The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that we begin introducing solids to baby around six months of age. This confuses some parents because their little ones may be hearty and hungry at four to five months.
Today we'll explore why we want to wait to introduce solids and where to begin. Nature made breast milk is a complete nutritional package for a baby until the age of 6 months to 12 months. Supplemental foods are best given during these ages, because:
- Breast milk is no longer sufficient to benefit the growth and development of a baby. Depending on a baby's height and weight he or she may need more calories for growth.
- Babies will obtain more calcium to help strengthen their growing bones and teeth.
- Babies begin to show an interest in other foods, so its better to introduce new foods to them at this time. Also, when introducing these new foods a parent may be able to note any food allergies. In fact, Doctors often recommend serving one strained vegetable at a time for several days so that any reactions can be noted and addressed.
- Babies are able to strengthen their ability to chew and taste other foods.
- The digestive system in a baby is ready to take in semi-solid foods.
The amount of milk a baby will drink increases by this age to about 32 ounces per day. Her tummy may be full, but she will be hungry since her body is growing and she needs more calories. At this point you may introduce a bit of rice cereal at dinner-time. Every baby has different needs; talk with your pediatrician about introducing solids to your child.
Why We Wait
Prior to six month of age baby's digestive system is developing. The immune system is also strengthening. When we introduce solids too early, the body may see these substances as foreign and kick them into the bloodstream potentially leading to food allergies. Swallowing and chewing mechanisms are also developing. So speak with your pediatrician about your infant's readiness to begin solid foods.
What types of Solids are Best for the Organic Baby Diet:
Often by 6 months of age your baby is ready to explore different foods and different textures. For parents who prefer to introduce an organic diet, finely process and strain cooked organic peas, potatoes, squash, and green beans for baby to suck off a spoon. You may also want to introduce yogurt on a tiny spoon for your baby to eat in the beginning of their new diet.
Expect some spitting out and perhaps gagging as the baby gets used to swallowing and eating. Make sure that foods are well-strained and have no lumps. Three small spoonfuls is normally enough, so let baby stop eating when she is full. Baby will guide your way.
For more information on preparing natural foods for a baby you can read about organic baby food at earthsbest.com or check out Simply Natural Baby Food: Easy Recipes for Delicious Meals Your Infant and Toddler Will Love by Cathe Olson at your local library or book store.
Enjoy your time in helping your child explore new foods and watching them grow.