Your babyís is finally reaching that milestone! Six months is a long time, especially to new parents and now itís time to change up your babyís diet. If you have chosen to exclusively breastfeed your baby, now you can introduce solids to their diet. Exclusively pumping using the likes of a Medela Symphony hospital grade breast pump is a great way for working mothers to ensure that their babies get the best nutrition for them. For the first six months of a babyís life, breast milk is the recommended source of nutrition. Once he or she turns six months of age, you can start introducing solids into their diet but you can continue to offer breast milk to your child until they turn two years old.
Why You Should Introduce Solids to your Baby at Six Months
Itís a good idea to wait till your baby is six months to start them on solids, as starting them earlier or later may cause problems. If you introduce solids to your baby earlier, your baby may stop breastfeeding or cause you to produce less milk. Your baby can also not receive all the benefits from breast milk and be susceptible to illnesses to his or her diet being low in proteins, fat and other essential nutrients, and have lower iron levels. If you choose to introduce solids later than six months, your baby may have trouble accepting solids and a hard time chewing. In addition, they may not receive nutrients from the introduction of solids such as Vitamin A and iron.
It should be noted that babies have growth spurts at three weeks, six weeks, three months and at six months of age. At these times, your baby may demand more milk and it is NOT a sign that they need to be introduced to solids earlier. Babies are fussier and hungrier during these times and introducing solids will NOT help them sleep through the night.
Starting on a Solids and Breast Milk Diet at Six Months
Your baby will have received all the nutrients a baby needs to grow healthy in the six months of their life solely through breast milk. However, at the six months milestone, extra nutrients need to be introduced such as iron. Itís extremely important to introduce iron-iron food to your babyís diet such as iron-fortified infant cereals,† beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, fish, pork, eggs, tofu, and legumes (such as well-cooked beans, lentils, and chick peas).
By introducing your baby to various types of nutrients with the help of variety of flavours and textures, you will be gearing your baby for a healthy life ahead.
Before your Baby Starts on Solids
You need to make sure your six-month-old baby is ready to accept solids, therefore check for the following.
- Is able to hold his or her head up independently
- Can sit in a high chair
- Open his or her mouth when food is offered in a spoon
- Is able to turn his or her face away from the spoon if not hungry
- Is able to close his or her lips around the spoon
- Is able to keep food in his or her mouth and swallow it rather than spitting it out