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Health & Baby

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Baby Nutrition 101

Month 5, Week 4

Break out the bibs and a stack of napkins. It's safe to introduce solid foods, if you haven't already done so.

Many parents transition their babies to solids by mixing familiar breast milk or formula with rice cereal.

Once your baby gets used to eating from a spoon, gradually add other foods to the menu.

Though your baby is still very young and some of her food will get on her (and on you) rather than into her, this is the perfect time to begin a healthy diet that hopefully will last a lifetime.

Try these healthy choices:

  • Start your baby on a healthy diet. Vegetables, protein, grains, and fruits have lots of nutrients to offer.
  • Iron-rich foods are important because the iron stores your baby was born with have become depleted. Sources include fortified cereals, meat (beef, chicken, and lamb), and spinach.
  • If you've been breastfeeding, serve red meat, turkey, and lentils to add zinc to your baby's diet. It boosts the immune system.
  • Your baby may need some fiber in her diet to stay regular. Try prunes, pear juice, or oatmeal.

Your Baby's Development This Week

Your baby's squeals and coos are transforming into the goo-goo's and ga-ga's you've been expecting to hear. She's been listening to you closely, and now she's mimicking your sounds and inflections.

Here's what to expect from your talker-in-training:

  • You'll hear one-syllable sounds like "ba" and "ga" now. In about a month, she'll repeat sounds to say things like "mama" and "la-la."
  • Your baby may practice the same sound for a day or more before moving onto another sound. Her babbling doesn't mean anything, so don't record her first word in the baby book yet!
  • Encourage your baby to become a conversationalist: Repeat any recognizable syllables back to her whenever she babbles.

Month 5, Week 4 Tips

  • Those first meals are going to be messy, and it's going to take a while. Go with the flow.
  • If your child has a meltdown during a meal, take a breath and regroup. Your energy may help set the stage to try again.
  • It's OK for your child to try some of your food. If she's curious, let her have a taste.
  • If your baby doesn't like a food the first time, try it again another day. She may reject a new food several times before accepting it.
  • Don't make your child finish eating a particular food. You don't want to set up a power struggle.
  • Anything (other than food) that your baby can reach must be too big to swallow. Even coins, batteries, and toy race cars can be a choking hazard.
  • Remember, you count. Make it a habit to ask yourself how you're doing. Find little ways to be good to yourself every day.

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