A Good Time to Introduce Solids
- The best time to begin solid foods with your baby is when they show signs of readiness, both physically and developmentally (generally between 6-8 months of age).
- Until 6 months of age, it is imperative not to introduce anything else into the infant’s system except for breast milk (or formula for those who cannot breastfeed)- NO rice cereals, juice, etc.
“…all babies, with rare exceptions, be breastfed and/or receive expressed human milk exclusively for the first six months of life.”
“…to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods, while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or more.
Developmental Readiness for Solid Foods:
It is especially important for parents who have infants born pre-term to take note of the following:
- One of the most important factors before beginning solid foods is to make sure baby’s gastrointestinal tract is mature enough. This happens right around 6 months of age for most. You can’t physically look down into their gut, so take note of the other signs of readiness:
- When your baby won’t automatically push the foods out of his mouth when you try offering. This is the tongue-thrust reflex, and babe will lose this reflex when he’s ready for solids.
- When your babe can sit upright without any assistance from you (this doesn’t mean sitting him in a “bumbo chair”… I don’t think those are ever appropriate for a baby).
- When your baby is grabbing at your food and wanting to check it out for himself (I find this just darling!) 🙂
- When your baby can grab things in his hands with what’s called the “pincer grasp,” holding objects with thumb and forefinger.
- When your baby is nursing for longer periods of time. It can be hard to tell whether baby is just nursing more due to illness, growth spurt, or comfort. KellyMom:
Many 6-month-old babies are teething, growth spurting, beginning to experience separation anxiety, and experiencing many other developmental changes that can lead to increased breastfeeding – sometimes all at once! Make sure you look at all the signs of solids readiness as a whole, because increased breastfeeding alone is not likely to be an accurate guide to baby’s readiness.
Baby Led Weaning
Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is a term used to let your baby self-feed. When introducing pureed foods first they learn to swallow, then chew (a reason many babies choke). With BLW, babies learn to chew first, and swallowing will eventually happen in time.
Foods to Begin With:
- avocado slices
- steamed carrot slices
- homemade potato fries
- homemade sliced chicken strips
- banana cut in thirds (giving her 1/3)
- slices of cucumber
A Few Simple Tips for BLW:
- In my experience, I gave my daughter all the same things I was eating, in small chip shaped pieces/slices.
- At first, they usually make a huge mess, which leaves you wondering if they even ate anything.
- It looks like they are playing, but really they are practicing!
- Have some patience, and by all means leave the plates and bowls in the cupboard. Place their food directly on the table or their high chair.
- Give your child what you are eating. You don’t have to try and prepare anything special. If I was eating pasta and meat sauce, I gave my daughter pasta and meat sauce.
- If by the end of their meal, you’re concerned they didn’t eat enough, give them 1/3 banana, or some cucumber slices to gnaw on.
- Patience! Messes will happen, food will fly all over the place, invest in a few table cloths and bibs that can be easily thrown in the washing machine.
- Here is a great website on BLW if you have further questions.
- Several great BLW books to help!
- To address food sensitivities, it might be a good idea to check out the info here and here.
Store Bought Purees
- Buy organic whenever possible, and if you’d like to learn more about why, try here.
- Preferably the food be in glass jars, and if you’d like to learn more about why, try here.
My Recommended Brands:
I am not affiliated with any of the above, just suggestions. 🙂
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Make Your Own Purees
I’m not going to try and re-invent the wheel here. Momtastic has an amazing resource for making your own:
- Momtastic’s Wholesome Baby Food website
- World Health Organization
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- Health Canada
- The Visual MD
- KellyMom- Solid Foods
- Baby Led Weaning (BLW)
- Wholesome Baby Food (Momtastic)
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Content Created: 07/14