S.K. asks from Chicago, IL on October 17, 2010
Introducing Solids - Saint Paul,MN
My baby will be 6 months this week, He is 4 months adjusted age. His last appointment his ped had told me we can start solids for him at 6 months. I need some guidance on how to introduce solids. I was told to start off with rice cereal.. I am very clueless as this is my first baby and my family do not live in USA , so first foods given in my country is very different and they are not able to help me out much since I live here.
Can you please let me know what foods I should be starting with and also recommend any brand/shops where I can buy them. Also, how long do I just give rice cereal and how many times a day? What foods do I introduce after that? What foods to avoid? And how much solids to feed him each day as he grows? I have many more such basic questions but hope you got an idea what information I am looking for. Any website/books you recommend which I can follow for solids as he grows. I will be doing it all on my own and want to make sure I am doing it right! I know many prepare their own baby food at home. Is baby food just mashed/pureed veggies/fruits or do they have recipes for that too? Can I just makethem in my blender or are there better ones for preparing baby food? Is it better to just buy the food jars I see in stores? Please let me know how you went about introducing solids for your baby and if it worked well for you. Thanks a lot!
A.K. answers from Minneapolis on October 18, 2010
Another vote for http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com - they have tons of information about what to give babies when & how to prepare it, all for free!
A.G. answers from Pocatello on October 17, 2010
K for the first year of your babies life the majority of his nutrition should come from breast milk or formula. Basically all cereal and baby food is for is to teach your baby how to eat and to start getting used to different flavors. So when you start rice cereal it's a really small amount like 2 tbsp mixed with breast milk or formula. You give it to him and then still nurse or give him a bottle too. But he is still really young so if he doesn't care for it or it makes him spit up or get constipated then stop giving it to him for now and try again in a couple months. Both my girls never liked the cereal or baby food so they never ate it. I just nursed them until they were old enough to start eating table food like around 11 months. So just give it a try and give him a few spoonfuls to see if he likes it.
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J.C. answers from Anchorage on October 17, 2010
Rice cereal is a training food. Start by mixing it very runny. You will know your baby is ready to start eating when he can move the food from the spoon to the back of his mouth with his tongue and swallow without gagging. If he gags, wait a couple of days and try again. Once he is taking the thin cereal, start slowly making it thicker. Give it to him once or twice a day, but do not let it interfere with his formula/breast milk intake since rice cereal has no real nutritional value and is simply a training tool. Once he is taking the rice cereal well you can switch to oatmeal and than mixed grain. All these can be found in the infant section at Walmart or Target, or at any local grocery store. After he has been on oats or mixed grains for at least a week you can start to introduce veggies. My ped said to start all veggies first since fruit allergies are more common. Wait 3 or 4 days between new foods so you can watch for any reactions. Make sure to introduce only one new food at a time, and avoid mixed flavors until you have already tried all the different ingredients separately. As he starts to eat more you can add feedings until he is eating 3 times a day, but he should still be taking in plently of formula or breast milk as well. Talk with your Ped, they can help guide you along the way, and be sure to avoid dairy and eggs until 12 months, and peanuts(nuts in general) and honey until 24 months.
1 mom found this helpful
B. answers from Minneapolis on October 17, 2010
I was also clueless with my first baby. I bought a book by Ruth Yaron, called "Super Baby Food". It was fantastic. It told me when to introduce each food, how much to give the baby and also showed me how to cook all my own baby food. I never bought a jar in the shop and saved a ton of money! I agree with the other Mom (as did Ruth Yaron) that the baby's primary source of nutrition is breast milk or formula and the solids are really just a step toward eating table food. If your baby doesn't like something, don't worry. Try another time or try something else. Good luck.
1 mom found this helpful
K.S. answers from Minneapolis on October 18, 2010
I agree that starting with the same foods you would in your home country (as many as you can source while here) would probably be better than rice cereal. The US puts too much focus on carbohydrates rather than easily digestible protein sources and "good fats" like avocado. Hence we tend to have the high rates of diabetes and obesity.
Jarred baby food is expensive in my opinion. I made my own by just cooking and blending it to whatever texture my baby was ready to eat. I would make a larger batch of one thing, freeze it in ice cube trays, and then store it in the freezer until I was ready to thaw it for my son. That way you can introduce more variety than what is commercially available. The books people recommended are a great place to start for ideas. Just introduce foods one or two at a time to make sure there is no allergy or food sensitivity issue.
E.J. answers from Milwaukee on October 18, 2010
I made all my daughter's food, and she's a terrific eater. I think, in part, because she didn't start with the bland jarred baby food. I second the recommendation for www.wholesomebabyfood.com. I also consulted the book, "Top 100 Baby Purees" by Annabel Karmel. I used a small Cuisinart mini prep since that was the perfect size for making small amounts.
If your baby is breastfed, you really don't have to start with rice cereal since breastmilk already has so many carbs. This approach was condoned by our pediatrician; rice cereal is just sort of a cultural norm but not an absolute. We started with a lot of vegetables and fruits, waiting several days between each before trying a new one. Then we started with oatmeal prepared at home. (The boxed rice cereal tastes really, truly awful.)
Your baby won't eat much right away, just a couple spoonfuls. Don't try to force more - it's a really new experience they are trying to get used to. Start once, then twice a day and increase the food as his appetite for it increases. Don't stress: it's not so hard! The most important thing before he turns one is just to expose him to a lot of different tastes and let him take the lead. Most of his food intake should still be breastmilk or formula.
R.R. answers from Madison on October 18, 2010
I agree with going with what you know (your cultural norms and customs). I followed all of the "advice" with my first baby - rice cereal, pureed food, then mushy food, etc. but with my second child, I'm much more relaxed. My second child (10 months) eats less pureed food and more mushy food (well-cooked veggies: peas, carrots, corn, green beans, sweet potatoes, fruits: bananas, strawberries, canteloupe, grapes, apples, yogurt, stewed prunes (for iron and constipation), cereals: barley, rice, multigrain, oatmeal, egg yolks, grated cheese, dry toast, tofu, lentils, brown rice, pasta. Some of the reason she eats more mushy foods is that I started her on solids later - she was about 8 months before I really got serious and also because she is much happier when she can feed herself.
I wouldn't worry too much about when you start solids, what is more important is whether or not your baby is ready. Does your baby show interest in your food when you are eating? Did your baby stop the tongue reflex - where they stick their tongue out? As others have mentioned breast milk or formula is what they really need for the first 12 months. Solid food during this first year is more about teaching them to eat and introducing new tastes, textures and the like.
I made and still make all of our baby food. My first child refused to eat jarred food. I was traveling with him and brought some along for the convenience but he would not eat it. I ended up buying yogurt, bread, banana and cheese in the airport and gave him that.
I bought a hand blender and used that to puree the veggies and fruits. I found it came in handy since it was less cleaning than using a blender. Same idea though as a blender. I also made batches and would freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays (well, I bought a special container that was BPA free) and then reheat in the microwave or defrost in the refrigerator.
The only veggie that you have to be careful with is carrots. I was told by my pediatrician that some carrots contain nitrates and the nitrate amount increases after cooking and storing them. So, with carrots, the baby should eat them right after they are cooked and then throw out the rest. I only made enough carrots for one meal. I was told that this was only important for the first year of life. After the baby is 12-13 months, then you don't have to worry about it anymore. Ask your doctor about that when you go for a check up.
Good luck and feel free to email me if you have more questions.
E.I. answers from Duluth on October 18, 2010
whatever you do, your baby still gets most of his nutrition from milk. so whether you are nursing or bottle feeding, do that FIRST. make the solids be less about fulfilling his hunger and more about making it a fun new experience.
and you dont have to only start with rice cereal. you can start with whatever you want. the rice cereal is only recommended because they are afraid babies dont get enough iron after 6 months. so you can include that, or the other kinds of baby cereal, but dont feel like you have to limit yourself to that. after all, have YOU tasted that stuff? not exactly the pleasurable experience in solid foods. gross LOL
anyway, just follow your instincts. if you give him some, and he rejects it, theres nothing wrong with waiting longer, especially if you are breastfeeding. most kids this age though cant wait for solids. :)
and remember, when it comes to adjusted age and due date, due dates are estimated. i dont know your situation, but your baby is 6 months old. im not saying that to pressure you, but only to put it into perspective that your baby is who he is, and whether he was early, or late, or "on time" hes going to develop the way hes supposed to. follow his lead, and follow your heart. you will know what he needs, and the more you listen to your instincts, the better they work. :)
J.R. answers from Davenport on October 18, 2010
I agree with the moms that say give your baby the foods you would give as first foods in your original country! Also, if you don't want to start yet with the solids, you don't have to, breast milk alone is plenty of nutrition for the first full year if necessary. Call your relatives or write or e-mail and ask for advice! The way we do it in the USA is not always the best - look at our disease and obesity rates - look at how picky many american kids that were started on all those bland plain baby foods are!
I am born and bread here, as were my parents and grandparents, and I kind of bucked the system, so to speak, I nursed my kids till they were both 9 month old, then switched to formula, along with solids. I did buy the baby cereals, Oatmeal and Barley and Wheat, I never did much rice cereal, as I heard it was a "constipator" and has barely any nutrition on its own. We really just started steaming or boiling fruits and veggies, and pureeing them in a Magic Bullet blender, and freezing them in ice cube trays - popping them out into ziploc bags labeled with date and type of food for sotrage after 24 hours of freezing. Home made foods are fresher and have much mroe nutrients and flavor, and you cna add the same spices/ingredients and flavors as you would to your own food.
They say if kids don't try a fod by the time they are 3 they will reject it for the next 5-6 years after that - it is an evolutionary defense mechanism - that is th etime "cave man babies" would be able to run around a try new nuts and berries ontheir own, and if they didn't recognize a new taster they would automatically spit it out to save themselves form a possible poisonous food. Anyway, if you have the time and want to , make your own, and start giving the baby the food you make for your own family early ( as soon as you know they can handle the texture and any allergic possibilities are cleared) or you will have many more battles over food down the road.