I always love watching little ones try food for the first time. Their expressions are priceless! If you can manage, have someone video your baby’s reaction when he tries something new.
While breast milk the best source of nutrition for a baby less than a year old, there’s no harm in introducing your little one to solid foods. A smooth, gradual transition is always the easiest for babies.
Introducing healthy foods early in life is key to creating healthy habits, so be sure to offer exceptionally healthy foods to steer his preferences in that direction. Here are the tell-tale signs that your baby is ready to try solid foods.
1. He is holding his head up.
If your little one is holding his head up regularly than he probably has the throat, neck and chest muscles to swallow his food without incident. He’ll need to be able to hold up his head for at least 10 or 15 minutes while he eats. If your baby starts to slouch or lean his head over during feeding, discontinue offering solid food because he is too tired.
2. He sits well unsupported.
While this isn’t entirely necessary, your baby should be able to sit up on his own without support for at least a couple minutes. This signifies that he has the necessary muscle control to eat on his own. His highchair will hold his torso in place for the most part, but he will have to manage the upper chest, arms, and neck work.
3. He can chew.
Even if your baby doesn’t have teeth, he should still be able to repetitively apply jaw pressure to mush and gnaw food. He’ll need the tongue and jaw dexterity to move food from the front of his mouth to the back so he can swallow. If food is falling out of his mouth every time or you find it necessary to push the spoon way back, he isn’t ready.
4. He has gained weight.
By around six months your baby should have doubled his body weight. If he hasn’t gained a healthy amount of weight, he may need to continue filling up on breast milk to make sure he’s getting the healthiest nutrients. (If you feel your baby is significantly lighter or smaller than he should be, please consult your doctor.)
5. He wants the solid foods.
At some point, your baby will be captivated by the foods you’re eating. He’ll see you putting things in your mouth and want some of it! If the food is safe for him to eat, feel free to indulge him. This is a sign that he is mentally ready for solid foods. You’ll have an easier time during the transition and teaching him how if he is enthusiastic about it.
Written by Karen Barski, BSN, RN, Mother of five, Certified Infant Care Specialist & Instructor, & Inventor of the Woombie Baby Swaddle
Karen has been an RN for 18 years, and has worked in many different nursing roles. As a Certified Infant Care Specialist, Karen counsels thousands of families yearly on a multitude of issues relating to pregnancy and infancy. Also, as a mother of five, she has invaluable experience and tips to share.
Since 2007, Karen’s company, KB Designs, has invented a line of signature baby swaddle products that have helped parents easily transition their new babies from womb to home. There are multiple designs and sizes so that babies can enjoy the comfort and security of the Woombie up until the time they begin to roll.
Each product has been created and designed by Karen because of a need she identified in her life with her five children. With convenience, safety, and fashion in mind, KB Designs has helped over a half million babies and counting!
For more information, visit www.woombie.com.
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