My little boy, Hameed, turned 5 months last week and I am soon planning to introduce solid foods to him. I have been reading stuff related to the same and have also spoken to many experts and friends with babies on how and when to go about the entire process of starting solids for my baby. I don’t remember much about how I did the same for my elder one, Nabeel..its been 6 years now (I am growing old 😦 ), its like a new cycle for me again.
Besides, this time I was keen on documenting the Basics of Introducing Food to Babies and that’s why I asked an expert to pen down this article for me.
This is a guest post by Priya Kathpal a nutritionist with 10 years of experience. She shares some basics of introducing food to babies which every mom should know before starting the process.
The first 6 months of a baby’s life is quite simple when it comes to what to feed. Yes, believe me it’s easy compared to when one starts solids and the changes that comes along with it. Having said that the excitement of starting solids and making something for the baby is happiness of another level too.
When to start Solids for your baby?
1. The baby should complete 6 months
2. The baby should be able to sit unsupported for few seconds
3. The baby should show interest in food, and
4. The baby should have lost tongue thrust*
* Tongue thrust means reverse swallow or immature swallow. If you feel the baby is pushing the food out instead of swallowing it, then the reflex is strong. Wait till the baby overcomes this in order to start solids full-fledged.
How to start Solids for your baby?
Once it’s known that the baby is ready for food, the next question is how to introduce food to the baby.
Weaning or starting solids can be done via the Traditional way or through Baby Led Weaning or BLW.
Adopting the Traditional way to wean a baby calls for purees, pulps and mashed food fed via spoon or hand to the baby up till 9 to 10 months of age.
Whereas, BLW, as the name suggests, follows the baby’s cues and let the baby take the lead. There is no spoon feeding, no purees or pulps but small easy to pick foods are offered which are encouraged to be picked by the baby. You can show the baby how to eat by doing so yourself but feeding is not advisable.
As an expert I’d like to add that there is no one type better than other. It is important to follow what you and your baby is most comfortable with. The focus should be on providing healthy wholesome food keeping mind that 6-12 months is the time where they learn to explore food texture, taste and aroma. The primary nourishment is still coming either from breast milk or formula.
Points to be kept in mind while deciding what to give your baby
» Weather you choose traditional weaning or baby led keeping it salt and sugar free is essential. The need for these 2 things is extremely low and for babies and most of it is achieved through natural ingredients.
»Give as much as local and seasonal as those are high on nutrients.
» Try variety of foods that are prepared at home. Preparing special meals for babies is not a great idea, you should be preparing the baby to eat everything that’s made at home and this means that on the whole the family should be eating healthy for obvious reasons.
» Possible allergens like shellfish, nuts, eggs or any other in case as a part of family history should be introduced before the baby turns 1. This will help rule out any issues.
How much food to give a baby?
Completion of 6 months – 1 meal
7 months – 2 meals
8 months – 3 meals
9 months – 4 meals, and after
10 months onwards – baby should be on 3 meals and 2 snacks just like others in family
By 1 year – baby is able to eat almost everything that the family eats
Elimination Changes – Poop signs on introducing solids
Once the baby starts solids be prepared for changes in the colour, consistency, smell and frequency of the poop.
While it may not be a very favorable way, but look for changes in your baby’s potty to know if the body is accepting the food well. In most cases there is nothing to worry about. Possible changes could be darker/brighter colour poop, green/red coloured poop depending on what was consumed like spinach or beetroot. Sometimes you may also see undigested pieces of food which is also normal.
Usually the issue is when the baby doesn’t poop at all after starting solid. Especially if it’s more than 1 day and the baby is visibly uncomfortable. This is why its important to go slow, offer variety keeping the breast milk or formula on demand just like it was before the start of solids.
Keep the above points in mind and embark on this journey with a positive mind. Don’t push the baby too much let it learn to like and enjoy food.
With over 10years + experience in the field of Nutrition, Priya Kathpal has been involved in maternal and child nutrition. She holds a Master’s degree in Dietary Food Service Management with a Post Graduate Dilpoma in Dietetics, Bsc. in Applied Nutrition and is also a certified sports nutritionist.
Get to know more about her at http://nutrify.co.in/