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Breast Milk or Bottle to Solid Food - Transitional Period

Published January 10, 2008        by Nicole

The transitional period begins sometime between the fourth and six months.By then your child can show a readiness for solids by being able to indicate when he is hungry and full, to swallow food from a spoon without extruding it from his mouth, and to digest more complex starches, proteins, and fats.You will know when he’s ready for solids when he shows an interest in what you are eating.

Milk [breast milk or an iron fortified formula] is still the most important food in his diet.Since he is beginning to deplete his iron stores, an iron fortified cereal is often the first solid food offered.The cereal can be mixed with breast milk, water, or formula.Start with just a teaspoonful in a very liquid form.During the next months, you might build up to three level tablespoons of cereal a day to supply the seven milligrams of iron your baby needs.Use one grain cereals at first, such as rice, oats, or barley.Later, you can introduce multi-grain cereals.

After cereal, the order of introduction is not important.However, breastfed infants might be offered a high protein food, such as chicken or lamb, because breast milk is somewhat lower in protein than formula.Some parents like to offer vegetables first, hoping to accustom their babies to foods less sweet than organic fruit. Once you begin to give your baby solids, offer him water too because his kidneys must work harder to excrete the by-products of these new foods.

Introduce only one new food a week so you will be able to identify which food, if any, causes a problem for your baby.You might suspect a food allergy if your baby has diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, eczema or a chronic runny nose.The most common offending foods include wheat, soy milk, cow’s milk, eggs, orange juice, tomatoes, peanut butter [and other nut products], chocolate, fish, and beef. If your family has a history of allergy, be sure to tell your baby’s doctor and get some special guidance for feeding your baby.

Foods to avoid in the second six months of life include honey, milks other than breast or formula, and allergenic foods such as tomatoes, orange juice nuts, and chocolate.Avoid adding salt to your baby’s food, he does not need it.Avoid giving him large pieces of meat, hard candy, gourmet nuts (do NOT give your child any nuts) or popcorn, which may choke him.Also avoid nitrate containing foods, such as spinach and turnip or collard greens.These foods have been associated with methemoglobinemia, a very serious condition that interferes with the oxygen carrying ability of the blood.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends not giving your baby juice in a bottle since this predisposes.The Modified Adult Period. This period begins about the eighth month of life, when your baby is able to eat chunkier foods and a more varied diet.You will find that he will finally be on a more predictable feeding schedule.Most of his food can come from the family table, although you will have to cut it in smaller pieces and perhaps grind his meat.