Most pediatric doctors recommend new mothers introduce solid food to their newborn babies only after they are 6 months old.
In the early stages, it is recommended to feed Your Child with breast milk. One of the reasons is that mother’s milk holds all the nutritional value that babies need for their growth during this stage. It is also easy for babies to digest during the first six months of life.
Why it is important to wait for six months?
Breast milk can provide Your Child with numerous benefits over solid foods.
Nutritional value – It is obvious that for a growing baby, Breast milk offers more nutritional value as compared to solid food. Foods that are rich in calories can also lead to conditions like obesity.
Breast milk is easy to swallow and digest – Breast milk can easily be swallowed by a baby who is below six months of age. Solid foods may have to be churned perfectly which would still be too difficult to digest.
Solid foods pose high risks – Breast milk holds the right amount of nutrition that a growing baby needs. If you implement solid food at an early age, it can increase the risk of developing heart-related conditions in later stages. These types of food can also cause allergic reactions if not digested properly. Other conditions that can develop in later stages may include diabetes.
What if Your Child is still hungry?
During the first six months, it is necessary that you only give Your Child breast milk. It offers immunity against diseases and illnesses. Once Your Child has reached six months of age then the little one might want more milk than you could produce.
For such cases, you can try and include formula. This will help to satisfy the hunger and offer nutrition.
When will Your Child be ready for solid foods?
Most babies are only ready for solid foods once they have crossed the age of 7 months. This is also the right age when the little one will be able to digest mashed solid foods. Before this age, babies may also not be able to chew solid foods even when mashed perfectly, and that’s about the same time when the teeth start to show. Then, you can try adding solid food 1 meal per day.
In case the baby is eight or nine months old, then food supplements can be included along with breastmilk and mashed food. There are a variety of such supplements available in the market that is also FDA approved. In the initial stages, you can try and introduce an iron-fortified supplement that is a genuine replacement for breast milk formula. Along with mashed fruits and vegetables.
It is also advisable that whole grains should, in fact, be avoided until Your Child stops drinking breast milk. Whole grains can increase the chances of food choking for babies at a younger age.
Dr. Piyawut Kreetapirom, MD. (31 March 2021)