Balancing Solid Foods with Milk Feeds

Introducing your baby to solid foods in the first year is fulfilling to the parents. You need to remember, however, that it’s not meant to replace breast milk. The best way to start off is with healthy, nutrient-rich and easily digestible foods. 

Start off with mashed or blended food to allow your baby time to learn to push to the back of their mouth. Eventually, you can introduce soft finger foods as they grow more teeth and learn to chew. 

When Should I Begin Feeding Baby with Solid Foods?

Between age 4 months and 6 months, nutrients received from breast milk and formula are not sufficient enough for child development as their tiny immune system is slowly getting independent and requires more food supplements.

Are You Introducing Foods the Right Way?

By tradition, community staple food is the most-advisable to introduce into the child’s diet. Consider foods such as: 

  • Pumpkin Butternut 
  • Sweet potatoes 
  • Red meat 
  • Eggs 
  • Beans
  • Rice 
  • Spaghetti 
  • Ugali 
  • Porridge
  • Terere
  • Sukuma wiki/spinach

You can also include dairy sources of protein such as milk.  Ensure the baby’s meal is balanced with fruits and vegetables.  Here are ways you can combine food for the baby to make it more interesting;-

  1. the traditional way – the making of puree mixtures with breast milk (learning by swallowing then later chewing) 
  2. the baby-led weaning – serving the real food for the baby to eat (learning by chewing then later swallowing). 

Most pediatricians advise weaning mothers to include milk as part of the ingredients in all is food preparations and at intervals allow baby to enjoy breast milk feeds. See recipes here.

How Do You Balance Milk and Solids in Your Toddler’s Diet?

  • As you begin solid meals, ensure to prepare a creative meal and snack plan. Ensure your baby eats at the same time every day, with 3-hour intervals. 
  • Gradually, schedule the snacking on a milk bottle or breast with nutritious goodies like a fruit puree. Most toddlers are ready for 3 solid meals and 2 solid snacks per day.
  • Train baby from using a sippy cup to an open cup. Make the switches slowly like the morning bottle and gradually into bedtime bottle. 
  • During clinic visits mothers are told to hold off the milk, if necessary as this can be a distraction during meal times. Take time off and let a caretaker or spouse feed the baby. 

My Baby Is Not Feeding, What Should I Do?

Its normal for a baby to refuse to eat, milestones are achieved differently therefore do not force the baby but rather make mealtimes more interesting. Allow baby to feed themselves, include finger foods as much as you can. 

Milk is very nutritious and has a special place in a babies’ life, therefore include it in their meals. Despite supporting our babies in different stages, keep in mind that development differs from one child to another, at their own pace and own time.  

Disclaimers:

#Note that development differs from one child to another

# Content intended for educational purposes only, and not substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Last reviewed January 2018

Sources: pregnancybirthbaby, nhsinform, parents, healthychildren

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