Parents are oftentimes eager to try something new for their baby. This excitement often leads parents to want to hasten their baby’s developmental milestones, instead of waiting for it to happen. A classic example would be parents trying to feed their babies food that does not yet suit the infant’s age. Some mothers think that feeding their babies with solids will help them gain weight quickly. This is often the case of parents who think their baby is small for their age. But doing so can have detrimental effects on the child. What every parent should know is that there are age-appropriate foods they can give to ensure their babies’ health and safety. This article aims to answer feeding-related questions of many mothers out there, such as when can I put rice in my baby’s bottle.
When you feed a baby, you have to think of their limitations. Not only do babies lack teeth for eating, but their gut system is not yet fully prepared to accept all kinds of food. Because of this, parents should make sure their babies eat only what they ought to, in relation to their age and capacity to digest foods. Here is a simple guide for mothers on what food to prepare for their babies as they grow and other information that would certainly help parents understand their baby’s nutritional needs.
0-6 Months of Age
From the moment a baby is born until a few months in life, the baby’s diet should cater to his/her nutritional needs and be ideal for the digestive system to avoid allergies.
What to Feed the Baby
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. A mother’s milk contains all the nutrients and calories the baby needs during this time. Breast milk contains the ideal nourishment the baby needs, such as proteins, vitamins, and fat. It is also a great source of antibodies that help your baby ward off infections caused by viruses and bacteria. That is why when it comes to the best food recommended for babies 0-6 months, nothing can top a mother’s milk. But if, for some reason, a mother fails to provide breast milk, formula milk can be an alternative.
Breastfeeding should be done on a per demand basis. Give your child breast milk as often as the baby wants. If timing concerns you, the interval between breastfeeding should not be more than 4 hours but with some leeway, at night for mothers to rest. As the child nears the 6th month, the baby will now shod readiness in accepting solid food. And so you may ask, when can I put rice in my baby’s bottle? To find out the answer, read on.
7 Months Onwards
While there is no definite time as to when a baby can be fed with solids, but the consensus is that it’s safer when the child turns seven months old. Some babies become ready for solid food earlier, around 4-6 months, while others later, at around 6-8 months.
The following reflexes and responses can determine the readiness of the baby:
- Ability to hold head up without support and can sit up straight in a highchair. This is an important milestone as it will be risky for a child who can’t sit to be eating solid foods. They may become prone to choking.
- Improved weight and should weigh at least 13 lbs. Increasing weight means a child can digest food well. A child whose digestive tract is not ready or may have problems may show signs of wasting. It may be necessary to have the baby checked before introducing more foods.
- The child can now close his/her mouth a spoon. It’s crucial as it shows that the child is ready to cooperate with the feeding.
- Another developmental milestone that signals a child’s readiness for solid food is when the baby can thrust it to the back of the mouth.
What to Feed the Baby
You’d probably ask when can I put rice in my baby’s bottle? Is it now safe to add rice to a baby’s diet at six months?
At six months, the general rule says it should be safe to give the baby some solid foods, such as rice and cereals. However, mothers are discouraged from using baby bottles. When feeding solids or semi-solids, it is best to use a spoon. That is why we mentioned early on to test the child’s ability to work with a spoon. Here are the foods suitable for your child beyond six months of age.
- Pureed vegetables such as sweet potatoes and squash
- Pureed fruits like apples, bananas, peaches
- Pureed chicken, pork, and beef meat
- Iron-fortified semi-solid cereal
- Unsweetened yogurt in scanty amount
Take note though of foods that can cause allergies. Pediatricians warn mothers on the early introduction of foods that can trigger allergies such as eggs, wheat, soy, and nuts. When you introduce these foods to your baby for the first time, do it gradually and observe for reactions. If your child has special dietary requirements due to metabolic disorders, it is best to consult a pediatrician for guidance before introducing food at any given age. And aside from asking ‘when can I put rice in my baby’s bottle,’ you may want to know more about your child’s dietary requirements. Know more about baby diet.
Parents should understand that feeding the baby should not be solely based on their decision, but should be based on the child’s nutritional needs and the capacity to digest the food. Although a parent can sometimes be only more concern in asking questions like ‘when can I put rice in my baby’s bottle,’ there are more things you need to know about feeding requisites. This is to ensure that your child is getting the maximum benefits from the food you introduce and make way for a safe and healthy food habit of your child as they continue to grow.