What can you do to prepare your baby to start solid foods?
In this article, I'm going to talk about activities you can do in the weeks leading up to your baby's first food introduction. As exciting as it is to introduce solids to a baby, I think a lot of parents are nervous about it. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization both recommend introducing solid foods to babies as young as six months old.
Right time to start solid food:
In addition to the age recommendation, there are a number of signs we look for that indicate that a baby is developmentally ready to start taking solids safely. Most babies are developmentally ready to start taking solids safely at around 6 months of age. And babies born prematurely are usually ready to start solid foods at the adjusted age of 6 months.
There are many dangers associated with introducing solids before the baby is ready. But I know many parents are eager to start the process earlier, especially since they are being showered with messages pressurizing them to start introducing solids to their baby around 4 months He is going. So while you are waiting for your baby to show all the developmental signs of readiness to start solid foods.
First meal preparation:
Here is a step-by-step process you can do with your baby starting at 4 months of age for the first meal preparation.
It has been observed that parents who did these activities with their child felt more ready to start feeding when the time came. They found the process less stressful and more enjoyable. The first step is to give your child the opportunity to feel like being part of family mealtime. Sometime between the ages of 4 to 5 months, start making your baby sit in a high chair and ensure that he is placed near the table where the rest of the family members are having their meals.
We want children to feel from the very beginning that they are part of the family meal. Several studies have shown the positive benefits of having a family meal, where all the members of the household gather around the table to share a meal and talk about their day without distracting any electronics. However with our on-going lifestyle, fewer families are having family meals. If that's the case for you, this is a great time to start, even if it's only a few times a week.
Since most 4-month-olds are not able to sit upright in a high chair on their own, but tend to flop to one side or the other, you can place small rolled up towels or blankets on both sides of the baby if necessary. can. Initially your baby can tolerate only 5 minutes of sitting in a high chair. But with time and repetition you will be able to extend this duration to 15 or 20 minutes.
Things to note:
There are several things to keep in mind to ensure that your baby has the best sitting position that facilitates safe swallowing right from the start. This means that your baby should sit in an upright position with the feet flat on a footrest.
When babies' feet rest on one leg it stabilizes their core and facilitates a safe swallow. That's why it's ideal to have a high chair that makes it possible for you to adjust the footrest so that the baby's hips and knees are bent at a 90-degree angle while the feet are resting flat on the footrest.
So what should you do if the high chair you already have doesn't have a foot rest, or a foot rest that isn't adjustable?
It is best to make a foot rest for your child using a box or you can also use a pool noodle and attach it to the chair using Velcro or tape. You can push a chair up against the high chair under your child's feet and lift the boxes until your child's knees and hips are bent at about a 90-degree angle, while the feet are flat. be.
But if you haven't bought your own high chair yet, it's best to get a chair that has an adjustable foot rest that will grow with your baby. Also, it is best to have a high chair that does not bend. If the high chair for your baby causes her to be in a sloping position, you can place a rolled up towel or blanket behind your baby's back to make her sit in an upright position.
When a child is feeding at an inclined angle rather than sitting upright, and the legs dangle instead of resting, this increases the risk of choking or accidentally inhaling food or fluid into the airways or lungs.
Get used to the spoon:
As your baby gets comfortable sitting in a high chair during family mealtimes, start giving your baby opportunities to practice placing the feeding bowl on the tray. After several days of letting your baby sit in a high chair with a baby bowl, transition to putting baby spoons on the feeding tray.
Make your baby practice by holding and holding an empty baby spoon and holding it in his mouth for about 5 minutes a day. It is best to have a small spoon for this activity. Most babies dodge themselves if given a feeding spoon with a long handle, so it's best not to give them one.
It is okay if your child puts the spoon completely in the mouth, including the handle. Babies learn with their mouths and need to locate objects at their mealtimes. As your child becomes familiar with placing a bowl and spoon on the highchair tray, add a cup to the routine.
Use an open cup:
Did you know that the first thing you should introduce your baby to is an open cup?
This may be the first time you're hearing about the use of an open cup with a child. There are many benefits to teaching a child to drink from an open cup rather than using a sippy cup.
This allows for the development of muscles in your baby's mouth and verbal motor skills that will help make sounds as your baby begins to learn to speak. The problem with using a sippy cup is that the mouthpiece presses on the baby's tongue and pushes it toward the front of the mouth. So the baby has to suck to get the liquid out.
However, we want to teach the child a more mature swallowing pattern, in which the tongue lifts up and touches the front and top of the mouth to create a wave-like motion to bring the liquid back and down for swallowing. This is not possible when using a sippy cup, as the mouthpiece is pushing down on the baby's tongue while swallowing.
Remember that the goal is to gradually work your baby to sit in a high chair for 15 to 20 minutes at family mealtimes and become familiar with feeding items. Create a routine that works best for you and your baby at your own pace.
An example would be task the child to spend 5 minutes exploring the food bowl, the next 5 minutes exploring the spoon, followed by 5 minutes exploring the open cup. Then for the last 5 minutes you can place all the items on the tray at the same time. Instead of waiting for your baby to introduce everything at once, on the first day you introduce solids,
By doing these activities for weeks or days, your baby will become familiar with the objects. You will also have the opportunity to accustom your child to the routine of being part of the family meal.
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