When Should I Introduce Solid Foods To My Baby?

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Food is an important source of fuel for your brain. It keeps you going, including directly affecting the function of your entire system. Even though most stick to the routine formula for their babies, it is not as simple as that at times. Our registered dietitian in Ontario can create a custom plan for your toddler that will be beneficial for their physical and emotional health.

As a parent, we ask ourselves, when is the right time to introduce solid foods to my baby? And how to safely feed your child when introducing solid foods. Below-mentioned is helpful advice and tips from our registered dietitian in Ontario on how to ease your toddler into solids, including how to avoid them from choking, gagging, and from any food-related illnesses.

The ideal time to introduce solid foods to your baby would be at around six months. Your infant will be ready to consume solids when they:

  • Have good head control
  • Cant lean forward and sit up
  • Can pick up food directly and place it in their mouth
  • Can turn their head and let you know when they are full

Try the below-mentioned tips:

  • Include your toddler at family mealtimes. Make them feel that they are part of it.
  • Place a small amount of food on the tip of the spoon in front of your infant. Make sure their mouth is wide open before you feed them, or you can let your child pick up the food and try to feed themselves.
  • If they reach for the spoon, let them feed themselves
  • Allow your toddler to explore solid foods with their fingers or fists. It is okay if they make a mess.
  • To ensure your infant focuses on eating, avoid distractions like phone calls and television.
  • To ensure your baby does not choke, cut the solid food into small easy-to-consume pieces.
  • If you are worried about any food allergies, try to offer your toddler one new food item at a time.
  • Always make sure you supervise your infant while eating and ensure they have supported seating.
  • From purees to soft finger foods, introduce them slowly to a range and variety of textures. But it should be no later than nine months.

What is the right amount of solid food should my baby eat?

  • When introducing your baby to solid foods, you must let them decide. When they are hungry, they will open their mouth and close their mouth or push the food away when they are full. Please keep in mind never to force your infant to eat. It is unhealthy.
  • A great starting point is to offer your infant iron-rich solid foods two times a day. It can be during breakfast and lunch. You can start by offering one to two teaspoons of certain iron-rich food items and see how they respond. Over time, work towards including solid foods three to five times a day depending on your toddler’s appetite when you are continuing to breastfeed.
  • When the infant is between nine to eleven months, you can offer solid food items up to four to five times a day, and slowly increase the frequency once they get older. Do not worry, it is completely normal for your baby to eat different amounts each day.

What if my toddler refuses to eat solid foods?

It may take plenty of tries for your toddler to accept new food items. This is common, and you must not force your baby to eat. Instead, try the below-mentioned tips:

  • Offer the same solid food item again without any pressure
  • Serve the solid food items at different temperatures
  • Let them feed themselves and make a mess
  • Mix the solid food with breastmilk or infant formula to make it more familiar to your toddler
  • When your infant is really hungry, try to offer them solid foods
  • Ensure they are not getting too much breastmilk or formula. If they drink too much, they may not be hungry to consume solid foods.
  • Feed them when your other family members are eating
  • It is completely normal for them to refuse new food items. Before they eat it change their minds. Offer a different variety or texture at mealtimes.

How do I prevent my baby from gagging from solid foods?

When your infant is learning to eat solids at the initial stages, they are prone to gagging. Gagging occurs when food comes close to the back of your toddler’s throat without them swallowing. It is a completely normal phenomenon and you can prevent your toddler from this with the below-mentioned tips:

  • Have your infant sit up straight and fasten them securely in a high chair
  • Feed your toddler slowly
  • Put less food on the spoon by using a small spoon
  • Offer solid foods at the table when the infant is around, no distractions
  • Offer textures and food items your baby can easily consume. If your toddler is gagging from solid food with big lumps, try mashing them into smaller lumps.
  • Try to grate raw vegetables and fruits
  • Popcorn is a no-no
  • Smooth objects like peanuts and nuts, hard candy, etc. should be avoided

If your toddler gags often or has trouble swallowing, as a registered dietitian in Ontario, I highly recommend that you see a paediatrician.

What type of solid foods should I avoid to prevent my toddler from getting sick?

Until they are 12 months or older, they should not be given any solid foods to consume. They should not also have food made with honey, such as yoghurt or cereal. This is because honey can cause botulism. Ensure all dairy items are pasteurized.

Visit our registered dietitian in Ontario today!

Every toddler is different when it comes to eating solid foods. It may take plenty of tries before your infant accepts solid foods. You are responsible for what kind of food you offer your baby, and they are responsible for how much they want to eat it. By twelve months, your baby should be eating a wide range of family food items. Keeping your toddler safe is imperative when introducing them to solid foods. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to reach out to our registered dietitian in Ontario today.