New mothers are bombarded with child raising information from the moment they give birth. Doctors, nurses, grandparents and relatives all have advice to give and guidelines to follow. Starting a baby on a solid food diet is a common debate amongst new mothers. Some sources say it is quite fine to start babies on a solid food diet as early as three months. Others swear by allowing at least 6 months to pass.
The variety of information on this topic can prove confusing. Even physicians vary in their views regarding young babies and a solid food diet. Feeding a newborn solids sooner rather than later is a common misconception. Newborns are often hungry and can feed quite a few times a day. This often leads new mothers to believe that breast milk is not filling their child enough and might add bottle feeds and solid foods into their diet. However, this practice, especially at a very early age, is not entirely beneficial to the child.
Breastfeeding is also a topic that varies incredibly. Mother's milk contains colostrum which helps babies build up the natural defenses within their bodies needed to fend off disease and infection especially when fed to them within the first month of life. This vital nutrient helps strengthen them against diseases and infections. For mothers that choose to breastfeed their children within those early months will also find specialized bras, tops and dresses for breastfeeding available on the market. Braziers, tops and dresses for breastfeeding are readily available at maternity stores and baby supply shops.
Breastfeeding also promotes the bonding process between mother and child. It is probably the most intimate of moments with a newborn. After roughly four to six months, most doctors will advise mothers on whether it the best time to start their baby on solid foods. Some mothers prefer to wait the entire six months. Premature babies may need solid foods at an earlier date in order for their digestive systems to mature and as part of their development. Also, many babies are susceptible to allergies from specific foods. Consulting your pediatrician before making the big step is advised.
Many pediatricians and medical professionals will tell mothers to wait until their child has reached certain developmental goals versus waiting a specific amount of months. For instance, once a baby begins showing an interest in other foods and starts holding his or her head is a sign that they are ready for the transition to a solid food diet. Other signs that your baby may be ready for solid foods are if she or he has doubled his birth weight, tells you their full by turning their head away from a bottle or the breast and can sit up without assistance.
Once a parent has decided to switch to solid foods it is best to start off with a basic rice cereal, adding other soft foods and cereals gradually. Fruits and vegetables can also be added as early as six months. At around eight months, mothers can begin feeding their babies table foods like mashed potatoes and applesauce. At the nine month mark foods like yogurt and cheese are also considered safe additions.
All babies are different. While a mother's first child may have begun solid foods as early as five months, the next baby may not be the same. Each baby has their own unique time-line and matures at their own pace. While waiting for your child to begin developing and showing interest in solid foods, a normal breast andor bottle diet will suffice. Whenever unsure, parents should seek out the advice and expertise of their pediatrician especially regarding their children's nutrition, health and development.