Whether it is a commercial jar of baby food or your own homemade version whipped up in a blender, the introduction of pureed foods is an exciting time for mother and baby. What month you begin the process depends on a variety of factors including when your pediatrician suggests that your baby is ready, keeping in mind that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk as the sole source of nutrition for your baby until he is 6 months old.
1. 6 to 8 Months
Around the age of 6 to 8 months, babies begin to show signs that they are ready to start taste testing pureed foods. Before this time, their little digestive system is not yet ready for the task. According to the AAP, a baby is ready to start eating pureed foods when he is able to sit up with support, control his head, opens his mouth at the sight of food, and then pushes food from the spoon to his throat and then swallow. He should also have doubled his weight since birth or at least weigh 13 pounds or more. Check with your pediatrician to see if your baby is ready for his first taste of strained goodness.
2. Getting Started
Pureed foods should have a smooth and runny texture. Start with pureed fruits, vegetables and meats -- the order of introduction does not matter. The AAP suggests offering your baby half a spoonful or less to start, gradually increasing the amount over time. Allow your baby to test one food at a time, at least three times a week. This makes it easier to determine which, if any, to which any foods your child may have an allergy.
3. 9 Months
Eventually, the taste testing is over and babies begin to fall into a regular eating routine of their favorite purees. According to the AAP, by 9 months, most babies begin to eat three times a day, with two to three snacks in between. Breast milk or bottled formula supplements these three pureed meals up to age 1. You may want to try helping your baby use a sippy cup during this time, too.
Certain foods should be on your list of things to avoid when starting your baby on pureed foods. Honey poses a botulism risk and you should not give your child honey before age 1, according to the AAP. Foods known to cause allergies include dairy foods and pureed meats, fish, eggs and peanut butter, and could cause a reaction in your baby. If your child shows signs of a reaction such as rash, hives, swelling or redness around the eyes or wheezing, discontinue the feeding and seek medical attention immediately.
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