When do babies start eating table food 6 months or 1 year: An ultimate guide for the mommies!
What’s up, Mommies?
Right from the baby’s delivery to every single achievement, parents can’t keep up but rejoice in the growing up of their child.
Every child learns thousands of things that may seem normal to a grown-up adult from being born until adolescence.
The process is never-ending, from learning to turn around on the bed and then sitting, crawling, walking, and eating.
Being a young toddler, giving up on trying is never an option. Every failure makes the baby put more effort till they achieve their target, and yes, they are stubborn when it comes to learning.
Being a parent and watching your child grow and learn new things is a wonder.
The process of growth and development is followed by an instinct, almost like they were already programmed for it.
But when it comes to feeding your child, it becomes a big task. Tolerating all their tantrums to understanding their demands is a great accomplishment indeed!
Every mommy has always wondered whether or not she is up to mark while taking care of her baby, whether the baby is eating properly or not, whether they are thirsty, or just crying for some other reason.
These questions are common and are usually unanswered.
If you are reading this article, you shall come to know what time is right for starting with the table food and what your baby is thinking and looking for.
As a newborn baby, every little thing right from the fan to a flying mosquito seems fascinating.
It takes time for the baby to understand and recognize the stuff present around them. Sitting up for eating is not an option as the baby can’t even hold their neck upright. Every sensory system present is constantly trying to react to every stimulus present around them.
Imagine how difficult it would be not to sit and see and smell and taste the food you are eating. It sounds pretty frustrating, right?
But need not worry, even this problem has a solution.
For the first six months of life, the baby has a boon that keeps his tummy full and provides nourishment. This is none other than breast milk. Yes, breastmilk is the complete pack of nutrients that a baby requires from birth till 6 months.
Even water is not an essential component of the diet. Everything is packed and delivered through breast milk.
Halfway to One!
Now the big question lies – what after six months? Should you continue breastfeeding your baby? Can you start with a milk substitute? Can you start with solid food? Or is it better to stick with breast milk?
All these questions are widespread and usually left answered.
But don’t worry, we have got your back. This article shall guide you through it all.
When to Switch?
When a baby is born, they have a set of reflexes that are not present in normal humans. These are termed primitive reflexes and are very important for breastfeeding to occur smoothly.
With the baby’s growth, say about six months from birth, the reflexes start to show. These reflexes are the rooting reflex that helps the baby open and attach the mouth to the nipple and the sucking reflex, which helps extract milk from the breast by the active efforts of the baby.
At about 6 to 9 months of age, these reflexes start to diminish, and the tongue-thrust reflex develops.
This reflex prevents the choking up of food pipe when an external object like a spoon is put inside their mouth. This is the time when moms should start feeding their children with a spoon. The age at which the rooting and sucking reflex diminishes and tongue thrust reflex develops varies from child to child.
Along with these reflexes, the baby can hold its neck up, which aids in eating solid food.
In case if the baby doesn’t show any of the above-mentioned developmental milestones, consulting a pediatrician is necessary.
My Way of Tackling the World!
The way a baby interacts with the world during the initial months of life is quite fascinating. They get attracted to bigger, brighter things quickly and move them around. All they want to do is pick little things and put them into their mouth. Every other object they see, they want to hold and then taste it. This is the way they analyze the stuff around them.
Babies should not be let down by saying that it’s not for them when it comes to food.
Every time you eat, the baby notices and gets excited. Next time you eat, see that the baby opens its mouth as soon as the food approaches yours. This clarifies that they are now willing to eat the food that belongs to your plate and sense it.
But is it appropriate to share your plate with them?
All I Need is Food!
A toddler is incapable of differentiating what is right and what is wrong for them.
This has to be taken care of by the parent. What you may think is appropriate to you may not be suitable for them. Every child has its own needs, but a few things are common for all, such as certain foods at a certain age.
So, as a parent, you must be aware at what age you should be feeding your child with what.
That’s My Food!
When starting with introducing food to your child, their reactions are worth recording.
It will be for the very first time when they will taste something out of their palate. Some may like it, some may not, some may demand more, and some may puke it out, indicating that it’s not their taste. No matter what, they will be judgmental and give you spontaneous reactions.
Does this mean you should start feeding them with those big chunks of fruits, vegetables, bread, and cereals?
The answer is a big no.
There is a way one must follow while introducing food to their child. The critical component is the consistency of the food that you give. For a child, it would be difficult to eat up food like hot dogs in the first go than breast milk or formula milk.
One must have a clear idea about the first foods and what all types of food belong to this category.
My First Food Diary!
While selecting the items for the first food, there are many vital components one must look for.
Here are some helpful tips:
- The food that you select should be soft and easy to swallow.
- It should fulfill the infant’s diet and provide complete nourishment to the child.
- It should not be degraded and must be fully cooked.
- It should be a mandatory part of the dietary guidelines provided by the doctor.
- It could be a single food item, or multiple foods can be given.
- It should be easy to digest.
When Do Babies Start Eating Table Food?
Usually, when starting with first foods, baby food like breast milk or formula milk should be given in the initial days.
Breast milk should be then be substituted with cow’s milk. Cow’s milk is readily available. It should be boiled and cooled down completely before giving it to the child. For a young child, cow’s milk is very nutritious.
It aids in digestion and has a laxative effect, thus enhancing gut health. Also, the byproducts of the cow’s milk, like cottage cheese, can come in the later stage.
This food can be given through a sippy cup, or spoon-feeding is recommended.
While giving food using a sippy cup, it should be washed and sterilized correctly.
How to sterilize my sippy cup?
The old traditional way still used and recommended worldwide is dipping the cup in hot boiling water and cooling it completely. But this is very time-consuming and risky.
With the ever-advancing technology, electric steam sterilizers are now available and easy to use.
Something New, Please!
Toddlers quickly get bored by eating the same type of food. They wish to eat anything and everything in their reach. This is beneficial as it helps the child develop a palate and adjust to all types of food.
Thus it is advised to keep on rotating the food items daily. Also, feeding skills matter a lot while introducing solid foods to the child.
Now it’s time to level up the eating habits of the child. A new type of food is on its way.
It’s time to start with semi-solid or soft foods.
The Actual Food!
The food that belongs in this category could be anything but soft and tender. Usually, pureed foods and mashed foods are given.
The easy way to prepare this is:
Step 1. Select the food item you wish to give to the child.
Step 2. Boil it if it is a vegetable and grind it into a puree with no lumps. You can add water to reduce its consistency and make it easy to swallow.
Step 3. If it is a fruit, grind it with water and prepare a slurry out of it.
The food items could be:
- Mashed potatoes
- Raw vegetables like carrots, beetroot. Make sure that you wash them properly before preparing them.
- Canned foods can also be used, but fresh and seasonal varieties are recommended.
- Cream cheese and peanut butter can also be given.
- Mashed banana is one of the earliest food items given to the child.
- Green beans
- Raw carrots can also be given when the baby’s teeth start to erupt. This helps combat the pain and itchiness that occurs during the process.
- Raw fruits can also be given.
- A ripe avocado is one of the excellent food choices.
- Well-cooked vegetables that are pureed also work.
Such prepared food items should be given along with first foods. These food items belong to the “other foods” category differentiating them from the first foods. It should probably be given during the daytime and avoided during the night.
Let’s Start Eating Table Food
Table food is the food items that are given during a complete meal.
Table food is usually cooked food and can be a combination of various food items.
Being an adult, it is easy to find table food for ourselves, but for a young toddler, it isn’t easy and requires a lot of research.
The table food for toddlers should include the following food items:
1. Rice cereal
Usually, iron-fortified rice cereal is recommended.
2. Infant cereals
Infant cereals are soft as compared to adult cereals and are specially made for newborn babies.
3. Soft meat
The meat should be washed and cooked properly. Raw meat or undercooked meat makes it difficult for the child to eat and digest.
4. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious and high in fibre. It has a naturally sweet flavour and can be easily stored in the kitchen. It is one of the readily available mashed foods.
5. Ragi flour and Nachni flour
The grains of Ragi and Nachni should be powdered finely. They should then be cooked with water to form semi-solid food.
These are rich in calcium and aid in bone growth. They also help with curing leg pain which is common in growing children.
Oats are rich in fibres. They can be prepared either with a sweet or salty taste. Oats are a must in a child’s table foods list.
These food items can be given till the child attains the age of 1 year and above.
Am I Finger Food Ready?
When it comes to finger food, many people get confused regarding what it is.
Finger food is nothing but bite-sized food that babies can quickly grasp.
But the question is when to introduce your child to finger food?
The answer to this question lies in the grasping power of the child.
When a child grows, certain milestones are desired to be attained by a particular age.
A six-month-old child has a mass grasp which means he uses his entire palm and fingers to hold and analyze an object.
By the age of almost 1 year, the child attains pincer grasp.
This grasp plays an essential role as it helps hold minute small objects like pencils, chalk, spoon, and even their foods.
This is the time when the child should start with finger food eating.
Finger food includes cherry tomatoes, single-grain cereals, whole grapes, or any other bite-sized food items.
While eating finger-sized foods, one must be aware that the chances of choking are prevalent.
With the ability to eat finger food, the child shall attain the knowledge of self-feeding.
Self-feeding is a remarkable milestone in a child’s growth and developmental process.
A self-feed baby tends to eat appropriately and gains a sense of independence.
What is Happening to Me?
Now comes the most crucial part of the article.
The Food Allergy:
When it comes to allergy, one must be concerned about it. Most babies tend to have specific food allergies like egg allergies, peanut allergies, peanut butter allergies, and even milk and milk-related products. This leads to allergic reactions.
If either parent or any close relative is allergic to certain food items, the baby can inherit this.
The potentially allergenic foods are:
1. Egg – is a complete pack of all the essential proteins many babies tend to have egg allergies. This food should be avoided at any cost.
2. Peanut – peanut is the most common ingredient that many children are allergic to. Even a tiny amount of peanut can induce allergy. While eating any packed food item, reading the behind-given information is very important.
Many food items are processed in a factory that even processes for peanuts simultaneously. Such food items should be avoided.
3. Milk and milk products – In recent years, it has been noted that allergies relating to milk and milk products have been increasing at an alarming rate. Milk products like cottage cheese, cream cheese, curd can also cause allergies.
Thus alternative to milk is in great demand. Soy milk and almond flour milk are possible substitutes for natural milk.
Some foods can cause common problems like:
- Runny nose
- Pain in abdomen
- Itching around mouth and nose
- Skin hives
- Skin rashes
- Loud cry
- Change in eating habits
- Difficulty in breathing
- Unable to sleep properly
I Am Full!
While switching from breast milk to solid food, hurdles are all around. But it is a slow and gradual process and shall become easy with time. While starting solid foods, one must even train the child to have healthy eating habits. The child should be made to sit upright and straight while eating.
The child should be made to sit on a comfortable table and chair.
Usually, it is better to train a child to eat with the family members at the dining table. This will help the child socialize and learn good habits.
The child should have a healthy diet and eat every type of food.
In case if there are chances for developing allergic reactions potentially, allergenic food items should be avoided.
A clear idea of what type of food is to be given at what time should be acknowledged. As a child crosses the age of 6-7 months, solid foods or table foods can be introduced in appropriate amounts.
6-7 months is the ideal case, but it can be different for your child. So, always see what is working for your child at what age and proceed accordingly.
By the end of this article, I hope you got the answer to the question “when do babies start eating table food.”
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