If your baby is under a year old and you haven’t tried feeding them solid foods or tried and stopped because you ran into issues, keep reading! Many parents hear or read that “food before 1 is just for fun” but introducing solid food to your baby before they reach their first birthday can produce long terms benefits. There is support and resources available to help you get over the initial bumps!
Why should I consider introducing solid foods to my baby before age 1?
- Early and frequent introduction of high allergen foods such as peanut butter and eggs may lower the occurrence of developing allergies (if your baby is high risk for having food allergies consult your pediatrician before introduction of these foods)
- Babies with longer and greater exposure to food tend to have healthier diets later on in life
- Eating solid foods, helps your baby develop skills like using a spoon or picking up small items with their fingers and chewing (fine, gross, oral motor skills).
- Introducing mealtime routines early can help your baby develop norms around eating such as developing a routine schedule for meals (helps to prevent eating all day long)
- Babies begin to lose their iron reserves around 6 months, starting solid foods high in iron can help prevent iron deficiencies
When should I start introducing solid foods to my baby?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting solid foods when your baby is 4 to 6 months old. I encourage families to talk with their pediatrician about when they can start feeding solids to their baby.
Your baby may be ready to start eating solid foods if he/she:
- Can hold his/her head up
- Expresses interest when he/she sees you eating
- Opens his/her mouth when you offer food
- Puts objects in or near his/her mouth
How do I get started with introducing solid food to my baby?
Getting your baby to start eating solid foods isn’t always easy but it’s worth it. Here are some tips and strategies to help you get started with introducing table foods to your baby.
What do I do if it’s not going well?
If you don’t feel like things are going well after a few tries, you can wait 1-2 weeks and try again. If it continues to be difficult, it may be worth seeking out a therapist who specializes in feeding therapy, such as speech-language pathologist. A therapist trained to assess and treat feeding difficulties will be able to identify why your baby is having difficulty and ways to help.
If your child has been diagnosed with certain medical conditions or exhibits any of these behaviors he/she is more likely to need help learning to eat.
Give me a call or send an email if you’d like to set up an evaluation or discuss whether your baby may benefit from feeding therapy.