The first few months of a childs life are a wondrous time. As parents, we love experiencing the firsts, and although we wish for time to stand still, we long for the moments our child has their first steps, say their first word, and have their first taste of real food. Some of these things happen naturally, and others are introduced and encouraged by us, the parents, when the timing is right.
Changing up your babys diet is a fun and exciting time for both you and your child. Typically, the introduction to solid food begins around 4-6 months of age. (Previous to this, your child may have been drinking breast milk or formula as their main source of nutrition.) Most paediatricians agree that starting with baby cereal is the easiest way to introduce solid food to your childs digestive system. Starting with other solid foods too early can result in possible stomach aches, or digestion issues for your child. Baby cereal is a great starting point for many reasons. Not only is it gentle on your babys digestive system, but it can also be mixed with formula or breast milk giving it a familiar taste that your baby will love.
Although they will be eager, understanding how to receive solid food into their mouth and swallow it can be tricky in the beginning stages. Baby bibs not only help to keep your baby clean while eating, they also keep your child from becoming wet or cold during the feeding process which can cause discomfort leading to a bad feeding experience.
At 6-8 months of age, you can feel comfortable introducing your baby to pureed fruits and vegetables. Many parents suggest keeping a journal of the new foods you try with your baby, and only offering one type of food per day. Keeping a journal can help you to identify things your child may not like, and can also help if there happened to be an allergic reaction. Pureed fruits and vegetables like bananas, sweet potatoes, and peas will add a lot of flavour to your childs diet, and some extra work during meal time clean up. As mentioned previously, baby bibs truly are a life saver during meal times. Not only will a baby bib keep your child more comfortable while eating, but it will also keep you from having to scrub food off your little ones lovely cute clothes!
By 8-12 months your child will be able to eat a variety of foods. Yogurt, cottage cheese, crackers, cereal, and even meat are exciting new things your baby will love trying. Most babies love finger foods and show pride in their ability to self-feed.
Be sure to ask your doctor if you are unsure of your childs specific nutritional needs. Every child is different, and your paediatrician can guide you with excellent advice regarding whats best for your child. Beyond that, enjoy these first moments with your baby. There are sure to be many silly faces, loads of clean ups, and countless unplanned baths, but hey, its all part of the experience.