunger. Then try a little rice cereal, followed by the rest of the breast milk or formula. Sandwiching the new cereal between the familiar milk will help ease your baby into this new stage.
The easiest way to start feeding solid foods is to put a little food on a long-handled, plastic-tipped baby spoon. Put a little food on your baby’s lips so he can lick it off and taste it. Then try another spoonful. If he parts his lips, put the food on his lips again. If he opens his mouth, put the spoon in. Don’t force him to eat. If he clamps his mouth shut, turns his head away from the spoon, or otherwise seems uninterested, bring the feeding session to an end regardless of how little food he’s eaten.
Remember that most of his nutrition for the first year will be provided by breast milk or formula. Negative interactions between you and your baby at this crucial time can be the start of feeding problems later on.
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry too much about your baby’s nutrition. In the beginning the choices are simple. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that breast milk is the best choice of nutrition for your little one for the first 12 months. And the next best thing is iron-fortified infant formula.
Plus if you’re feeding him Beech-Nut® baby foods, you can rest assured knowing that they’re made with natural ingredients to make sure your baby gets the optimal nutrition he deserves.
For most healthy babies less than six months old, vitamins and other supplements aren’t necessary. However, some breast-fed infants may need additional vitamin D if your breast milk is deficient. Also, babies that are breast-fed exclusively for up to four to six months may need an iron supplement. If your baby falls into this category, make sure to talk with your pediatrician first before giving him any supplements.
Although you don’t have to worry much about your baby’s diet if breast milk or formula is the main source of nutrition, you do need to establish a regular feeding schedule and make sure he’s getting enough to eat. As your baby’s needs change over time, you’ll want to establish a feeding time frame that works for both of you. A general benchmark is that most babies tend to feed every three to four hours. If you pay attention to your baby’s signs of hunger and the clock, you’ll be able to establish a good schedule and ward off hunger fits. Keeping a mommy journal will help you to recognize any patterns that develop.
A Peaceful Mealtime
Introducing your baby to solid foods should be the beginning of a lifetime of healthy, enjoyable meal times for your family. A good attitude about mealtime is just as important as proper nutrition when forming healthy eating habits for the future. So keep mealtime peaceful and fun, and don’t force food when it’s not wanted.