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Baby Care – Feeding Solids

Remember that solids given to a baby represent a replacement for
milk and are an addition to the baby’s previous total consumption. Milk
is easy to digest and goes through a baby’s system fairly rapidly;
solids take longer. The result is that the number of feedings per day
can probably be reduced by one, once the baby is on solids. A parent
usually chooses the least convenient feeding time as the one to be
dropped-generally the A.M. feeding.


There are many signs to tell a parent when a baby needs more than merely milk. A baby is ready for solids when he or she:


A baby’s first solid food should consist of a single cereal. Begin with
only one teaspoonful of the new food at one mealtime, gradually
introducing new foods and flavors over a period of weeks. In subsequent
weeks, single pureed fruits and vegetables may be added.

Any change in feeding pattern can result in the baby’s showing
no weight gain during that week or even a weight loss. But such a
holdup or loss will be made up for by the baby’s increased appetite the
following week. A cold, an upset stomach, or the process of teething
can have the same temporary effect.

It is easy to judge the amount of solid food to give a
previously bottle-fed baby; the milk in the bottle can be measured. But
for a breast-fed baby it may be necessary to weight the baby before and
after each feeding for one day, to determine the total milk
consumption.

Any increase in the amount of food given to a baby must be
gradual. One teaspoonful more at selected times is the maximum
advisable, especially of fruit and vegetables, for one week at a time.
If the baby seems to be gaining weight too rapidly, cereals should be
increased even more slowly.

When the baby has reached the stage of having five or six
teaspoonfuls of pure vegetables at lunchtime, some meat, poultry, fish,
or cheese may be added. The baby’s milk consumption should decrease as
the consumption of solid foods increases.

Having started on solids at age four months, for example, a
six-to seven-month-old infant generally has three main mealtimes plus
an afternoon snack of a teething biscuit and a bottle of fruit juice.

Food should be pureed for a baby up to age seven months; the
puree should be of sufficiently thick consistency for the baby to be
able to eat it from a spoon. Mince or grind food for a baby of age
seven to ten months. After this ageFree Web Content, a baby can eat food that has
simply been cut up into small pieces.

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