Introducing solid food
We started to give solids to our dear boy when he was 4 and half months old. Though people asked us to introduce solids as early as 3 months, we did go by our Pediatrician’s advice. Our doctor had suggested that it would be better to start solids if the babies are ready to sit, well at least become supported sitter.
We first gave our dear son oat meal cereal and he enjoyed it I usually make him sit on my lap and feed him. These days we are practising him sit in his chair (seater/high chair) and have his meal. Though Skandhu opens his mouth for next scoop, he wouldn’t wait for long. Mommy has to feed him fast… [No slow motion allowed ] Mommy should feed him uninterrupted just as he drinks milk from his bottle. This naughty boy sometimes does purr purring (word courtesy: Skandhus mommy) while I feed him. Wats purr purr?? Not the sound of cat. As I bring the spoon near his mouth, Skandhu would blow air (as though he makes purr kind of sound) and wats the result..? Big mess! Cereal on my hands, his legs and generously on his bib!! Did I mention he has lovely bibs with catchy words (“Wild one”, “Trouble maker”, “Party guy”, “Cool dude” etc.. and all the words describe him perfectly!!) I spread big sheet of paper in front of us and keep lots of paper towel nearby, just to avoid mess Every time Amma scolds Skandhu as “Messy boy”, bapa says.. “Boys are messy!” (Ahh… men!!!)
Mommy’s tips on starting solids to babies: [Thanks: New Baby Care by Dr. Miriam stoppard, pamphlets from North Arlington Pediatrics]
When to start solids: Can I start solids now? Would it be too early? Should I wait for few more months? These are the questions that occur when you think of introducing solids. Relatives and friends would urge to introduce solid food as early as in 3 month. Advices galore But wait! Babies would not be able to digest complex food (anything other than breast milk or formula) and the undigested food would pass through their digestive track, putting lots of strain on their immature kidneys. Though we can start introducing solids anywhere between 4 to 6 months, it would be better to get cues from your LO. Your baby may demand more milk (or more number of feedings) than he used to take usually. He may not be satisfied with his intake after every feed and may fuss for more milk. These are the signs to know that your little guy is ready for solids. My ped suggests that it would be wise to start solids when the baby becomes a supported sitter. Feeding babies in lying down position may cause choking, hence wait till the LO sits with support (on high chair/on mommy’s lap).
Home made or Store bought canned baby food: Are the store bought baby food healthy? Is it safe to use canned food? Honestly speaking, I felt too guilty to start a store bought food till I read this.
Making your own baby food is an option, but commercial varieties are safe and nutritious too, says Frank Greer, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin and former chairman of American Academy of pediatrics National Committee on Nutrition. (Thanks: babytalk feb 2010 issue)
Well, am not promoting any jarred baby food Just wanted to share the info that jarred baby foods safe to use. While preparing food at home, ensure that the utensils used for preparation are sterilized.
What to give first: You can start with single grain cereal like rice, barley or oat meal. If you wish introduce purees, then start with vegetables. Begin with yellow vegetables like squash, sweet potatoes. or carrots. After the baby takes all yellow vegetables, start with the green ones like green peas and green beans. It is better to begin with vegetables, rather than fruits to establish a taste for the vegetables. You may try any vegetable in rotation. Fruits like banana, pear, peaches, prunes and apple sauce can be given.
We started with oat meal cereal. Then introduced yellow and then green vegetables. After Skandhu took all these without fussing, we started with fruits. While trying out yellow vegetables, we first gave him carrots. But that came flying on my face May be he didn’t like the taste. We didnt force him to eat. Instead we gave him sweet potatoes, he enjoyed eating it (Sweet tooth!!). After that we gave him sqaush. He did relish squash. Then again we introduced carrots, this time Skandhu enjoyed eating carrots too. All he required was some TIME to get adjusted
Rice cereal or Oat meal: My Ped suggest that if your baby is too gassy then start with oat meal than rice. Rice cereal would cause more bloating.
How much should we feed (Quantity): Cereal –> 1-4 tablespoons with 1-3 oz of breast milk/formula. Purees –> 2-4 oz. While starting the cereal/purées for the first time feed only 3-4 tsps. Then slowly increase the quantity depending on how much your baby is ready to take. Some may feel that giving more solids would help the baby sleep longer. May be true! But your baby doesn’t need 3 meals of solids at an early age of 4-6 months. He should take more of milk (breast milk or formula) than solids. It would be wise to increase solids only after 9 months.
What to do if the baby doesn’t finish his meal: Don’t force your baby to finish his meal. He may take less/more amount than what you read in baby books. Feed few tsps of any new food. If the baby likes it he may open his mouth for his next scoop. That way we can make sure that baby is ready for more. Take cues from your baby. If your baby doesn’t show interest in taking solids, moves his head away from the spoon then it means he doesn’t want it. Wait for few more days (a week or so) and then start again.
How long should we wait before starting a new food: It is always good to wait 4-5 days before adding each new food. It is important to watch for the signs of FOOD INTOLERANCE.
Can we give water: Yes. You can give 1-6 oz water. But it is not necessary!
Can we give juices: Again juices are not necessary. If you wish to try then to go ahead with diluted sugar less ones.
Can we give cow’s milk: Do not give cow’s milk till your baby is a year old. Switch from formula to milk should be done very slowly. Give only 2% or whole milk and avoid skim milk.
Also avoid honey, soft boiled eggs, food containing wheat flour or gluten until your baby is about one year old.
Wondering when to start 2nd stage baby food? Click Introducing 2nd stage solid food.