when and how to introduce baby food?

Amy - posted on 02/04/2014 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My son is 4 months & 2 days old. We just had his 4 month checkup wit his pediatrician yesterday & she mentioned that he can now have 3-5 tbsp of rice cereal. She was in a bit of a rush & I was trying to get all of my questions asked, so unfortunately that was all the info I got about introducing rice cereal. So I need help: how do I introduce the rice cereal? I've heard you shouldn't put it in your baby's bottle because they could choke on it & he may not make the connection that food is to be eaten sitting up and from a spoon...which is the last thing I want for him! But how else is a baby supposed to eat the rice cereal? If we give him a bottle with the rice cereal in it, should we maybe feed him in his bouncy chair so he's sitting more upright? Is it 3-5 tbsp in EACH bottle? Does he get the rice cereal in EVERY bottle or just start out with it in one bottle everyday and see how he handles that?

Can I also start giving him pureed foods? We're making him homemade foods instead of buying the jarred baby foods. Does it matter if you start the pureed foods or rice cereal first?

Also, when pureed foods are introduced, should you feed your baby veggies before fruit in order to keep him from getting a sweet tooth?

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Sarah - posted on 02/05/2014

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Chewing is something he actually won't learn until he is eating solids like Cheerios. Baby cereal and baby food is all more of a liquidity form.

Sarah - posted on 02/05/2014

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You make the cereal more on the liquid side....just solid enough so it does not all fall off the spoon. It is a learning process that is why at first it is going to be everywhere BUT his mouth. That is the whole purpose of baby foods is for them to learn how to eat with a spoon and to get use to different textures. Cereal has not much nutritional value. Some people say their child sleeps better but that is not always true. My advise would be to do it as a meal...either breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Just start slow. At first it is going to be messy and all over as he learns how to move his tongue. Remember cereal is not a need so it does not matter if he hardly gets any at first.

Amy - posted on 02/05/2014

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The only thing that bothers me with feeding him the rice cereal from a spoon is that it seems like he would know how to chew in order to do that....right??? How else is he going to get it down? So the rice cereal is only done at one of the feedings throughout the day when first starting out? I've heard it helps babies sleep better through the night, so I'd probably want to have him take it at nighttime, but, if he can't have it through the bottle then I don't really want him sitting up at night and becoming more alert.....i need him to sleep!

It's so hard to say what is going to work for your particular child; I keep asking for advice with everything and I read lots of books/articles about what to do for everything baby-related, but it's so hard to know what the right thing to do is!

Sarah - posted on 02/04/2014

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Don't put the cereal in the bottle. Feed only by spoon. I like using the high chairs that can lilt back some. Mix the cereal with either formula/breast milk or water. Formula/breast milk might be best for starting out as it will add their milk taste to the cereal. At first you will want to mix it so it is runny (but able to spoon it into baby's mouth. As your baby grows and gets more use to foods you will start to make the cereal more thick. Start by just introducing cereal just once a day. You can pick when it works best.....some like morning and some like before bed. At first most of the cereal is going to end up NOT in baby's mouth. That is OK as right now it is just learning and really more for texture and learning how to eat from a spoon then needing for nutrition or hunger.

For pureed foods, those are introduced at 6 months old as before then their tummies can't digest it properly. You want to make sure baby's formula or breastmilk is still the main source of food as that is where all the nutrients comes from. At 6 months you can start with 1 jar of baby food a day and then gradually adding as baby grows.....you want to make sure milk intake is not going down as when babies are under 1 yr old milk is the most important thing in their diet. Baby food is for them to learn different tastes and textures and how to eat from a spoon. It is again up to you which you want to start with...veggies or fruit. Some people swear by doing veggies first. I did fruits first and had no problems with my kids in their eating habits.

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