Seeing your baby eat his/her first few morsels of solid food is exciting and intimidating. Most babies start feeding on solids between their fourth and sixth month, gradually increasing their portion size. At around 9 to 11 months, infants reduce their breast-feeding dramatically as they start getting their nutrition and calories from solid foods.
During this transition phase, it is ideal that parents and caretakers pump in extra effort to meet the nutritional demands of children critical for their growth and development. This may also convey the use of carefully chosen supplements in some kids to fill their nutritional gaps. A pediatrician/registered dietitian & nutritionist can help you prepare a healthy diet chart for your baby to fill his/her nutritional gap in most scenarios.
Babies are born with capacious iron content which would last for about 4 to 6 months. Pediatricians suggest starting the baby on iron supplements from their fourth month, if the full-term infant is exclusively breast-fed. It is better to consult a pediatrician to verify the need of iron supplement for your infant. This is because, premature children and low-birth weight infants may have reduced iron stores and your doctor may suggest iron supplements until your child’s first birthday. Formula-fed babies rarely require iron supplements as the infant formula is usually iron-fortified.
When the infant starts to feed more often on solid foods, feeding them iron-rich foods such as iron-fortified cereal, meat or beans at least twice a day will fulfill their iron needs. Pediatricians recommend iron supplements to babies over 6 months who breast-feed and don’t eat iron-containing foods.
It is better to know the level of fluoride in your local water supply before putting your baby on fluoride supplements, which are needed to prevent cavities. It is advised to consult your pediatrician first, as these supplements are available only by prescription.
In any case, remember to consult with your pediatrician before starting your baby on any supplements. Not all infants need supplements when starting solids. Make your baby get used to a variety of foods to meet his/her nutritional demands.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.