When should Babies Start Eating Baby Food from a Jar
It is important to introduce solid foods safely and correctly so that your child will have a successful diet in the future. Most parents question when it is the right time for them to start introducing these foods. The recommended age for your baby to start eating baby food is around 6 months old. However, every child is different and may be ready earlier or later. Starting much earlier than 6 months can be a choking hazard, it may also result in your baby losing weight due to the decrease in breast milk intake. Waiting for too long after 6 months may also have a negative impact on your baby’s growth. They need extra calories and the exposure to new foods is important for development. Here are some behaviors to look out for when deciding if it is the right time to start feeding your baby solids:
- Can they hold their head up steadily?
- Are they starting to sit up with support?
- Do they constantly chew their toys or hands?
- Do they seem interested in your food?
- Does their usual breast milk portion (of at least 32 ounces) not full them up or satisfy their hunger?
- Can they close their mouth over a spoon?
If your baby has reached these growth milestones, they are ready to start eating baby food from a jar. Continue to give them breast milk or formula as these are still their main sources of nutrients.
How to Introduce a Solid Diet:
Once you have made the decision to begin introducing your baby to baby food, it is important to keep a few things in mind:
- You need to ensure that your baby is sitting up straight. You should try to use a high chair rather than a baby bouncer or recliner, as it works better. Making your baby comfortable is important to help them adapt to this new eating environment.
- You can give your baby a taste of the food by putting some onto their lips. This will let them get an idea of the flavors and textures of the new food and possibly spark their curiosity.
- Try to get your baby’s attention before feeding them. It is important to get the child’s permission before putting food into their mouth, this will help minimize the pressure put on them during feeding. Although you may feel tempted to feed them while they are distracted, it will simply cause more problems for you in the future.
- Allow your baby to choose the portion of the food they want to eat. Some will eat a lot and others will eat a little. Don’t worry too much if they aren’t very interested in solid food at the beginning. The exposure is more important than the amount they eat as solid food initially doesn’t contribute any additional nutrients to their diet. Don’t force your baby to finish the whole serving or any specific portion size, rather let them decide how much they want to eat.
- When your baby stops showing interest in the food, you should stop feeding them. They will show you they are finished eating by getting distracted easily, moving away or closing their lips.
- Include your baby in family meals, this will give them an idea about meal times and which foods are the family favorites.
Remember that you do not have to immediately start an eating routine that consists of three meals a day. At first, one meal early in the day is enough to simply let them experience this new food. Watch for any reactions to the new food and contact your doctor if necessary. Create your own schedule and incorporate the solid food into meals slowly.
If your baby typically eats all of their food, try to introduce the solid food before meals when they seem curious and willing to try new food. If their concentration is only on the breast or bottle, rather save the solid food as a snack. Set a goal to work towards whereby the end of the first year you incorporate solids throughout the day. This means during breakfast, lunch, supper and snack time. Continue to feed with breast milk or formula between the solid meals.