Teething & Introducing Baby to Solid Foods

Your baby's first tooth usually appears at six or seven months, but can begin as early as three months or as long as a year for the first tooth to break through. Here are some things to watch for:

Teething

Teething ToyThe first signs of teething are heavy drooling and fussing. You can help ease teething pain by giving your baby a teething ring that is kept in the refrigerator to chew on. Eating cold foods such as applesauce or yogurt might also be soothing. You can gently rub his gums to help reduce the swelling and to help sooth him (be sure to wash your hands!). Some pediatricians recommend giving a small dose of children's pain reliever such as Infant Tylenol, but check with the doctor before giving your baby any medication. It might also be helpful to use a rubber-tipped spoon to protect your baby's sensitive gums during feeding.

Introducing Solid Foods

There are no hard rules about what solids to feed your baby and when to introduce them, but pediatricians and early childhood experts suggest following these guidelines for the first year:

  • 6 Months: Begin infant cereals (mixed with breast milk or formula)
  • 6-8 Months: Start pureed fruits and vegetables, start juices (mix fruit juice with water to reduce the amount of sugar you are giving your baby)
  • 7-10 Months: Start pureed meet, chicken, beans, rice, or tofu
  • Check the "use by" date on all containers, and put opened jars in the refrigerator
  • Serve foods at room temperature, avoid heating foods in the microwave---it can heat unevenly and create hot spots that can burn your baby's mouth
  • Introduce new foods one at a time, every 3-5 days, in order for you to watch for signs of allergic reactions

As your baby begins to eat solid foods, be sure that the food is soft and cut into small, bit-sized pieces. This is the time when chocking really becomes an issue. Avoid foods like nuts, chunks of meat or cheese, hard vegetables, hard or sticky candy, popcorn and chunks of peanut butter. The most important thing any parent or caregiver can do to prevent a child from choking is to supervise mealtimes. Children should be seated while eating---running around and playing with food in their mouths can be dangerous. Be sure to keep an eye on older brothers and sisters, they might try to feed a younger child large pieces of food or hand them tiny objects that can be swallowed. If your baby is choking, be sure to call 911 or your local Red Cross immediately and follow their instructions.

From Your Healthy Baby by I am Your Child

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