The introduction of solids is an important step in the development of your baby's microbiome. What are some of the ways to approach this exciting milestone? The transition to solid foods is a bit different for everyone.
Some babies are easy to please, while others are as fussy as restaurant critics. With a little bit of patience and some supporting advice, you'll be ready for whatever your little one throws your way.
After about six months of pure breastfeeding or infant formula, it’s recommended that you start introducing solids into your baby's diet. At around this age, babies begin to lose the reflex of thrusting objects out of their mouth with their tongue and may start showing an interest in eating.
Beyond six months, breastfeeding and formula alone can no longer provide all the nutrients and energy your child needs for growth and development. While breastfeeding and formula remain an important source of nutrition up to a year and beyond, solids will gradually form a greater part of your child's diet.
During these early months, parents are providing their children with nutrition to support healthy growth, including the development of the immune system. Breastmilk contains a whole range of beneficial bacteria, which help to form the microbiome, a living ecosystem that includes trillions of microbes, including bacteria, that live on and inside your body. This can help support healthy immune function and maintain everyday health.
Before the introduction of solids, your baby's microbiome remains in a relatively simple state. Introducing a variety of different foods enriches and adds diversity to this young microbiome, and within a few short years it begins to resemble that of an adult.
Along with probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, probiotic supplements provide an additional way to support a healthy and diverse microbiome. Life-Space Probiotic Powder for Baby is a premium probiotic formula containing 10 strains of beneficial bacteria, specifically formulated for babies aged six months to three years.
Your first solid foods should be rich in iron. Babies are born with iron stores sufficient to carry them through the first months of life, but by the age of around six months, breastmilk or formula alone can't provide all the iron a growing child needs. Iron-rich foods include pureed meats, fish, tofu and legumes. Iron-fortified single-grain cereals are an easy place to start.
Beyond the need for iron, there's no fixed order in which foods must be introduced. Many parents find it most natural to let their baby try simple foods the rest of the family is eating.
Diversity is important. Your child is becoming curious about the world at this age and will be more willing to try new tastes and textures. Introducing a variety of food types helps your child to accept different tastes and also adds diversity to the young microbiome.
When they’re finally ready for solids, mashed or pureed foods are among the many options. Lumpy or minced foods could then be introduced, while foods with normal textures could be added by twelve months.
Avoid any added sugar or salt. Your baby is getting all the sugars it needs from your breastmilk or from formula.
Well, this is just common sense. When your baby's eating without a fuss, take all the credit. When your baby's being fussy, then it's your partner's turn with the spoon!
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet.