When the baby is born what type of food can you or do you feed it?
Breastmilk or formula provide all the nutrition baby needs for the first 6 months. Before 6 months of age, baby’s digestive tract is not ready to tolerate any type of solid food, including infant cereal (which should never be offered in a bottle!). Signs that baby is ready for solid food include the ability to hold her head up, sit up on her own or with little assistance, turn her head from side to side, and when she has lost the tongue-thrust reflex. Babies who are not yet ready for foods still have a tongue-thrust reflex in place, and when food is put on their tongue, they will stick their tongue back out to spit out the food. That’s their way of saying “I’m not ready yet.”
Once baby is ready, around 6 months, their first solid food should provide iron. Examples include plain, pureed meat or iron-fortified infant cereal. Once baby learns to eat their first solid food, you can continue introducing new foods like vegetables, fruits and grains. Read labels to ensure the baby food does not contain added sugars or salt, and stay away from “baby desserts”. Introduce new foods, one at a time, waiting at least 3 days in between to help you identify the cause of any food allergies.
Because all babies are unique, your pediatrician may need to adjust these recommendations to fit your baby’s growth and eating patterns. For more information, visit http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/default.aspx.
This post was written by Monica Griffin, MS, RD, LD.