The Key to Starting Solid Foods

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Release time:2023-11-03 10:56

The Key to Starting Solid Foods


A baby's introduction to solid foods is a phased process with different requirements at each stage. Starting at around 4 to 6 months and continuing until around 1 year or 1.5 years, the stages are divided into Early Introduction, Mid-Introduction, Late Introduction, and the Conclusion of Introduction. There's also a preparatory phase, occurring around 2-3 months, although it's not always categorized as part of the solid food stages.


Preparatory Phase


The preparatory phase refers to the stage just before the Early Introduction phase. During this time, your baby is accustomed to breast milk or formula, which provides substantial nourishment for growth. However, babies are quite open to different flavors during this period. You can introduce some rice soup, fruit juice, and vegetable juice to allow your baby to explore different tastes and prepare them for accepting pureed foods during the Early Introduction phase.


You should look for signs that your baby is ready for solid foods, such as increased drooling, continued sucking even after feeding, consuming more than 1000 mL of milk per day, or showing excitement when watching adults eat and trying to grab their utensils. When you notice these signs, it's time to start introducing solid foods.


Early Introduction (Whole Swallow Period)


In the Early Introduction phase, most foods are in a semi-liquid form. This includes rice porridge, rice porridge with finely chopped vegetables or fruits, or pureed vegetables and fruits. Eggs yolks, mashed with potatoes or bananas, can also be added to provide energy for the baby.


This stage is often referred to as the "Whole Swallow Period" because babies in this stage still rely primarily on milk. They continue to suckle for nourishment, and they don't need to chew or grind the food. You'll need to make sure that the food is soft, runny, and in small quantities because babies aren't accustomed to swallowing solid foods yet. If the food is too thick or chunky, they may push it out with their tongue or potentially choke. Even if they accept the food, their digestive system may not immediately adapt to the nature of solid foods, leading to issues like diarrhea or constipation.


In the Early Introduction phase, it's important not to force the baby to eat. One meal per day is enough, with a portion size of about 30-40 grams. You can choose the time for introducing solid foods, except for early morning and evening feedings. The milk quantity should remain unchanged, matching what your baby consumed before starting solids. If the baby seems hungry after consuming solid foods, you can offer a little more milk.


Even though it's not necessary to push the baby to eat more, it's equally important not to give up easily. Be patient and persistent, as your baby may have the desire to eat solids but might lack the skills to do so. Initially, your baby may inadvertently push the food out with their tongue or even spit it out. They don't yet know how to use their tongue and gums to manipulate food, and when a thicker or lumpier food enters their mouth, they might struggle to swallow it and push it back out.


Therefore, it's common to see "messy faces" during this stage. Parents often need to scrape the food from the baby's mouth corners and re-feed it. Some parents might feel frustrated when they begin feeding, thinking that their baby doesn't like the food. As a result, they may switch to a different type of solid food. However, parents should feed the baby a particular type of food at least five or six times to determine if the baby truly doesn't like it before considering an alternative.


During the Early Introduction phase, be cautious with eggs, grains, and milk, as these are the three types of foods that can most commonly trigger allergies in babies. You can introduce grains and milk in a diluted form, but eggs should be started at a small quantity (about 1/4 of a yolk) and gradually increased to 1/2, 3/4, and finally a whole yolk. If you find that your baby develops an allergic reaction or eczema from eating eggs, you should stop for a while and observe carefully. It's essential not to jump to conclusions and attribute the allergic reaction solely to egg consumption, as egg yolks are highly nutritious.


Quick Tips


During the Early Introduction phase, your baby can eat rice porridge, melon puree, bean puree, tofu puree, vegetable leaf puree, fruit puree, and egg yolks (starting with 1/4 of a yolk).


Avoid giving your baby wheat-based foods, meat, shrimp, egg whites, and honey during this phase.


Be cautious when introducing fish.


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