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At your baby’s six-month infant clinic , it is very likely your pediatrician (child doctor) will begin a conversation with you about starting complementary foods (solid foods). It is most common to begin with baby cereals mixed with breast milk or infant formula to continue providing a nutritionally balanced meal while advancing your child’s oral eating skills. The Pediatrician Association of Nigeria (PAN) recommends a few general nutrition principles when introducing first solid foods.
The PAN recommends introducing solid foods at around 6 months of age because this is when a child has displayed appropriate developmental milestones such as adequate head control, neck control, better control of the throat, and the ability to sit on their own. Around this time, you may notice your baby reaching for some of your food and showing more interest in what you are eating. These are signs that your growing infant baby is ready to try solid foods.
Pediatricians also recommends starting with iron-fortified food. For exclusively breastfed infants, iron needs to be supplemented in the diet starting at 4 to 6 months of age as breast milk becomes an insufficient iron source. The same is true for formula-fed infants receiving less than one liter of formula per day.