Thursday, October 6, 2011

Starting Solid Foods: How I made the transition from bottle to solid foods.

Making the transition from the bottle or breast to solid food can seem daunting as a first time parent. It is not something that you will remember for the rest of our life either. If you are anything like me once this stage of parenting is over, so is the texbook training and research you put into knowing everything there was to know about getting your baby started on solid foods. All of that hard earned knowledge seems to fly right out the door once my babies are eating solid foods.

Right now I am starting my six  month old on solid foods and I am having to go back and re-learn everything all over again! Since I am putting in all of this work to re-educate myself, I thought I would share my findings and experiences.

When to start feeding more than milk?
Bottle & NurserMost babies are ready to be introduced to solid foods at 4-6 months of age. Up until this point babies only need breast milk or formula.

If a baby is is able to hold their head in the upright position or is an assisted sitter, they might be ready to be introduced to solid foods. These are two skills that are needed for eating solid foods. Make sure you get the okay from your pediatrician before making changes to your babies diet.

There are many different ideas floating around about how to begin feeding your baby cereal and solids foods. There are many different ideas about what is right and what is wrong. I will share with you what works for me.

Some things to watch out for:
Keep an eye out for allergic responses such as diarrhea, rash or vomiting. If any of these occur, eliminate the food from his/her diet and call your pediatrician.

How to start:
I breastfeed my child all of his feedings with the exception of his last meal before bed. This meal is when I introduce solid foods. I do the last meal of the day in order to help my son sleep through the night.

The introduction of solid food all begins with the foundation of cereal. Single-grain cereal is a good way to check for food sensitivity.

Single-grain baby rice cereal is usually introduced first, followed by single-grain oatmeal cereal, and then single-grain barley cereal. I give each new food being introduced a week before I introduce another new food. I DO NOT introduce wheat cereal until 8 months of age.

To begin, I mix 1 tablespoon of a single-grain baby cereal with 4 to 5 tablespoons of breast milk or formula. This should have the consistency of soupy milk. Once the baby gets the hang of swallowing runny cereal the mixture will have less liquid.

NurserAlmost everyone has told me at one point in time or another not to use a bottle when feeding solid foods. You should use a spoon in order to get the baby used to the process of eating. Your baby should learn to sit up, take bites from a spoon, rest in between bites, and stop eating once full. I do not use a bottle to feed my baby solid foods; I use both a spoon and a baby food nurser.

When I am in a hurry or out and about and I do not want to make a huge mess I use a baby food nurser to feed my son. The design of the baby food nurser allows your baby to eat cereal through a nipple. There is a strainer in the bottle that blocks chunks from passing through to the nipple. The baby food nurser has been a lifesaver for me on many ocassions, especially when my son is super upset and refuses to use a spoon!

Now that I have spent three weeks introducing single-grain rice, single-grain oatmeal, and single-grain barley to my child it is time to start introducing actual food!

Baby Food:

Spoon, Bowl, & Baby 1st Foods
Once a baby has the hang of eating cereal it is time to introduce single ingredient vegetables and fruits into his/her diet.

I start off introducing my children to single ingredient vegetable puree baby food. I introduce vegetables before fruit because I know that once I introduce fruit the vegetables will no longer be apealing. Fruit has natural sugar in it making it taste sweet.

I mix part of the container of vegetables with cereal and breast milk/formula. I feed the mixture to my son. He is already used to the taste and texture of the cereal and milk mixture, so he is more likely to try the vegetable. I change up his bites between the milk/cereal/vegetable mixture and the plain vegetables if I am using a spoon to feed him. If I am using the baby nurser, I mix it all together and feed him his vegetables as a mixture.

My son eats one new vegetable a week. I wait a whole week before introducing a new vegetable or fruit into my sons diet. This way, if there is a reaction I know what caused it.

I introduce vegetables at the last meal of the day. Once we start introducing fruits into my baby’s diet we change the morning feeding from breastmilk to cereal and single ingredient fruits.

Once I have made my way through cereals, vegetable purees, and fruit purees and my baby’s eating skills have progressed, he will be ready to try foods with more texture and variety.

I normally make all of my own baby food at home once we enter this stage of eating. It is easy and inexpensive to buy fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables and create baby food at home once you no longer have to worry about it being perfectly smooth.

Finger Foods:
Around 8 to 10 months of age most babies can handle finely chopped soft finger foods. Some examples of appropriate finger foods are diced soft fruit, cooked noodles, crackers, and cheese. Remember to keep all finger foods bite size; avoid choking hazards!

By baby’s first birthday most babies should be able to eat mashed or chopped versions of whatever the rest of the family is eating.

Experts Reccomendations:
Experts recommend waiting to introduce cows milk and honey to your baby until they are 12 months old. A baby's digestive system cannot digest cow's milk proteins and honey may contain spores that can cause botulism in babies.

So much has changed within just the last two years! When I was introducing my first born son to solid foods I was given a whole list from my pediatrician of which foods to avoid feeding my baby. Now that I am starting to feed my youngest son solid foods that list has dramatically changed.

Until very recently, parents were told to avoid feeding young children eggs, fish, and peanut butter. It was thought that food allergies could be avoided this way. Now researchers are saying that there is no convincing evidence that doing this will help prevent food allergies. 

Either way, I think it is a good idea to talk to a pediatrician before making the decision to try out these foods.

I know that when I transitioned from the bottle to baby food I was terrified! I became a sponge, soaking up all the information and advice I could get. I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful in some way.

Written by: Laura Andry
Medical Disclaimer:
The medical information provided on Mom Mart is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional (for instance, a qualified doctor, physician, nurse, and so on). Mom Mart is not a doctor. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. Nothing on Mom Mart should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a medical opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of medicine. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

1 comment:

  1. I had never heard of the baby food nurser before. Cool!


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