Starting your baby on Solids
This blog is dedicated to all the mums and dads who are about to embark on a new exciting adventure of introducing solids for their babies.
Being a parent is never ending journey and there is a lot of information around and at times all of it can be confusing.
As a mother of 3 children, I love to cook and believe that meal times should be fun. I wanted to share with you some basic principals of feeding solids to your baby.
Firstly it is important to mention that in May 2016 new Infant feeding guidelines were published, national alliance of pediatric food allergy clinicians and researchers in Melbourne have presented extensive evidence that introducing solids earlier around 4 months of age and not avoiding common allergens such as nuts, cows milk, cooked egg or wheat is likely to avoid allergy in children.
This is very different to what we recommended previously.
That means that if your baby is 4 months , had good head and neck control and is generally healthy it is time to think about solids.
It is important to remember that solids do not replace Breast Feeding.
My advice is to offer solids to your baby in the morning when they are happy and not tired.
I recommend to start with iron rich Rice Cereal available in all super markets, it is smooth, easy to digest and swallow, it can be diluted with boiled water, breast milk or formula. Initially your baby is likely to simply lick the spoon and it might take a few goes for them to learn what to do with it.
It is important to keep it fun for both you and the baby and not to worry or expect a certain amount to be
Once your baby is happy with Rice cereal and is able to take a few spoons of that, you can start to experiment.
Initially I recommend that you would add smooth pureed cooked fruit or vegetables to the rice cereal, examples are bananas, pear, apples, avocado, sweet potato, carrots, zucchini etc. My advice is to introduce savory vegetables before sweet fruit.
If your baby is happy you can start offering solids more frequently : breakfast, lunch and dinner.
One of my favourite things to make for my children is chicken soup, it is so simple and babies, children and adults can enjoy this fresh nourishing meal.
I buy a whole chicken and boil it with variety of herbs and whole onion for 30 min taking the froth away from the water to create clear chicken broth, I then add all the vegetables I have in my fridge: carrots, potato, sweet potato, broccoli, mushrooms etc- and cook it for another 20min.
At the end you can add peas, corn or even egg noodles .
For my baby I puree required amount and store it in small containers ready for meal time!!!
As your baby gets comfortable with pureed consistency and is a little older so around 7 months or so , you can start introducing foods of different more lumpy consistency such as mince, chicken, fish , you still make sure that lumps are soft and small, I generally mash food with a fork and then I watch the baby, some are very happy with lumpy food at 7 months, others prefer pureed consistency until 9months of age.
Safety of course always comes first, always make sure your baby is eating whilst sitting down , make sure their head is well supported by the seat, make sure that adult is always with a child during meal times.
From 9 months most babies are ready to start finger food, here it is important to offer them soft food options , I generally start off with toast cut up in soldiers with butter and Vegemite or avocado for lunch you can given them cooked pieces of protein such as meat, fish, chicken, tofu with boiled vegetables and for dinner my favourite chicken soup this time not pureed but rather mashed up with a fork.
It is important to think about introducing all food groups as mentioned above so giving your baby peanut butter is something we now recommend, eggs from 4 months of age, dairy yogurt, cheese , cottage cheese, ricotta
The aim is that by 12 months your baby is eating family meals with you.
I recommend that you try to make an effort to have meals together when possible and to expose your children to fresh, home cooked meals and don't forget to be creative, there are only very few rules to follow.
Meal times should be fun and something that we all look forward too. Your baby will copy what you eat, how you eat it and how much you enjoy it, so don't be shy to share what you think about food with your baby!!!
At Sapphire Family Medical Practice we are always very happy to answer any of your questions.
I hope I was able to answer a few for you in this blog.
Have a great day,
Dr Dasha Fielder