Each kid is unique and this is the case even with food. Most children are real excited to try out new foods (and some not so much). This can leave parents confused about whether they are doing something wrong.
If you are one of those confused or worried parents, here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about introducing your baby to solid foods.
Q1) When should my baby start a solid diet?
Babies start developing enzymes to digest solid food from the age of 3 months. They become fully functional by the time they are 6 months old. It is advised to start giving solid foods to them only when they are 6 months old, so that they don’t develop any allergy to the food offered and can digest it properly and gain the nutrients required.
Q2.) Should I give solid foods before or after the usual milk feed?
You should offer solid food only after the regular milk/formula feed. Milk is still the main source of nutrition for babies in the age range of 6-12 months, so continue to feed them milk along with the solid food until they are at least 12 months old.
Q3.) If my baby has no teeth yet, should I still give him/her solid food?
Yes, you should. Some babies may not even develop teeth till they turn 12 months old, so you shouldn’t wait till their teeth come out. Babies have strong jaws and gums by the time they are 6 months old. You can see for yourself by placing your finger in their mouth. Just give them cooked/boiled foods that are soft and easy to eat.
Q4.) My baby does not seem to want solid food. What do I do?
Keep trying! Give a gap after their milk or formula feeding, so they get hungry. Try offering the solid food to them at least 10 times. Experiment with other solid foods as well. They will eventually start accepting the solid food.
Q5.) My baby isn’t eating enough. What do I do?
At the start, babies generally don’t eat more than a few tablespoons a day. They will gradually start eating more as they get used to it. Try leaving a gap of one hour after feeding them milk before offering the solid food. Due to hunger, he/she may eat more of the solid food.
Q6.) Will my baby be allergic to it?
Babies develop allergies mainly due to family history or when you introduce common allergenic foods to them before the age of 4 months. If you introduce them to these foods after the age of 6 months, however, it can make them less prone to allergy. Keep track of allergies by offering only one new food at a time.
Q7.) My baby is constipated. What do I do?
It is normal for babies to start excreting solid stools when starting their solid food diet. Make sure to include fruit, veggies and multigrain cereals to increase the fiber content in their diet, as this will ensure they don't get constipated.
Q8.) My toddler prefers to snack all day rather than sit for bigger meals. Is this okay?
No, you would have to regulate their meal and snack timings - 3 proper meals and 2 snacks are okay. You can do so by sitting your toddler down at meal times with you. Toddlers have tiny tummies and even tinier attention spans. So, ensure they are not walking about while eating and are paying attention to what they eat. Also, during snack time, offer healthy foods that you would serve at regular mealtimes.