Most doctors recommend that parents wait until their baby is 6 months old to start solid foods. Until that time, babies can’t control their mouths and tongues very well so they may push food out of their mouths instead of eating it.
When you decide to feed your baby solid food, choose the right moment. Try it when your baby is rested, when she is hungry but not starved, and when you are relaxed.
The first solid food to give your baby is often an ironfortified cereal in addition to breast milk or infant formula. Choose a baby cereal with just one ingredient such as just rice (least likely to cause allergies), only oatmeal, or just barley. Put a teaspoon of baby cereal in a dish and mix it with breast milk or formula to a watery consistency. Don’t add sugar or salt or any other seasoning. For the first few weeks, offer the cereal once or twice a day after the breast or bottle feeding.
Use a small, narrow spoon. Put a small amount of cereal toward the middle of your baby’s tongue. If she seems interested, give her a few more tastes with the spoon. If she doesn’t like it, or pushes the spoon away, wait a few weeks and try again.
The first feedings will be messy. Your baby has been used to sucking liquids. Now, she has to learn how to swallow solids. The tongue thrust that makes food come back out is a natural reaction. Your baby has to learn to swallow rather than push her tongue out.
The next foods after cereals will probably be a few teaspoons of pureed vegetables or fruits. But wait until your doctor tells you to give them a try.
Try only one new food at a time. If you start with a few teaspoons of infant rice cereal, keep giving your baby just the rice cereal for a week or so. The reason you try only one food at a time is so you can see if your baby has a reaction to a food or is allergic to it. So, see if your baby has an allergy to rice cereal before you start infant oatmeal or infant barley.
Sometimes a new food can cause diarrhea, a skin rash, or even a runny nose. If you think your baby has an allergy problem, check with your doctor, nurse, or clinic.
You can help your baby learn to eat healthy foods. Try to make eating a pleasant time.