The energy and nutrient needs of the newborn to six month old infant are well met by breast milk. By age six months, the infant needs an additional source of carbohydrates and more vitamins A and C is provided in a milk-based diet alone.
Developmentally, the six month Old is ready to sit upright with support, observe a spoon with food coming towards its mouth, open it when ready for the food and move the food from the spoon to swallow. The six month old is also able to communicate its rejection of the food. The digestive system is matured enough to handle new foods. The younger infant is not developmentally able to do these things and is therefore not ready to be fed solid foods.
The first solid food introduced is usually iron-fortified infant rice cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. Very few people are allergic to rice and it is easily digested, so it makes an excellent choice for a first food. Barley cereal and a few teaspoons of breast milk of formula. This is a new experience and it may take a few feeding before baby is ready for a quantity of cereal.
Feed the baby in an upright position. Use rolled up towels or receiving blankets in a high chair if the infant needs additional support. Or have one adult hold the infant while another offers the food to baby. Do not try to feed the baby in a semi reclined position such as an infant carrier or care seat. it is very difficult for it to swallow while reclining and difficult to see the spoon as it comes towards its mouth. It is important that the infant be able to see the spoon coming towards its mouth so that it can open its mouth in anticipation. DO not force the spoon between closed lips as this turns feeding into an unpleasant experience and can cause many feeding problems later. Use an infant size spoon. Many babies prefer a plastic or rubber coated spoon- cold metal can be an unpleasant experience.
The baby who is developmentally ready for solids will learn to eagerly anticipate the full spoon coming towards its mouth and will be open and ready by the time it gets there. A baby who is reluctant to open and fusses and complains when the parent tries feeding for the first time may not be ready- wait a few days and then offer the food again.
Do not put infant cereal or any other solid into a bottle or infant feeder. It will interfere with the child's natural ability to obtain the appropriate amount of energy from the milk feed. it is simply force feeding and inappropriate.
Once the infant is developmentally ready for solids, the parents need to be ready to change quickly. Infants are capable of very fast and rapid transitions from one ability to the next during the next few months. Parents need to be ready for those changes. Trying to stick to any set routine in this stages, or trying to keep the child from progressing from one stage to another, because the parent is not ready can have detrimental results for the growing child, and its transition to mature eating patterns. Allow the child to take the lead as this chewing and swallowing ability progresses. Learn to understand the child's non-verbal communications and relax.
After the child has done well with infant cereal for several weeks, pureed or stained fruits or vegetables may be added to the diet. Experts do not agree on whether to add fruits first of vegetables first, and it probably does not matter, But ladies do have an innate preference for a sweet potatoes. purchased infant foods or those made at home may be used. A baby does not need added sugar or salt. If home prepared foods are used, careful sanitation practices should be observed. Wait three to five days between each new food offered to make sure that there is no problem with a food allergy.
Watch baby's jaw as he is offered foods. When an up and down munching motion begins to be apparent, pureed meats, beans cooked egg yolk, tofu, cottage cheese and plain yogurt may be added to the diet.
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