Proper nutrition among infants is a very important factor in achieving normal growth and development. Breast milk may provide several nutrients, but it may not be sufficient to sustain the child’s nutritional needs. Hence, the introduction of solid and other kinds of foods is also necessary. To help you begin, here are some tips to guide you about the proper way of complementary feeding:

  1. Start complementary feeding at the age of 4 months (earliest) to 6 months because in this stage, the baby’s digestive system can now handle other food aside from breast milk or formula milk and can now practice his ability to chew and swallow solid foods. Also, at this stage, the baby’s demands for nutrients increases in order to sustain physical growth.
  2. Learn how to recognize that your baby is ready to try solid foods. These include good head control and able to sit up with support, watching and leaning forwards when food is around, reaching out to grab food or spoons to put in their mouth and opening their mouth when food is offered.
  3. When you start complementary feeding, introduce one food at a time. Wait two or three days before you begin giving another kind of food. Through this, you will be able to determine your baby’s food allergies by simply observing his reaction to the intake of food. Diarrhea, vomiting and appearance of rash are some of the indicators.
  4. Do not stop giving the food when the baby refuses to eat it. It takes a while before they accept a new food.
  5. Cereal is not the only available option to start with. You can begin introducing meat too, such as pureed chicken. Research shows that babies who eat meat earlier have a higher intake of zinc and iron, nutrients important for growth.
  6. Who says that babies want bland foods? You can spice things up using mild herbs. There are endless possibilities that you can make with your puree. You may try to blend cilantro into avocado, nutmeg into sweet potatoes or cinnamon into apples.
  7. Make feeding time also a learning time. Help your baby connect with the food. For example, when you hand him a certain fruit, tell him the name of the fruit. Through this, the baby may have an early recognition of the things around him.

Not all babies may show the same response as you introduce solid foods. Hence, you must learn how to assess his readiness and be able to individualize your feeding plan.