Are you excited to give your baby her first bite of solid food? Hold that thought for a while – before you even think of reaching this milestone, you need to learn some facts before your baby savors that very first bite.
You should not go in a rush to introduce your baby to solid food. A specific timetable would allow your baby to be ready to ingest food. If you have been wondering when babies can eat cheerios and similar food, then take note of the following information.
Time to introduction Solid food
Newborn’s First Six Months
As per the AAP recommendation, newborn only needs breast milk or formula milk during the first half-year after birth. (1) An introduction of complementary solid foods should be done when the baby is at least 12 months old.
Providing breastfeed to babies offers protection against respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases and different forms of allergies. The cases of Sudden Death Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is considerably reduced by 30% when babies are breastfed during this period.
Wait for the Intestines to Mature
The baby’s digestive system’s filtering system is still immature during the first seven months. (1) So, you should wait for months before introducing solid food for your baby. Before that age, the baby’s intestines cannot distinguish and screen out potentially harmful components or substances.
When the baby reaches four months old, the intestines’ lining undergoes ‘closure,’ which is a developmental spurt. At this age, the intestinal lining becomes more sensitive and selective about the components it would allow to absorb.
Between six and seven months, the intestines will start to get more mature and would be able to screen out allergens. This is one of the most important reasons why food introduction should be beyond this age, especially when the baby’s family has a history of food allergies.
The Swallowing Mechanism
During the first six months of the baby’s life, her swallowing mechanism and tongue still lack coordination. If you give your baby puffs and cheerios, she will move it randomly inside her tiny mouth. The swallowing mechanism of infants four months old and younger are designed for sucking and not for chewing. (1)
During the pre-teething stage, babies tend to drool due to the absence of the teeth. Therefore, she would not be able to handle solid food inside her mouth. Moreover, infants’ natural tongue-thrust reflex would make it difficult for solid food to pass through the mouth going to the stomach. (1)
Signs of Baby’s Readiness to Solid Food
If your baby is around six months old and eager to provide her with solid food, you should first check for more signs that she is already ready. One is that your baby should be able to sit up in a booster seat or highchair.
Another sign to check is whether your little one is starting to mouth her hands or toys. This is an indication that your baby’s coordination is developing.
Moreover, if your baby starts to get interested in what you eat, she is ready to munch some cheerios or any puffs for babies.
Follow the Product’s Recommended Age
According to the Cheerios website itself, the introduction of these cereals to your little kid is when she has started practicing her ‘pincer grasp’ or using two fingers to pick up food and placing it in her mouth. This typically happens between 9 and 2 months old.
Besides dry cereals, you can also start introducing other food such as noodles, diced can fruit, rice, and peas. You need to be extra careful when introducing foods that are considered choking hazards such as nuts and whole grapes.
Choosing what to offer your baby can be confusing for first-time parents. Understanding what nutrients they need can be used as a useful guide.
From six months onwards, note that your baby needs to have both zinc and iron. These can be found in iron-fortified dry cereals, beans, and lentils. (1)
Speak to the Pediatrician
Speaking to your baby’s doctor is always a good idea when you decide to make decisions related to food and nutrition.
A pediatrician can assess whether your baby is truly ready for solid food intake. Moreover, the doctor can provide you with sound advice on which food to avoid at this age.
Do not worry if your baby rejects the solid food you offer – be it cheerios, puffs, or any basic or dry cereals. If she does that, wait for another week and give it a try again. You could contact your baby’s pediatrician to keep on resisting solid or pureed food.
Based on the American Academy of Pediatrics expert’s recommendation, solid food should be offered when a baby is about 12 months old. On the other hand, Cheerios’ official website’s recommendation indicates that the cereals can be introduced around 9-12 months old.
Therefore, you could start purchasing a high chair and some cereals at this period. It is essential to make sure that your baby is ready for solid food and understand how this will impact her eating habits or bottle-feeding. So, before you start giving your baby some Cheerios, take note of the following:
- Check for signs of readiness
- Consult your baby’s pediatrician
- Have a lot of patience as this is a ‘messy period’.
More importantly, learn how you can better take care of your baby’s teeth when he or she starts eating solid food.
If you have found this post useful, feel free to share it. You may opt to leave your comments or questions too. I would be more than pleased to answer your questions. Until next post, mommies and daddies!