As a new parent, feeding your baby can be a challenging experience, especially when it comes to introducing solid foods. At Fresh Veggies, we understand the importance of providing your precious one with a healthy and balanced diet. In this article, we'll discuss the process of feeding a baby with solid food from 6 months to 18 months.
Between 6 and 9 months, your baby is ready for solid food. It's essential to introduce new foods gradually and start with simple, single-ingredient purees such as sweet potato, squash, or applesauce. You can also include iron-fortified baby cereal like rice or oatmeal. Remember to introduce one new food at a time, waiting three to five days before introducing another to check for any allergic reactions.
Your baby will still be getting most of their nutrients from breast milk or formula, so don't worry if they don't eat much solid food initially. Gradually increase the amount of solid food you offer, but don't force your baby to eat if they're not interested.
Ensure that your baby is in an upright position when feeding them. You can use a high chair to help prevent choking and encourage good eating habits.
Below are a list of fruits and vegetables purees you can make for your baby;
- Honeydew melon
- Sweet potatoes
- Green beans
- Butternut squash
- Bell peppers
Between 9 and 12 months, your baby will start to develop more teeth and be able to handle more textured foods. You can start to introduce soft, mashed, or minced foods such as cooked vegetables, fruits, and meats. You can also introduce finger foods like soft, small pieces of ripe fruit, cooked vegetables, or soft cheese.
It's crucial to ensure that your baby is getting enough iron and other nutrients, so continue to offer iron-fortified cereal and iron-rich foods such as fish, beans, and tofu.
Offer your baby a variety of foods from each food group, including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Avoid offering sugary or salty foods as this can lead to unhealthy eating habits later on.
Introducing solid food to your baby from 9-12 months can bring several benefits for both your baby and you as a mother:
For the baby:
Nutrient intake: As your baby grows, their nutritional requirements increase. Introducing solid food at this stage can provide them with a wider range of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they need for healthy growth and development.
Motor skills: As your baby learns to eat solid food, they will develop their motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination, grasping, and biting, which are essential for self-feeding and later skills such as writing.
Communication skills: Mealtimes can provide a valuable opportunity for bonding and communication with your baby. By interacting with them, you can help them learn new words, sounds, and gestures that will support their language development.
As your baby starts to eat more solid food, you'll have more flexibility in meal planning. You can start to include your baby in family meals and offer them small portions of the same foods that you are eating, which can save time and effort.
Between 12 and 18 months, your baby will become more independent and want to feed themselves. You can offer more finger foods and encourage your baby to feed themselves with a spoon or fork.
At this age, your baby can eat most of the same foods as the rest of the family, as long as they are cut into small, bite-sized pieces. Avoid offering foods that are difficult to chew or swallow, such as popcorn, nuts, or hard candy.
Continue to offer a variety of healthy foods and encourage your baby to try new things. If your baby is a picky eater, don't worry too much, as this is normal at this age. Offer a variety of healthy foods and let your baby decide what they want to eat.
Introducing solid food to your baby between 12-18 months offers several benefits to their health and development. Here are some ways solid food can help during this age range:
Nutrient intake: As your baby's nutritional needs increase, solid foods can provide them with essential nutrients such as iron, protein, calcium, and healthy fats that are not found in breast milk or formula alone.
Development of chewing skills: As your baby starts to chew more solid foods, they develop their jaw and facial muscles, which helps with speech development and overall oral motor skills.
Improved digestion: As your baby's digestive system matures, solid foods can help promote healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation.
Appetite regulation: Introducing solid foods can help your baby learn to recognise and regulate their appetite, which can help prevent overeating or under-eating.
Variety in meals: Offering a variety of textures and flavors can help develop your baby's taste preferences and encourage healthy eating habits in the future.
P.S: Remember to introduce one new food at a time and wait for three to five days before introducing another food to check for any allergic reactions. Also, consult with your paediatrician if you have any concerns about your baby's diet.
To sum up, the introduction of solid foods to your baby is a thrilling milestone, but it is crucial to prioritise a healthy and well-balanced diet. It is important to follow these guidelines to ensure that your baby is getting the proper nutrients and is not at risk of choking. At Fresh Veggies Singapore, we provide a diverse selection of fresh and nutritious fruits and vegetables to assist you in providing the optimal diet for your child. Not only does the introduction of solid food benefit your little one, but it can also offer advantages to mothers in a few ways:
Easier feeding: As your baby starts to eat more solid food, they will require less breast milk or formula. This means that you will spend less time feeding them, and you'll have more time for other activities.
Less frequent feedings: As your baby's solid food intake increases, they will be able to go longer between feedings, which can give you more freedom to run errands, socialise, or catch up on some much-needed rest.
More variety in meals: Introducing solid food allows you to provide a wider variety of nutrients and flavors to your baby's diet, which can help develop their palate and encourage healthy eating habits in the future.
Bonding time: Feeding your baby solid food can be a great opportunity to bond with your little one. You can sit with them at the table and make mealtime a social experience, helping to foster a positive relationship with food.