Introducing your child to solid food for the first time is a moment worth being excited about. It’s the time when your child starts to experience new flavors and textures. It’s a whole new world waiting for them.
At six months, your child can start eating solid foods. This a milestone in their development you want to prepare for. Be ready with some tips to help you help your child have a great first bite.
Get the Tools You Need
Eating solid foods is a new and unfamiliar sensation to babies, so it’s safe to say it’s going to get messy. There’s going to be chewing, spitting, and maybe even throwing. They’re trying to navigate and explore this new taste and texture for the first time while trying to feed themselves. Feeding is a new skill their hands and mouth need to practice. Since they’re still not so good with coordination, expect some food flinging here and there.
Get the basics you need for this monumental time. A few basics to prepare for your child’s first meal are their bib, utensils, and high chair. You might want to throw in some wipes while you’re on it. Be sure to take a picture or two with them in their cute bandana bib and their adorable reaction when tasting solid food for the first time!
Prepare Something Nutritious
Not sure which food to introduce your child to for the first time? Choose something with their needs in mind. The best food to start with is something packed with the nutrition they need. One great introduction to solid food is child cereal. You can soften the cereal with breast milk, formula milk, or water. It’s a good way to transition to solid foods.
If you choose to go for child cereal, it’s recommended that it’s iron-fortified. Iron is essential for growing babies since it aids brain development.
Avoid Choking Hazards
Since it’s their first time eating solid food, it’s important to make it a safe and comfortable experience. Prepare foods that are smooth in texture or don’t require much chewing. Your child’s oral skills are yet to develop, so softer foods are the best introduction to solid foods.
To avoid potential choking hazards, the CDC suggests that you can mash up food with milk or water, make it into a puree, peel any skin, take out any seeds, and remove other choking hazard portions.
Start with a Meal or Two a Day
At first, feeding your child solid food is about introducing them to new flavors and textures. But over time, you’re going to have to introduce them to the routine of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
You can start feeding your child two meals a day, two to four tablespoons each, between the ages of 4 to 6 months. At 7 to 12 months, you can start feeding them three meals a day, each the size of your child’s fist.
Observe for Allergies
When feeding your child a certain food for the first time, give it three to four days before trying another one. Watch out for signs of an allergic reaction. Don’t hesitate to call your child’s pediatrician if this happens.
Introduce Them to Healthy Food and Healthy Eating
It’s important to introduce a healthy diet as early as now. Train your child to eat healthily to encourage and develop a habit of healthy eating in the future. It’s also important to help your child have a positive rapport with food. Help them experience food in a constructive way to have a positive relationship with food throughout their lives.
Your child might like solid food the first time they try it, or they might not. It’s different for everyone, and that’s okay. Stay flexible and listen to their needs. All your child’s ever known is milk, and it might be all they want on some days. Sometimes, you just have to follow their lead. Don’t be so strict about the feeding schedule. After all, feeding should be a positive experience for you but most especially for your child.
An Exciting Moment
Eating solid food for the first time is an exciting moment for your little one (and for yourself, of course). It’s another milestone worth celebrating and another first time worth cherishing. Although you can prepare for their first meal, no one’s completely prepared for their child to grow up. But the best you can do is make sure they are raised well and healthily.
If you have any questions about your child’s diet, feel free to ask for a professional opinion.