Diet and Nutrition for Babies 4-7 Months Old

01 Diet - Introduction to Solid Foods

It's best for infants to continue with exclusive breastfeeding until they are 6 months old. Around 4-6 months, you can start introducing solid foods. These should preferably be soft to ensure safety for the baby. Introducing foods containing peanuts at this stage can prevent future peanut allergies. However, if your child has severe eczema or an allergy to egg whites, consult a pediatrician first. Mothers who breastfeed do not need to avoid certain foods deliberately because breast milk can make a child's body more tolerant to common allergens rather than more sensitive.

As your baby grows, they may prefer to eat with other family members, which has benefits such as strengthening family bonds and exposing the developing infant to a lot of language, stimulating brain development. To minimize the risk of food entering the baby's airway, feed them while sitting upright. Just like with breastfeeding or formula feeding, base the amount you feed on the baby's cues of fullness and hunger rather than focusing solely on ensuring they consume a specific amount of food at each meal.

02 Eating Habits

Teaching your child good eating habits is important. Sit upright when trying new foods, pause before taking another bite to ensure thorough chewing, and stop eating when full. Early eating habits will lay the foundation for good eating habits for life. Silicone baby spoons are a good option to avoid hurting the infant. Initially, offer small amounts of food during each feeding and talk to your baby during the process ("Come on, open wide, good baby!").

Your baby may appear confused and wrinkling their nose, completely rejecting the food you offer during the first two feedings. This is entirely understandable, as their eating habits are undergoing significant changes. Many babies enjoy eating cereal. You can purchase pre-made liquid baby cereals or dry cereals that need to be mixed with formula, breast milk, or water. Babies do not need sugar and salt added to their food. Once they can sit up by themselves, you can offer them small pieces of food they can hold and eat by themselves.

Most babies can feed themselves without external assistance by around 8 months old. Avoid giving them foods that require chewing, even if they already have teeth. After eating, gently wipe your baby's mouth with a damp cloth for oral care. You can make soft, fully cooked baby food at home. Steaming fresh vegetables and fruits is the easiest method. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against giving juice to babies because it doesn't provide essential nutrients. Giving juice to babies and toddlers can also lead to addiction to sweet drinks, causing excessive weight gain and tooth decay.

When you start introducing solid foods, your baby's stools may become easier to form, more varied in color, and may have a stronger odor. Peas and other green vegetables may turn your baby's stools dark green; beets may turn them red (sometimes their urine may also turn red). Your baby's stools may contain undigested food, especially from peas, corn, tomato skins, or other vegetable stems and leaves. This is all normal. If your baby's stool is very loose or contains mucus, it may indicate a problem with their digestive system. You should consult a doctor to see if your child has a digestive problem.

03 Nutritional Supplements

Do babies need iron supplements? Babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first 4 months after birth do not need additional iron supplementation because they are born with enough iron in their bodies to support their early growth. However, as they grow rapidly, their iron stores gradually decrease, and they may need iron supplements.

For some babies who are partially breastfed or exclusively breastfed at 4 months old, it is recommended to supplement with 1 mg of iron per kilogram of body weight orally per day until they start eating iron-fortified solid foods (such as high-iron baby cereal). If you have had pregnancy or childbirth complications (such as diabetes) or if your baby was born underweight, premature, or relatively small for their gestational age, and if your baby was breastfed after birth, they may need to start iron supplementation in the first month after birth.

Once you start introducing solid foods, your baby can obtain some iron from meats, high-iron baby cereal, and green vegetables.

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