Veggies, veggies, veggies, flavor, flavor, flavor! A baby’s first foods are not about nutrition, but rather, the experience and the exposure. In fact, how much a baby ingests in these very early stages are, more often than not, not very much at all! For the first 2, 5, or 15 times, it might be at most a teaspoon or two. All babies are different and all progress at different rates so it is important to listen to them and progress when they are ready (also known as responsive feeding) . Remember, all his nutrition is coming from milk right now, so use this opportunity to build on a range of flavor exposures and experiences. Experiment and have fun and you just might be surprised! It might take several times for him to accept a new flavor, that’s normal.
Repetition (a spoonful or two is all that is required) and persistence is the key to building acceptance and preference. [5, 9, 91] The good news is, studies have shown that this persistence pays off. Exposure to a wide variety of minimally processed vegetables, spanning right across the flavor profiles, in their single form (i.e. not mixed with a sweet puree), on multiple occasions, can dramatically increase his chances of solidifying healthy preferences for life. [2, 3, 7, 10, 19, 21, 32, 45, 51] Unfortunately, this can go both ways. If his dietary exposures are predominantly over-processed (infant cereal), sweet (the use of fruit and sweet vegetables to mask savoury or bitter flavors), or salty (as are most savory snacks), it is likely these will be the preferences he will take with him into the future. So, veggies in their single form first, veggies in variety, and veggies in repetition.
Be prepared. Starting solids is messy, it rarely goes as straightforward as parents would hope, and you can guarantee there will be bumps along the way! That said, it can also be a rewarding experience and a journey you can enjoy together as a family.
Breast milk or infant formula remains the most important nutrient source for the first year of life, and complementary foods must not be given in amounts that will dramatically reduce milk intake. This can be achieved by giving a milk feed before giving solid foods, which are then used as a ‘top-up’ at the end of the meal. At around 8 to 9 months of age, complementary foods can be offered before the milk feed. Gradually, complementary foods displace milk feeds, but breast milk or infant formula should remain a prominent part of an infant’s diet until at least 12 months old.
Apart from the obvious ones of sugar and salt, there are a number of other food products you should avoid in the first year of life . These include:
Infants and toddlers rely entirely on their caregivers to teach them what, when, and how to eat. Healthy feeding practices foster responsive parenting , which in turn lay down the foundations for long-term healthy eating habits and behaviors.
Only offer food for hunger and not for any other reason. Offering food to infants and children for comfort, entertainment, or as bribery can lead to long-term problems with emotional eating and overeating . It can also serve to increase his dislike of healthy food if an unhealthy alternative is offered as bribery.
This is the number-one fear for all parents when starting babies on solids. The truth is, choking is not as common as you may think, especially if you take precautions to prevent it . What is more common is gagging. It can be no less frightening for parents, however, it is important to know what the difference is and a plan of action if required. 
Signs of gagging include:
Gagging is normal. In young infants the gag reflex is very prominent. This natural automatic response is actually a protection mechanism to prevent choking. This strong tongue-thrust reflex, when food stimulates the back of the mouth, is why you should wait until at least 4 to 5 months before introducing solids. Even still, this can make those early feeding sessions quite difficult (and messy!) until he gets used to moving food to the back of the throat. As he gets older, this sensitivity in the back of the mouth will slowly diminish and he will be able to manage larger and more complex texture more independently.
It is important we don’t intervene when he is gagging as this can actually interrupt his ability to cough/gag food back up and may even cause food to dislodge further down into his airway. Rather, offer praise and support and don’t show any anxiety or fear. Remember, we want to foster a good relationship with food and mealtimes. Showing our own anxieties unnecessarily can be detrimental in overly sensitive children.
Signs of choking include:
Choking, on the other hand, is a lot more serious and it is important we all know what to do if it does happen, before it happens. Choking happens when something is stuck in the back of the throat and he is unable to cough/gag it back out. As it can obstruct the airway and stop the ability to breath, it can be life threatening. It is therefore strongly recommended that caregivers are skilled in knowing what to do in the unlikely event of a choking episode. 
If he falls unconscious immediately call for help and commence CPR. 
There are many foods that can stimulate an allergic response. The most common are:
Although it can feel daunting to introduce potentially allergenic foods, research now shows us that leaving it for too long can actually exacerbate the problem. Evidence affirms that the early introduction of potential allergens, even in high-risk infants, can actually help protect against the development of an allergy.1 In light of this, most guidelines around the world advise to introduce all potential allergens in the first year of life, but not before 4 months. [34, 36, 37, 55, 77]
However, if someone in your baby’s immediate family (mother, father, sibling) is known to have a severe allergy to any of the food groups, please consult with your pediatrician first.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) New Guidelines for Infant Food Allergy Prevention:
What Families Need to Know
The AAP guidelines recommend early “purposeful” introduction of allergens to help reduce your baby’s food allergy risk.
Introduce foods like peanut, egg, and milk when baby is 4 to 11 months old, regardless of baby’s risk for food allergies.
Families with infants at high risk for peanut allergies (due to family allergy history and/or severe eczema) should introduce peanuts into their baby’s diet at 4 to 6 months.
Breastfeeding alone is not enough to prevent food allergies, although it may help prevent eczema.
Feeding your baby hydrolyzed formula will not reduce your baby’s food allergy risk.
How to Introduce Allergenic Foods
Rub a small amount of smooth peanut butter (a good-quality peanut butter without added salt or sugar) on the inside of the infant’s lip (not on their skin).
Repeat the steps above but with a well-cooked egg. You can mix a small amount (1⁄4 teaspoon) of mashed hard-boiled egg with a liquid such as breast milk or formula, or into the baby’s usual food (such as vegetable puree). There is no need to separate the white and yolk.
In general, if there is going to be an allergic reaction to a certain food, it will most likely occur when he is eating, or shortly after. Very occasionally it doesn’t show up for several hours so it is important to keep a close eye on him for potential signs, especially when introducing the common allergens. It is always a good idea to have a chat with your health professional before you introduce the most common allergens (peanuts, egg, fish, dairy). They may advise to have some medication on hand in case it is required.
Signs of a mild to moderate allergic reaction
Signs of severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
Yes. Allergic reactions do not always occur on the first exposure to the new food. Monitor him if it is a common allergen (e.g. peanuts, egg, dairy) for at least 6 exposures. Once introduced, it is a good idea to keep exposing him to that food on a regular basis (once a week is good) as this helps to build up his immune system to that particular food.
A food allergy stimulates an immune response and can result in these symptoms  within 2 hours of exposure. A food intolerance, on the other hand , results in a range of mainly digestive symptoms, including abdominal bloating, wind, diarrhea, nausea, and indigestion. However, a food intolerance can also result in eczema flare-ups and/or asthma. Sometimes these symptoms can mimic other medical conditions and it’s advised you follow up with your pediatrician.
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Disclaimer: The information provided is the opinion of Good Feeding, it has not been evaluated by healthcare professionals, and is for educational purposes only. Before starting any new foods or feeding practices, please consult your baby's healthcare professional.