It’s important to remember that at first, solid foods compliment, not replace breast milk or formula. Until a baby is about one year of age he should still be drinking 24 to 32 ounces of breast milk or formula per day and the majority of his nutrition will still come from this breast milk or formula. Around 8 months of age formula intake decreases and solid food intake increases, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, within a few months of starting solids, a baby’s diet should include breast milk or formula, meats, cereal, vegetables, fruits, eggs and fish. Cow’s milk should not be introduced until at least age one. With the introduction of solid foods, water can be added to a baby’s diet. Offering water in a sippy cup with meals can provide lots of opportunities for a baby to practice drinking from a cup.
Once a baby is ready to incorporate snacks into his day, at around 7 months, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, finger foods like Arrowroot cookies, toast and crackers are good options. At 8 months old, plain yogurt can also be introduced. Around 9 months a baby may begin eating more table foods and around 10 months may begin to start feeding himself.
When feeding babies, spoon baby food from a jar into the bowl so that you can save the unused portion. Storing food that has had the spoon used for feeding in it can cause bacteria to grow in the food, contaminating it, as the spoon has the baby’s saliva on it. As a baby gets older and begins grabbing for the spoon during feedings, offering him his own spoon to hold may reduce his frustration.
If you opt to microwave food, be sure to stir the food thoroughly so that any hot spots are eliminated. Test the temperature of the food before serving it to the child on the inside of your wrist to avoid scalds and burns.
Because of the risk of choking, nannies must ensure that children are closely supervised during all mealtimes and snacktimes.