The first food introduction is an adaptive period for a baby to adult tastes and cooking. First foods should be safe and tasty, and parents should approach this question reasonably. Moreover, the first food rules are quite simple.
First Food Introduction
Introduction of the first food is a new and fascinating stage in a baby’s life when he or she starts tasting unfamiliar food and gets to know the environment. A role of parents is to provide your baby a with qualitative and adequate diet in order for you to help a baby enjoy each food intake.
It is known that even mammals don’t start eating the food typical of its type at once. The same happens with humans. From birth up to 7-8 months on average, the main and only ration component of a baby is fatty and nutritious breast milk of its mother.
In case there is lack of breast milk or such feeding is impossible, a baby should get adapted milk formula which is the analogue of mother’s milk. That’s why it is the first food of a baby. After 6 months, baby’s needs are different and he or she is interested in general food from parents’ plate (neonatologists call this period “infant food interest”). Thus, it is a perfect time to start the first food feeding.
This moment falls in 6-8 months of age, however the terms are quite relative, depending on a great number of individual specifics of a baby: growth rates, appetite, diseases.
It is natural that gastrointestinal tract system of a baby can’t be changed at once. It is wrong and absurd to start an immediate general diet – you should introduce the first food carefully and gradually (no more than 3-4 new products per month).A purpose of the 1st food is not to sate a baby as far as a child is still suckling, but to familiarize your baby with the food he or she is going to eat in the near future.
When to Start the First Food Feeding?
The terms are individually prescribed for each baby as to growth rate, gain in weight, maturation specifics and other points.
World Health Organization, WHO doesn’t recommend feeding a baby solids before 6 months.
How to Know Whether It’s Time to Feed Your Baby with the 1st Food?
There are several principle criteria to point this moment:
- Age of a baby – above 6 months.
- Permission of baby’s pediatrician.
- Physical signs: a baby gained weight twice as much from the time of a birth, he or she holds the head up, sits without assistance, tries to reach out milk or water from a spoon, turns away its face if he doesn’t want to eat something; a tongue doesn’t push out the food by reflex anymore.
These criteria should be taking into account, but not anyone’s advice, marks on baby’s food from 3 or 4 months you can find in supermarkets.
If some other baby is already on a general diet, there is no reason to feed your baby with cereals immediately. Watch it and consult your pediatrician first of all.
In case your baby is above 6 months and he is still suckling, he gains weight perfectly and there are no problems with stool, it is not advisable to start the first food introduction, as far as you need to take into account its psychological needs as well.
The Main and the Most Scientific Case for the First Food Introduction
All listed above criteria are vitally required, but there are some other signs to help you:
Increased activity of a baby: he can turn from side to side, sit and he tries to stand up. The fact of the matter is that any food has its energy intensity, i.e., a certain amount of calories to satisfy physiological needs of humans. Thick food gives more calories: 100gm of thick cereals for infants contain more calories than 100 gm of watery breast milk. By increasing of physical activity, it is more difficult for a baby to gain required number of calories from mother’s milk, thus, he needs more thick and caloric food.
First Food Feeding Type
There is no difference whether your baby eats mother’s milk or special milk formula or both of them. Evgenii Komarovskii, pediatrician comments that early introduction of first food refers to old times when breast milk substitution was prepared from cow’s milk diluted with water. Nowadays we have adaptive formula for infants.
As soon as you decided to feed your baby with a real food, there are a lot of question to arise: what products to choose?
Well, there is no a unique rule. Each family, country and culture has its own specifics and traditions.
Cultured milk foods – non-fat kefir and curd for babies only
For example, E. Komarovkii advises to start from no-fat kefir in order to get know gastrointestinal tract system with adult food.
The cereals – try only one cereal type firstly.
Vegetable puree – start from broccoli and other not colored vegetables. Milk porridge is also widespread meal for the 1st food feeding.
It is very important to know the amount of this or that meal you are going to feed your baby with.
It should be a single-component product: if it is porridge, choose only 1 cereal type; fruit or vegetables – use one type only!
Any product of the first food feeding goes before the main meal. That means – broccoli puree is aperitif, mom’s breast goes next. Gradually, increase food portion and reduce the milk.
Offer your baby new food once in a day until you replace this feeding with real food completely. Moreover, do not change a product and the time of feeding for the time being.
For example, it is very useful to feed your baby with mono-component milk porridge in the evening – it is thick and children sleep calmly up to the morning. Step-by-step increase the portion of the porridge and reduce the amount of milk till its complete substitution; then you can introduce a new product and the time for food intake. For example, vegetable puree is for dinner.
The Next New Product
Offer it 5-7 days after the previous product introduction. After cereals, curd and vegetable puree have already been tasted, start adding meat, fruits and juices.
Daily rate of the 1st feeding depends on the weight and height of a baby. Consult a pediatrician as to this question. Anyway, the daily rate of a new introduced product should be increased gradually. For instance, daily rate of a curd averages 5-10 gm at the very beginning; over half a year it goes up to 40-50 gm.
The Main Rules
It is not required to feed children aged under 6 months with a real food.
Criteria of the first food introduction are similar for all children.
Any product is given before the main meal. Give a new product as long as your baby is completely healthy. It is forbidden to introduce something new if your baby has a cold, rash, teething or after a vaccination. It is better to wait 3-4 days.
Some other external factors, such as, long-term flight, time zone changing, new faces, sharp temperature drop may affect your baby.
If your baby doesn’t want to eat, never force it! Offer this product in 10-14 days once again.
The First Pedagogical Food Comes Into Fashion
In general, a feeding method arose with a breast feeding one at the same time. The first pedagogical feeding method is when parents seat a baby round the table and give him a taste of adult food.
Most modern pediatricians are skeptical about breast feeding to involution and pedagogical feeding as it is risky and may provoke allergy or a baby can choke on something. Also such feeding is based on gastronomic lavish and diverse food, instead of feeding a baby with one single product for a certain period.
Doctor Komarovskii points that it is not harmful to feed a baby according to a pedagogical method. However, it is quite risky and experimentally, comparing with civilized and already proven feeding up system.
Cooked or Bought Products and Food?
All moms are interested in this question. Well, there is no unique answer whether to cook your own or purchase the baby food in a supermarket. There are too many factors to affect our choice: ecology, availability of fresh and clean products, your free time, way of life and other points. In order to answer this question, think over the products you are going to buy – are they fresh or contain chemical additives? Perhaps, it is better to buy baby food to be produced according to strict standards of quality? In case you go on a journey, it is also recommended to purchase baby food jars, which are perfectly stored till the time you open it. Of course, if you have your own kitchen garden, there is no need to spend money.
So, approach this question reasonably and feed your baby with clean and qualitative food. Today it is possible to provide our babies with a healthy meal cooked by ourselves and bought in supermarkets.
The 1st Calories and New Impressions!
A truism – a process should be safe and qualitative. Never force a baby to eat. No hurry and experiments. If your baby likes meat puree, it doesn’t mean it is time to offer a drumstick; Consult a pediatrician from time to time as to feeding process.
Besides, new food introduction is a new and fascinating stage in a baby’s life. One should keep in mind that the food is not only useful calories, vitamins and microelements – it is also a pleasure, especially, if your baby tastes it for the first time!
Opinion Poll: What Products Did You Use to Feed Your Baby?
- cultured milk foods (baby’s curd and kefir);
- special porridges for babies;
- vegetable puree;
- meat puree;
- fruit puree and juices.