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Things to Know about Feeding Baby Solids
- World Health Organization (WHO), American Academy of Pediatrics and Health Canada with the Canadian Pediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada and Breastfeeding Committee recommend babies to be exclusively breast-fed for first 6 months and be introduced solid food at 6 months, with breast feeding continue up to 2 years.
- Even when feeding baby solids, the nutrients for the baby come mainly from breast milk up to a year.
- Continue to breast feed and give vitamin D supplement up to a year with solid food.
- In the beginning, you are helping your baby to get used to and taste solid food so the goal is not getting your baby to eat it all.
- Start out with a single ingredient until you know your baby can tolerate each of the ingredients. This will help you identify easier which food your baby is allergic to.
- Cook vegetable or fruit before cooking, Cook meat until it’s fully cooked.
- Feed the same food for 4 days then introduce new food.
- Start out with thin purees in the beginning and gradually thicken the texture once your baby is used to the food. (pureed to thicker liquid to chunkier liquid)
- Baby’s stomach is size of her/his fist. It’s better to do small feedings frequently, not all at once. Start out with one or two tea spoons at one feeding then graduate to a table spoon. It’s not about filling her stomach, it’s about giving an experience and taste in the beginning.
- Remember feeding solids is a gradual process. Don’t force feeding if the baby don’t want to eat. Make the feeding experience positive for your baby.
- Let your baby decide how much to eat.
- Always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.
Many pediatricians in United States have been suggesting parents to start out with infant cereal when starting solids. They’ve also recommended to wait till a baby is 8 months old when introducing meat. However, this is changing nowadays. European countries and UK and Canada suggest to feed meat, beans or lentils as a baby’s first food even before veggies or fruits. Your baby’s iron stores from birth starts to diminish at 6 months. If your baby is exclusively breastfed, breastfeeding alone will not meet baby’s iron requirements and the baby can become iron-deficient. Therefore, it is important for exclusively breast-fed babies to get iron-rich food starting at 6 months. If your baby is formula-fed, you can often meet the iron level from iron-fortified formula.
Although you can start with iron-fortified infant cereal, if you want to go by more natural food route for your baby, iron can be provided through iron-rich natural food such as meat or eggs. After all, infant cereal is processed food with sugar molecules. For exclusively breast-fed babies, start with iron-rich food such as meat or eggs before veggies or fruits. If you do not start with meat or eggs, still introduce them to the baby at 6 months rather than the later month.
Egg white is often associated with the allergy so it was recommended to wait until baby’s 8 months to introduce the eggs. However, recent researches now say that some food that can be allergic to your baby such as eggs, fish, peanuts should be introduced from the beginning rather than delaying introducing them. The research shows delaying them doesn’t prevent allergies. Eggs has iron and many nutrients so it can be a good first food for your baby.
Best First Food
It doesn’t matter which single ingredient listed below you introduce first. Introduce iron-rich food in the beginning if your baby is breast-fed exclusively. Once your baby eats iron-rich food, offer veggies or fruits. If you started out with Avocado or Banana, that is okay too. Try to include iron-rich food in the beginning rather than introducing them in later month.
- Eggs (White and Yolk) – iron, choline, arachidonic acid -cholin and arachidonic acid are good for development of the baby’s brain which grow as its most rapid rate the first year of life. Boiled egg yolk with breast milk is a good choice. Egg yolk includes vitamin A, D, and E, vitamin B12, choline, folic acid and vitamin B, biotin, inositol, niacin, vitamin B6, riboflavin, thiamin, proteinand, iron.
- Chicken or Turkey – These meats are high in protein and iron and they are easy to digest for a baby. They also contain small amounts of vitamins, manganese, zinc, copper. Breast is higher in protein and lower in fat. Thighs and legs is higher in iron and higher in fat. Choose organic if you can.
- Beef -Beef has protein, iron, calcium, folate and B vitamins. Choose organic or grass-fed beef if you can. Top Sirloin, Eye of round Roast or Lean Ground beef is a good choice.
Veggies & Fruits
- Sweet potatoes – Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin E, calcium, folate, beta carotene
- Avocado – B-vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin C, potassium, folate, carotenoid lutein, beta-carotene, copper, Monounsaturated fatty acid
- Bananas – Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, A, C, Folate, Potassium, Phosphorus, Selenium, Magnesium, Calcium
- Butternut squashes – Vitamin A, Folate, Calcium, Portein, Iron, Potassium, Dietary fiber, Carbohydrate
- Pears – Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, B2, Niacin, Folate, Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium
6 months – 1-3 tablespoons of food 1-2 times a day
- Single ingredient purees
- Puree foods with a little breast milk, formula, or water to the desired consistency.
- Start out with 1 table spoon first few feedings then 2 spoons, 3 spoons
- Start out with once a day. Once baby is used to the solids, feed twice a day.
- Week 4, baby is on a wider variety of foods now. Try mixing those acceptable foods.
- Feed the same food for 4 days before you introduce new food.
- You can start out with meat, veggies, fruits or cereal as a first food. It doesn’t matter which one first. However, try to introduce iron-rich food at 6 months if your baby is breast-fed exclusively.
- Some ingredients may be too hard for a young baby to digest at 6 months. Start out with easy-to-digest ingredients and introduce others in the later month. For example, wait on beans, lentills or tofu till 8 months since young baby may not be able to digest them properly. Also introduce fish early however, not as THE first food. (6-7 months)
- 10AM may be ideal for trying out the food. Usually babies are in a good mood in the morning. Feed at the same time every day. If baby eats lots, feed at 6 pm also.
7 – 8 months – Feed 2-3 times a day and 1-2 snacks a day. Some babies may be eating up to 8 ounces
of solid foods a day.
- Smooth Single Ingredient or Combination Purees
Check out Stage 1 organic baby food.
9 – 10 months 3 times a day 1 – 2 snacks a day
- Chunky Combination Purees
Check out Stage 2 organic baby food.
11 -12 months – 3 times a day, 2 snacks a day
- Soft Diced Foods
- Finger Foods
Check out Stage 3 organic baby food.
12-18 months – 3 times a day, 2 snacks a day
- Finger Foods
- Toddler Meals
Check out organic Toddler meals.
Food that you should not feed your baby
- Honey until 1 year old (even in cooked food)
- Cow’s milk, until 1 year old
- Soy or other plant based beverages until 2 years old
- Unpasteurized milk at any age
- Unpasteurized cheese or juices until 2 years old
- Raw sprouts such as alfalfa, mung, and bean
- Raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, fish and seafood
- Processed food such as cold cuts
- No salt or sugar in the baby food
- Don’t puree your own turnips, carrots, beets, collard greens or spinach until your baby is at least 7 months because they may have large amounts of nitrates. Nitrates can cause anemia in young infants. You can buy these items at the store which is nitrate-free.
Food that Your baby Could Choke On
- Whole grapes, cherries
- Cherry tomatoes
- Hard raw vegetables
- Nuts or large seeds
- Hot dog wieners
- Chewing gum
- Chunky peanut butter (smooth is okay)
Baby Food Storage
- Don’t let baby food sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Before storing leftover baby food in the refrigerator, make sure you didn’t dip your baby’s spoon in it during feeding. This could make bacteria grow.
- Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods within 2 hours of purchasing or preparing them.
- Fruits and veggies: store in the fridge up to 48 hrs (both home made or store-bought baby food)
- Meat, poultry, fish, eggs: store in the fridge up to 24 hrs. (both home made or store-bought baby food)
- Store food in the freezer up to 1-3 months. (ideally 1 month because freezing changes the consistency.)
- Baby food can be stored in the ice cube trays or silicone freezer trays then put into the freezer. Some food is better frozen as a solid than pureed. Some food may change quality after freezing.
- Leave some room on the top in the cubes before freezing since the liquid tends to expand when freezing.
- Do not thaw baby food in room temperature. Use microwave, boiling water or fridge to thaw.
- Do not re-freeze thawed food. Cook the thawed food to refreeze it.
- Never re-freeze breast milk. Do not freeze formula. Do not use previously frozen breast milk to thin purees. If you need to use breast milk or formula to thin purees, mix it after when you are ready to serve food to the baby.