The decision about what, when and how to introduce solid foods to babies have always being a great call for concern for new moms and old time moms alike which is often influenced by their cultural factors.
They often face;
when to introduce solids
what foods should be introduced and in what order
what texture the foods should be.
While it is advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) to exclusive breastfeeding of infants to around six months of age to provide optimal nutrition and health benefits. This delay is informed by the understanding that:
- An infant’s nutritional needs can be met by breast or formula milk until this age but not beyond (eg the iron requirements of children older than six months must be provided by solid foods like egg yolk, liver etc).
- Breastfeeding reduces diarrhoeal disease in children, which is particularly vital in developing economies for improving child survival
- Most children will be developmentally ready to accept solid foods by six months of age (that is; most children will be able to sit and have the tongue and head control needed to facilitate eating).
Signs that your baby is hungry and ready to start eating solid foods
- Getting excited when they see you getting their food ready
- Leaning towards you while they are sitting in the highchair
- Opening their mouth as you’re about to feed them.
- Loses the tongue thrust reflex that automatically pushes food out of his mouth.
- Still seems hungry even after getting a full day's portion of milk (eight to 10 breastfeedings or about 32 ounces of formula
Weaning From Breast-Feeding
When you choose to wean your baby, introduce either infant formula or cow's milk, depending on your baby's age. If your baby is under 12 months of age, wean from breast milk to iron-fortified infant formula. If your baby is 12 months or older, whole cow milk is appropriate.
Examples of appropriate complementary foods listed by age:
- Mashed banana, avocado or peeled cooked beans
- Cooked and pureed carrots, peas or sweet potato
- Ground, cooked, single-grain cereal (like rice, maize, acha(hungry rice), millet etc) or infant cereal with breast milk or formula
- Pureed mango
- Cooked and pureed meat or poultry
- Mashed egg yolk
- Peanut butter (groundnut paste) pureed with water
- Sliced and quartered bananas or small pieces of other soft fruits
- A variety of cooked vegetables cut into small pieces, such as squash and green beans
- Whole cooked beans
- Well-cooked, minced or finely chopped meat, poultry or fish
- Small pieces of fruit
- Small pieces of cooked vegetables
- Soft, shredded meat, poultry or fish
- Mixed food dishes the family is eating in appropriately sized pieces