While the commonly recommended time to introduce solids to a baby is 6 months or later, some babies, including premature babies, may need more than breast milk or formula at 4 months. The pediatrician may recommend that you introduce solids in the form of baby-food vegetables or cereal into the baby's diet. A baby who is ready to start eating solid foods will start to show interest in the foods you eat, and you will notice him watching you as eat.
Items you will need
- Rice cereal, iron-fortified
- Breast milk, formula or water
- Baby spoon
Start with iron-fortified rice cereal and move on to mixed or other flavors later. Rice is a good starting cereal for babies because it is easy to digest. Do not add sugar or salt or any other solids to the rice cereal.
Measure out slightly more than your baby will need, since some will be spilled, dribbled and dropped. Start with a little more than 1 tbsp. The first time you feed a baby cereal will be more of a tasting than a feeding. Introducing one bite of cereal to the baby may be enough for the first time. Follow up the cereal with your normal breastfeeding, bottled breast milk or formula feeding.
Mix the cereal with breast milk, formula or water. Try a 5-to-1 ratio of liquid to cereal. For the first feeding, mix 4 to 5 tbsp. of liquid with the 1 tbsp. of rice cereal. The mixture should be runny and thin, not thick. The cereal itself will puff up a bit and thicken when liquid is added. Add more liquid if the cereal is too thick. Warm the liquid before adding it to the cereal if your baby is accustomed to breast milk or warmed formula.
Put a small amount of baby cereal onto a baby spoon. Touch the spoon to the baby's mouth. Babies who who are ready to start eating solids will not push the cereal out of their mouths. Do not force the food into the baby's mouth when introducing solids.
Feed the baby mixed cereal once a day, increasing the amount of cereal you mix. As the weeks progress, make the cereal thicker by decreasing the amount of liquid.
Introduce pureed vegetables at 7 to 9 months, depending on the baby's needs and pediatrician advice. The vegetables can be mixed in with the cereal. Introducing vegetables before sweet fruits will help your baby accept the blander vegetable flavor and make the child more apt to eat vegetables later.
- Leave the bottle out of sight while trying to feed the baby cereal for the first time.
- Discard uneaten cereal and make a fresh batch for each feeding time.
- Never add cereal to a baby's bottle. That poses a choking hazard.
- Do not feed any solids including cereal to a baby who cannot yet support the weight of her own head while sitting.
- Do not add sugar to the cereal and never add honey to any food for a baby under the age of 1.
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