According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the best age to introduce solid food in a baby’s diet is 6 months. While some babies may start getting such food at the age of 6 months, some may get it after the 8th or 9th month. This depends upon your baby’s growth and his body conditions. Solid foods are not given to a child who is less than 6 months old. The reasons behind this are the underdeveloped intestines, the inefficiency of the child to communicate when his/her stomach is full, and the inability to swallow solid food. Hence, the food is given only after a certain age.
How to Know Child’s Readiness for Solid Food?
When a child is able to sit and can hold his own neck, then he can have a solid diet. At the age of 5 to 7 months, the baby shows interest towards the food and will intake the food from the spoon. By the age of 7 months the child is capable of swallowing food with some solid lumps and is able to digest the food. These are just the signals that your baby is getting ready to have solid foods. If your doctor has suggested to wait for some more time to start a solid diet, then you should follow his advice.
Solid Foods for 7-Month-Old
Solid diet for infants should include light and easily digestible foods. Although you have started with solids, breastfeeding or formula should be continued in the diet as breast milk is the primary source of nourishment for the growth and development of the child since the time of childbirth. Following are the solid foods to be introduce in a 7-month-old child:
Cereals are the best to start as a solid diet. They are least allergic and contribute a lot in child development. Start with the iron-fortified rice cereal mixed with lots of water and then continue to increase the concentration as the days pass. Give this one or two times a day, and continue the rest of the feeding with the milk. In the beginning, start with single food so as to avoid any allergic reactions. Carry on with rice for at least a week and then try other cereals like oat or wheat.
Baby foods for a 7-month-old can be uncooked and cooked vegetables both. Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, peas, green beans, spinach, and beets can be very nutritious. These vegetables should be mashed and can be given in a lump form. It should be given in a small spoon with a little quantity so that the child can chew the food properly.
Cut very small pieces of fruits or mash them. Put these fruit pieces in the baby’s mouth one by one or in small quantities to avoid choking. Do not give the entire fruit or a big piece in the baby’s hand. Soft fruits like bananas, peaches, peeled apples, and pears will be a good option.
Mashed meat can also be given, but the quantity should be very less. Start with meat in the later part of the month or at the beginning of the 8th month. Meat like beef, liver, cooked chicken, turkey, or ground meat can be included in the baby’s diet.
Foods to Avoid
Some foods like citrus fruits and juices, egg, and cow’s milk should be avoided till the baby turns one year old as these foods can lead to allergies. Fish, other sea foods, peanuts, and tree nuts are also considered allergic to children. Some of the allergic symptoms are rash, diarrhea, bloating, or an increase in intestinal gas, fussiness after eating, etc. If you observe any such symptoms, try to find out which food has caused the allergy and stop giving it to the child immediately.
So, if your child is 7 months old or just about to complete his 6th month, then follow the aforementioned solid diet and help him grow stronger and healthier.