When becoming a parent, there’s many aspects to raising a child you’ll need to learn. One of those things is knowing what food to feed your baby and at what age it is appropriate to give it to them. This can be overwhelming at times because you only want what’s best for your little one, however it doesn’t have to be. Try giving your baby only one food at a time. This drastically helps in discovering whether or not your baby has any allergic reactions, digestive system issues, or lactose intolerance to various food groups. As WebMD states, you should be starting your baby on solid foods around 6 months of age. This is your opportunity to introduce them to the differing textures and tastes of food but it is also the time for you to safely test out allergens.
What To Feed Your Baby
When transitioning your baby to solids at 6 months, try introducing fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains to start but always be cautious of anything that could be a choking hazard. Your baby will give you signs of readiness once they want to start weaning off of formula.
Babies are naturally inclined to like sweeter tastes, so don’t get frustrated if they reject the bitter taste of vegetables at first. It may take them up to 12 months to finally adjust to less sweet flavors but don’t give up, instead try preparing the foods in different ways. Be sure to always soften the food before serving it to your baby and consider the various ways in which you can prepare it: sauteed, boiled, pureed, etc. As shared in March of Dimes, it will become easier for your baby to chew at about 8 to 12 months of age.
How to Start Baby Led Weaning
So, how should you even begin weaning your baby into solid foods and what foods should you try out first?
It is very important to acquaint your baby with different foods that can provoke an allergic reaction in a safe way. You need to present these foods to your baby in very small doses and one at a time so you’re able to identify any negative reaction right away. Some food to consider introducing your baby to include:
- Cow’s milk (mixed with other food such as softened cereal or in with your cooking)
- Foods containing gluten or wheat
- Fish / Shellfish
- Eggs (make sure these are fully cooked before serving)
Apart from trying out common allergens, you should explore assorted vegetables, fruits, protein foods, starchy foods and dairy products. Depending on your baby’s age, you’ll want to introduce foods at different times, have them prepared in different ways, and served in varied portions. Babies at 6 months should not be eating the same amount of food as babies who are 7-9 months, 10-12 months, or 12+ months old. Once they hit the 7-9 month mark, you’ll slowly be moving towards 2-3 meals a day.
It’s also helpful to keep in mind any travel plans you may have when your baby is still at this young age. Some diaper bags and backpacks have extremely useful features for moms and dads who are on-the-go but need to carry around several foods and bottles. Finding one with multiple insulated pockets is the most ideal for keeping your baby’s food and/or formula in pristine condition for when they are ready to feed again.
Another feeding essential to have if your baby is still nursing is a nursing cover. This allows moms to breastfeed their babies in any location necessary, whether that’s in a public park or at a family gathering, and in a completely private way. Nursing covers serve as multifunctional canopies that you’re able to put over your car seat, high chair, shopping cart, etc.
Trying Out Ice Cream
Ok, so let’s dive in and really answer the question of whether or not you can give your baby ice cream.
If you are considering feeding your baby ice cream, be aware that allergies to dairy products are common. The CDC states that it is safe to introduce your baby to ice cream at 6 months but recommend you wait until they are two years old. This is due to concern of feeding your little one too much added sugar and artificial sweeteners at such a young age. As mentioned earlier, you also need to be extremely careful and know the signs of when your baby may be having an allergic reaction to ice cream (or other food groups in general). Some of the most common symptoms of having an allergic reaction are swollen lips and/or eyes, diarrhea, vomiting and skin rash development.
There are two specific ingredients you should look out for when deciding which ice cream to give to your baby as well – honey and added sugar. Honey can be dangerous for your baby before they are 12 months of age because it can possibly cause food poisoning known as botulism.
So, that might sound a bit scary but it’s necessary for parents to be aware of the pros and cons of introducing their baby to ice cream. On the other hand, there are benefits to ice cream because it is so rich in calcium and calcium helps build strong bones. There are also plenty of alternatives if you’re worried the added sugar in ice cream is too much for your baby’s digestive system. Consider finding healthier options such as frozen yogurt or yogurt melts. These are a great sweet treat for them to enjoy without all the unneeded artificial ingredients and sugar.