Babies: Nutritional guidelines for babies

Four months to six months: A solid start: Sometime during these two months most babies are introduced to solid foods. Although breastmilk and formula continue to supply all their nutritional needs, adding some semi-solid foods is developmentally appropriate by around six months of age. Baby can control his head better and sit up alone, he can now mimic what he sees and may even have the beginning of a palmer grasp, bringing objects to his or her mouth. In fact, by six months, it seems like everything goes into your baby's mouth! To your delight and amusement, your baby also has an improved ability to communicate. Being able to communicate is important for starting solids. Now he can show his hunger by opening his mouth and leaning toward the spoon, and he can show his disinterest by leaning back and pushing away. Without these skills you could unintentionally force feed your baby.

The food you offer your baby must be both nutritionally and developmentally appropriate. It should offer the nutrients he needs with the consistency and texture that will help his eating skills. For this reason, an iron-fortified rice cereal (least likely to cause an allergic reaction), whose consistency you can change, is a good choice for a first food. By around four to six months, birth stores of iron are becoming depleted, and an outside source becomes necessary. Establishing baby on an iron-fortified cereal will help secure their iron status throughout infancy and toddlerhood, when it is most critical. Rice cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula also provides a good balance of calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat.

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