Once their babies are around the 6-month-old mark, parents hear many conflicting opinions about what to feed them. Expert guidelines recommend that babies exclusively consume breast milk or formula (or a combination of the two) until they’re 6 months old. Once your baby shows developmental readiness and does start solids, it seems that everybody has an idea about how you should introduce them. Here’s what experts in infant nutrition want you to keep in mind.
Cereal doesn’t belong in a bottle.
Infant cereals may seem more like watery gruel than actual cereal, but having your baby drink them does present a choking risk. Instead, use a small spoon and a bowl, and feed your baby when she’s upright in a high chair or other suitable baby seat.
You don’t have to introduce new foods in a specific order.
Experts recommend iron-rich meat, meat alternatives and iron-fortified cereal as the first complementary foods. Infant cereal mixed with breast milk or formula may be better accepted because the taste will be familiar to your baby and easier to swallow.
But it’s important to begin one new food at a time.
Wait at least four days before trying another. That way you can see if your baby has a negative or allergic reaction to it.
Variety is the goal.
Just because you may personally dislike most vegetables or hate oatmeal, don’t withhold these foods from your baby. Once she’s sampled a range of solids, she needs a diet represented by all the food groups in order to get the full assortment of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients she needs.
Breast milk, formula, or a combination of both should be the only milk consumed for at least the first 9 months. They contain the nutrients—including healthy fats—your baby needs and are easily digested.