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Tips on Beginning Solid Foods

  • "One food at a time" is the rule in case of an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions can show up twenty-four to forty-eight hours later, so keep a log of the new foods you are trying, especially if you are using them together. If you see a reaction, drop all of the new foods, start with one food again, give it time to develop the reaction, and then move to adding another. Keep doing this until you find the food that is creating the reaction, and then drop that food completely and tell your doctor what it is.

  • Once allergies are behind you, you don't have to rely on commercially prepared baby foods for every meal. Try putting a combination of foods from your plate through the blender. You'll teach your baby to enjoy the same foods your family enjoys.

  • Learning to eat is a stimulating activity that will actually wear your baby out. Yay! Anytime after five months when baby begins to sit in the high chair and eat, an hour of eating can lead to a good two hours of sleeping.

  • Fresh air stimulates the appetite, so go outside beforehand to rev her up!

  • Saltine and graham crackers dissolve easily and make great starter foods. But remember not to put them into a carrying bag or diaper bag unless they are in a plastic container. They will break into a million pieces—which is why they are great starter foods! See, just like your baby, you learn something new every day!

  • Dry cereals are excellent starter foods, too, because they taste good and they help develop hand-to-mouth coordination. Bagels are great for the same reasons and they also serve as an inexpensive, disposable, dual-purpose teething ring. Ahh...the joy of dual-purpose things!

  • Feed your baby the appropriate foods when he is hungry. He is growing and he needs the basic nutrition. And remember, he has the rest of his life to diet like the rest of us.

  • Put a plastic tablecloth underneath baby's high chair. You'll save yourself a lot of floor scrubbing and sweeping. Teaching a baby to eat takes patience, but patience is a virtue!

  • If your baby leans toward you with an open mouth, she could be hungry...or she may just be trying to give you a kiss!

  • Thicken soup consistencies to your baby's preference with crackers. Try not to give too heavy a mixture in the beginning, because it's like this book...it may not seem like it, but it's a lot to digest!

  • Beware of the word "never." As in: I will never take my baby to a fast-food restaurant. Just trust me on this one.

    Copyright © 2006 by Jeanne Murphy. Excerpted from Your Growing Baby (5 to 8 Months) with permission of its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.

    To order this book visit Amazon.com.

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