If your 6-month-old is ready to start solid foods, you may be wondering just how to do it.
At 6 months your baby should be ready to start eating solids. But you’re probably wondering what the recommended feeding schedule for your 6-month-old should be? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one and we’re here to help with a recommended feeding schedule for your 6-month-old baby.
First things first, at this early age breast milk or formula is still the primary source of nutrition for your baby. Solid foods are just meant for practice at this stage and you should take things slowly. Don’t worry if your little one only takes a few mouthfuls at first, it’s perfectly normal, and the development of each baby will vary.
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Before you even think of starting solids make sure that your baby can hold their head up independently, is showing some interest in your food and has some kind of hand to mouth co-ordination. Prepare small amounts of food, and introduce them slowly once you have already breast or bottle fed. Try introducing a regular, ‘family’ mealtime where you start trying to introduce solids three times a day.
The following is a list of foods you can slowly try and introduce:
Cereals like oatmeal or brown rice have the advantage that they add iron to your baby’s diet, which is great for growth. Not all babies will take cereal, but it’s important to try. Mix with a little water at first – don’t waste your precious breast milk as there’s a chance it will land up anywhere but in your baby’s mouth! Don’t worry if your baby skips the cereal phase.
Soft raw or cooked fruits can be a great starter food. Introduce them individually at first to make sure there is no unwanted reactions. Once you have established that your baby has had no negative reactions (normally after 3 days of introducing something new) you can start making your own combination purees. Bananas are a great first food and full of wholesome goodness.
Soft cooked veggies make great beginner finger food. Again start with introducing them individually before you make your homemade baby food combinations. Cut them up into small chunks and steam your veggies to retain all the natural goodness. Soft cooked veggies like pumpkin, sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots and peas all work really well and you should find that your baby eats them up.
Be careful of introducing dairy into your baby’s diet before 6 months, especially cow’s milk. Yogurt can be blended with a soft fruit puree from around 6 months as a breakfast offering, which your baby should enjoy. Like anything else keep an eye out for adverse reactions, and stop feeding your baby anything which may be the cause.
What Shouldn’t I Feed My Baby?
There are a few types of food that you shouldn’t be feeding your baby at such an early age. These may cause an allergic reaction, an infection or they may be a choking hazard!
It may sound strange but cow’s milk should not be given to a young baby. Babies can’t digest cow’s milk as completely or easily as breast milk or formula. Cow’s milk contains high concentrations of protein and minerals, which can cause a problem for your baby’s still growing kidneys.
Raw honey can cause botulism in young baby’s which can be quite frightening. Botulism is an illness which causes a bacteria to produce toxin within the body which can affect the nervous system. It’s a rare reaction, but it’s better to wait until your infant is at least 12 months old before introducing raw honey.
It may sound obvious, but hard foods such as pieces of raw carrot can be a choking hazard. Not so obvious are thinks like whole grapes. Never leave a 6 month old baby unsupervised when introducing solids.
Yep, you should even avoid 100% fresh fruit juices! Why you may ask? Even 100% fresh fruit juices contain a lot of sugar which is to be avoided at such a young age. Avoid adding sugar to any of your infants foods! Excessive sugar intake at an early age has been linked to childhood obesity in children as young as 5 or 6 years old. Please avoid.
For more information about food safety, please check out Cherub Baby’s page about starting solids and food safety here.
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When Do I Feed My Baby?
As for any new baby, our recommended feeding schedule for your 6-month-old is only a recommendation, and every baby will develop differently. Solids should only be started at 6 months old as your baby’s main source of nutrition is still coming from breast milk or formula. Remember to take things slowly and not to push your child into eating solids. Start by breast or formula feeding and then introduce a small amount of solid food. They’ll be more interested when they’re not starving! Remember every baby is a little individual and they will have their own likes and dislikes. Try to start scheduling regular feeding times and let them eat as much or as little as they want.
How Do I feed My Baby?
Make sure your baby is sitting upright and is secured in his or her high chair. Things will get messy so make sure you have towels and bibs at hand. If you are feeding your little one a puree, put a little on a spoon, hopefully they will happily take the spoon in their mouths. Never force your baby to eat.
More and more parents are trying the Baby Led Weaning approach to starting solid foods. Baby Led Weaning is where parents skip the spoon feeding and go straight to baby feeding themselves with finger foods. There is no right or wrong way to introducing solids so do what works for you and your baby.
Most importantly, try and get into a routine and even try to work around family meal times. Studies have shown that eating together strengthens family bonds and a child’s development.