When Do I Feed Baby?
By Jodie Lynn
When should I begin my 4-month-old on baby food?
Make homemade food for baby and freeze it in ice cube trays for smaller portions. For example, mash potatoes with no milk or butter and place in ice cube trays. Don't introduce a new food at least one week after another one has already been introduced to prevent food allergies. - Lisette Toth Cookstown in Canada
Watch your baby for cues as to when she is ready to eat solids. She may open her mouth when she watches you eat or reach for your food when you are eating. I didn't give my daughter solids until she was seven months old because she was not ready. Remember that babies get all of their nutrients from breast milk or iron-fortified infant formula for the first year. - Amy Marohl in WI
I started my now 10-month-old daughter on solids before she was 4 months old. She was a large baby and was very hungry. She was formula fed from birth, but this was not enough to fill her up. I started her on baby rice and very mashed veggies and fruit. She now eats a lot of what the rest of the family eats and insists on feeding herself while eating a wide variety of foods. I think that deciding when to start solids has to depend on you and your baby, if you do what's right for your own individual baby, it will all work out in the end. - Monica Guy in New Zealand
Contrary to what others may think, your 4-month-old doesn't need anything other than breast milk or formula. In fact, a baby who is breastfeeding does not need solid foods until around one year. However, you will probably enjoy feeding her first solids and want to get her started on table foods so that she can develop the muscles in the mouth that are useful in spoon feeding and swallowing. Start out around 5 months with rice cereal that is the consistency of thickened breast milk. It should slip right off the spoon when over turned. This will be easy for her to swallow. As she gets used to eating off the spoon, gradually add more cereal. By about 6 months you can start adding single ingredient foods such as bananas, carrots, sweet potatoes and pears. It will be a trial and error period for a while until you establish what foods your baby can tolerate and which ones she likes. Remember that just because she hated bananas the first time, doesn't mean she will always hate them. - Sandi Bruegger in MO
From Jodie: Always check with your pediatrician on the feeding of your 4-month-old. Breast or formula milk may be all he needs at this time. Introducing solids too early can sometimes create allergies to certain foods. If the doctor says to go ahead and begin solids, be sure to take notes on what your baby can or will not eat. Write down results on a large spaced calendar that you can refer to often. Be aware of allergic reactions such as rashes, vomiting, diarrhea and even coughing and wheezing. Diarrhea is not a sure sign of an allergic reaction. If it occurs, stop giving the food and introduce it later in two to three weeks in a smaller proportion. A change of color in your baby's skin from carrots or squash usually does not indicate an allergic reaction.
Only one small meal a day of solid foods should occur for the first few weeks in combination with regularly scheduled breast or formula feedings. Your baby will become thirstier. Continue with breast or formula feeding and try boiled, then cooled, water. Or, try juice diluted with the same boiled cooled water to quench baby's thirst.
My five-month-old son seems to be hungry all the time. Is it reasonable to introduce solids? Several of my friends with babies the same age have already started feeding their babies solids for at least two to three weeks.
ANSWER FROM READER:
It all depends on your individual baby. If he seems to be hungry after he finishes eating, whether it is a breast milk or formula feeding, try the baby rice. It certainly fills up the tummy and lasts longer than most solids. Be sure to ask his doctor what to mix with the cereal. Most of the time it will be mixed with whatever he has been used to digesting; breast milk, formula or water. - Lesa Martin in Chicago, IL
Introducing solids too early can sometimes create allergies to certain foods. If you have discussed your current dilemma with your son's pediatrician and he has given you the green light to feed him solids, then go ahead and try it but move slowly. For example, take notes on what your baby can and wants to eat, as well as what he will not eat. This will be a new experience for him and it may seem like he doesn't enjoy it in the least. He may actually appear to be spitting out the food when in fact, he has no idea what to do with it and must learn to swallow it. Write down the results of each feeding session and keep them organized. Perhaps use a calendar with large spaces to write, index cards or make a recording that you can easily access from time to time. Be aware of allergic reactions such as rashes, vomiting, diarrhea and even coughing and wheezing. Diarrhea is not a sure sign of an allergic reaction, however. If it occurs, stop giving him the food and consider reintroducing him to it with a smaller amount in two to three weeks. A slight change of color in your baby's skin from carrots or squash usually does not indicate an allergic reaction. Only one small meal a day of solid foods should occur for the first few weeks in combination with regularly scheduled breast or formula feedings. He will become thirstier. Continue with breast or formula feeding and try boiled, then cooled, water. Or, if your pediatrician approves, try 100% juice diluted with the same boiled, cooled water to quench baby's thirst.