From breastmilk to burritos, here are the milestones in the culinary life of your little one.
MILESTONE #1 | Starting on Solids
“The American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend introducing solid foods to babies when they are between ages 4 and 6 months.”
This is because it is around this time that the extrusion reflex of your baby begins to diminish, which up until now has been great for sucking on the breast or the bottle, but not so great for feeding. Also by this age, your baby will be able to hold their heads high independently, which is of course critical for the feeding of solids.
So if your baby has hit this age and can sit up strongly and safely, it’s likely an ideal time to explore the early stages of solid food for your baby. It is said, however, that if your baby has only been breastfed since birth (that is, no bottle feeding has taken place), wait until he or she has hit the 6 month mark.
MILESTONE #2 | Getting Chunky
Give your baby at least a few weeks of puree and slightly ‘solid’ foods, before slowly introducing more and more chunky foods. We’re talking bananas and the like, save the steak for just a little later!
Store bought ‘solid foods’ often come in stages to help with the process, going from perfectly liquid stages to stage 3, which will include more texture and chunks – all within limits as baby’s teeth will still be forming.
MILESTONE #3 | Sitting Tall
As we said earlier, when babies are ready to start on solids, they should be able to sit independently and upright, with developed neck muscles. So they’re ready for the high chair! This can pose a new set of baby dangers to be wary of, such as making sure they are always buckled in, and always keeping a keen eye on them, as you never know what a little squirming and squishing can result in.
MILESTONE #4 | Finger Foodie
“Babies between ages 7 and 11 months usually tell you they’re ready to eat more grown-up foods by trying to grab them from you.” – WebMD
If cut in small enough portions (and is healthy!), almost any food can be classed as a ‘finger food’. Well cooked veggies such as carrots in particular, make for great finger food introduction. Just make sure the food is soft enough to avoid them being a choking hazard.
Once your baby develops her grasping technique, let them explore feeding themselves!
MILESTONE #5 | Spoons
Generally occurring not long around their first birthday, babies are able to grasp a spoon long enough to shovel food from the plate to their mouths. With some hits and misses.
A two pronged approach is good here to help with their training, giving them a soft spoon to practice with themselves, while feeding them with another.
Just don’t expect to navigate this milestone without plenty of food on the floor and around your baby’s mouth rather than in it!
MILESTONE #6 | Allergy Alchemy
Certain foods are highly allergenic, such as nuts, eggs and fish.
“Some pediatricians still recommend waiting until children are at least age 1 before offering them certain foods that are considered highly allergenic” – WebMD
Around the age of 1 is ideal to start introducing these foods, with many people now driving to the hospital car park before giving their baby a taste of peanut butter for the first time, so if trouble arises, they’re in close proximity to any help they’ll need. The thing to remember here is even if they don’t have a reaction on their first try, it can still occur on their second or third tasting of a particularly allergy prone food, such as shellfish.
MILESTONE #7 | H2O
For the first six months of a baby’s life, they don’t need any water, and their H20 requirements are met by consuming all that breast milk or formula. So no water should be given to babies under the 6 month mark.
At 9 months or so, babies stomachs are generally large enough to accommodate the sipping of water with their meals.
MILESTONE #8 | I’ll do it myself!
Forks, knives, spoons – your baby has mastered it all! They can eat just about anything and will be able to do it all themselves, so long as the touch pieces are cut up enough for them!
This usually occurs well after their first birthday, and still expect an epic mess until they are… 21!
If you enjoyed this article read our other articles on baby milestones:
- How to Help Your Baby to Talk
- Newborn To Toddler; Mental Leaps, Growth Spurts, and Sleep
- 10 Life-Altering Baby Care Hacks