Congratulations, your baby is 6 months old and you’ve started introducing solids to your little one. Adding solids into baby’s routine is fun, messy and definitely camera worthy! But for many parents it can be a nerve-racking adventure, especially when junior starts and ends his meal with gags, gulps, spews and coughs!
Parents can find themselves a little rattled and unsure if baby is really ready for these new foods. The good news is that these reactions are normal (sigh of relief!) and junior won’t master his meals right off the bat. Introducing soft textured foods at 6 months is a great way to increase your baby’s acceptance of a variety of foods and decrease their risk of feeding difficulties later on.
Yup, the gags, gulps, spews and coughs are all important steps your baby takes as they figure out how to manage new foods and textures. So don’t sweat it, your baby will adapt, it just takes time and patience as your little one develops important chewing and swallowing skills.
Your job is to stay close by, follow their cues, and be their cheerleader. I promise you’ll both feel better for it. Really, it won’t be long before you’re wondering who swiped the chicken leg off of your plate!
Here are 10 helpful tips:
- Decrease any choking fears and boost your parent savvy by signing up for a First Aid/CPR course
- Be sure your baby is comfortable, secure and capable of eating in their high chair
- Pull up a chair at mealtime, eat together and offer that special parent praise
- Allow baby to self-feed from 6 months on, be there to offer help, and catch those firsts
- Have an open cup ready, allow baby to explore – offer small amounts of milk or water
- Offer bite-sized soft cooked foods, cut lengthwise, not circle shaped (choking hazard)
- Bring on the texture – minced, mashed, grated, ground, lumpy and soft finger foods
- Offer a variety of foods, finding favourites can take many tries and exposures
- Iron rich foods are very important, offer them at least twice a day
- Baby teeth not needed- a baby’s gums are strong enough to handle textures
You may be surprised to learn by the time your baby is one year of age, they can often eat the same foods as the rest of the family – in smaller portions, without any extra salt, sugar, or honey (after 1 yr). At first, you may have to play detective to find out what foods your baby really loves, but once you find them …your baby will definitely let you know.
Bath time anyone?
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.