One of the major questions all new parents have is: "When should I start feeding solid foods to my baby?"
Although many pediatricians recommend introducing a baby to their first foods between 4 to 6 months, the World Health Organization (WHO) currently recommends that no solid foods be introduced to baby until they have reached 6 months of age. Be sure to talk over any concerns you have with your child's pediatrician about starting solid foods.
What are some of the main reasons the WHO recommends waiting until Baby is at least 6 months old for their first foods?
1. Very young babies have poor control of their throat and tongue muscles. This makes swallowing difficult and can cause choking or gagging.
2. The tongue thrust reflex is still strong and can make solid feeding difficult.
3. The risk of Allergies increases if baby's first foods are introduced too soon.
4. Early feeding can contribute to obesity later in life.
Sometimes you will receive advice from well-meaning relatives, who think the baby will sleep through the night sooner if their stomachs are stuffed. But keep in mind that when this was a pattern years ago, not much information was available about the development of allergies, and this is one of the main reasons you don't want to start baby on solids too early.
Within a few months of starting solid foods, your baby’s daily diet should include a variety of foods each day that may include the following:
* Breast milk and/or formula
* Eggs and fish
Do remember, however, that there are certain foods that a baby must NEVER be fed prior to 1 year old. Babies under 1 year of age should not be given:
* Honey (even if the food will be cooked) or foods with Honey in them
* Tree Nuts and Other Nuts (like Walnuts, Pecans, etc.)
* Peanut Butter
Milk should not be introduced until your baby is 1 because milk does not contain iron which could lead to iron deficient anemia and because some babies have difficulty digesting cow's milk.
Milk based products, like cheese and yogurt, can be given to babies between 9-12 months of age unless your child has signs of allergies or a family member had milk allergies, then it is best to wait until your child is at least a year old.
Other foods that should be avoided because they could cause an allergic reaction
* Products containing Wheat
* Citrus Fruits