When baby is born, the only source of food for the baby right up until they start solids is breast milk. Breast milk is vital for little bub to grow healthy and strong. Although there are lots of formula milk that can be used as a substitute to breast milk. Health professionals recommend that some breast milk is better than none, this is because during the early stages of little bubs life, they need all the nutrients they can get and breast milk provides all the vital nutrients such as colostrum and hind milk for them to sustain their growth in their early lives.
Although breastfeeding can be challenging for some while others may find it easy, overall it is dependent on the individual. Some mothers experience challenges of producing enough milk and this could be caused by the way the breast and nipples are shaped which may be challenging for little bub to latch onto and sometimes it can even be painful for the mother. But there are lots of help these days wherever you look and lots of useful information freely provided by maternal nurses and even breastfeeding classes at hospitals. One thing for sure is if you are determined to breastfeed then you can be sure there is lots of support available if you wish to make it work.
Up until 4 months and while baby is still under 5.5kgs, milk should still be the only source of food for bub. Once over 4 months and over 5.5kgs then I suggest baby to having their first tastes of solids. Here we focus on some of the reasons why:
5 Reasons of giving solids to your 4 month old baby
Before the age of 4 months it is dangerous to give some solid to babies. This is because their digestive system is still very immature and still developing. So, never feed a baby any solid form food unless they are at least 4 months of age and are at a minimum weight of 5.5kgs.
At 4 months, it is not essential for bubs to be eating solid form food, and when they do a teaspoon is more than enough. Just remember at this stage, the purpose is to introduce solids and get them familiar with different tastes and allow them to practice a little each day on eating. It does not matter if they end up eating a little bit of it and spits it back out. Consider it as good practice as milk will still be the primary source of food for generating calories until they are at least 1 year of age.
Need for more nutrition value foods at 6 months
If you start your baby off on solids at 6 months, it is believed at this age, babies need a lot more nutritional value foods in their diet than just breast milk. Although breast milk will still be there primary source of food until 1, it is vital to give them other nutritional value foods in order for them to thrive and grow. Therefore, starting bubs with a tasting to solid form food at 6 months of age would mean that she would not get the nutritional benefits from the food until they have learnt to swallow properly. You should aim, by at least 6 months to have them familiar with several tastings and have learnt the skill of swallowing puree food. This skill could take up to 2 months and it is dependent on the baby. Therefore, starting at 4 months will provide enough time for bubs to acquire different tastings and would have also had 2 months of practice of eating. So, by the time 6 months comes around they would have already developed several tastes of food and know how to swallow enough to gain the nutritional value from eating.
It is understood that more and more kids have some form of allergy, whether that is eczema, food or nut allergy. Some experts say to curb this trend; parents are now being informed that introducing solids at a younger age can lead to children growing up with less allergies. Particularly with the introduction to nuts at an early age. Vitamin supplements at a young age could also help with allergy prevention. Especially a good probiotic supplement. Simply because this modern age, at the first sign of sickness parents are too willing to head straight to the medicine repository and provide a dose of Paracetamol or Antibiotics from the GP. Not knowing that doing so, doesn’t give the body enough time to fight off the bacteria or virus infection in order to make the immune system come back stronger. When we give ourselves or even the kids antibiotics, more often than not, it wipes out some of the good bacteria that is doing most of the fight for us in the recovery process so it then takes us twice as long to recover.
Developing body weight and brain growth
After 4 months of age, baby is starting to become more active and at this stage they are rapidly growing to help them become more mobile. This requires more nutrient rich foods and calories that support their growing bodies, muscle development and brain development. Providing solids at this age will help the intestinal digestive system become stronger so they are ready to digest food at 6 months of age so by one year they should be eating most foods that grown up eat and benefiting from the same nutrient rich foods.
Sustaining their hunger
Another reason for introducing solid foods to babies is that at 4 to 6 months of ages when babies are becoming more alert and active, they are also burning off calories a lot quicker. Which means, they will get hungry quicker too and if they are not sustaining their hunger for long periods at a time it will also mean that they need to be fed more often which means they have less sleep. Sleep plays a very integral part of bubs development in the early stages of their lives so introducing solid food at an early stage will help to overcome their hunger so they can sustain it for longer and have longer sleeps in order to continually grow and develop.
With the above in mind please remember that introducing solids baby at 4 months DOES NOT replace breastfeeding or milk formula. Babies still require primarily breast or formula milk up until the age of 12 months to allow them to thrive on development. Using solids to replace their primary source of food before 12 months can mean that babies will miss out on important nutrition to allow them to fully thrive and develop.
Disclaimer: This is only meant to be informative information, and is no way intended to be used as advice from a health professional. If you need professional advice, please seek it from your General Practitioner