If there’s one thing that I’ve been finding complicated is the introduction of solids. Mostly because there are loads of different rules and hard to know which one would work for you and your baby.
The well know recommendation is to start solids at 6 months for a couple of reasons:
- That’s the point baby’s stomach has matured enough to be able to accept solids;
- It’s also the age where baby will be able to sit unaided
- Baby will be losing the gag reflex – the reflex that makes it to throw everything that touches the tongue
- Baby will also start showing interest for food
Some doctors will recommend starting early for specific reasons. I was recommended the introduction of solids at around 4 months because of her reflux. I’ve kept it to sweet potato pure only, once a day, but then stopped it completely because it made more sense to follow the overall recommendation.
Then the funny part starts, how to start?
There’s 2 main approaches (ok maybe 3). The first is the classical introduction of food via purees, and the second is Baby Lead Weaning.
: Classical Approach :
You’ll start with some vegetables and pure them into a yogurt like consistency. If you have allergies in the family you should introduce 1 food at a time and wait around 2 days before introducing another one to check for reactions. If not you can start more in 1 go. I would say focus on vegetables first without introducing fruits, because babies, like adults, have a sweet tooth, so they will prefer sweet food and start rejecting everything else. Even though I’ve waited, the moment she discovered fruits she has been rejecting everything else pretty much! As baby grows you start to add more lumpy textures and more food overall.
: Baby Lead Weaning :
It’s quite trendy at the moment and pretty much says to not touch the purees at all, as baby will get confused and increase the risk of chocking and just let him grab the food and learn the chew himself, at his own pace. The idea behind it is baby will start to develop the necessary skills which will help him throughout childhood. Also the other advantage is to keep it simple and let baby enjoy what the family eats (as long as you avoid salt, sugar and honey).
What I’m following?
: Combo Approach :
I try everything pretty much. She enjoys the feeling of independence when she grabs her own food, but mostly she plays with it and doesn’t eat as much. She prefers the flavours when they are not pureed. The only thing she accepts with the spoon is fruit. Also, at the nursery they follow the classical approach. A lot of mums are doing the same and they find that baby doesn’t get confused. Anyway, babies can also choke with milk!
How much should baby eat?
Milk is still the main source of nutrition for babies up until they are 1 year old, so keep the milk feeds untouched. As for the food, offer as much as baby can handle. I know a lot of people say food before 1 is just for fun, but it’s actually not. After 6 months mum’s milk is not enough to provide all the levels of iron required. So baby needs meat / fish / vegetables and fruit. Try to start with lunch time, then add breakfast and try to offer an early dinner as well. And don’t forget to encourage baby to drink a lot of water otherwise they will get really constipated. My little one rejects pretty much everything, so she’s been constipated.
Ultimately you need to find what works for you and your baby. Follow your gut, you know your baby best, so if you believe something isn’t right just visit a doctor.
Any stories you would like to share regarding the introduction of solids? What method worked for you?