Solid Food Introduction

August 2, 2011 at 11:29 am Leave a comment

As you may know I co-authored Bump Club and Beyond’s Baby Food making series taking place at the downtown Whole Foods Markets.  Last week one of the new moms asked a great question.  “How do I know if if my child is ready to eat solid foods”?  I called Lara Field, registered dietitian and owner of FEED, a local pediatric nutrition consulting company, and asked her to write us a blog on the topic.

Check out what Lara had to say!

When your baby approaches the 4-month mark, many parents are lured into the idea that it is time to start solids! This leaves many with a feeling of uneasiness and parents simply are stumped with what food to introduce and when.  Right when parents get used to a routine with their baby, many are pressured to add foods into the daily schedule. Instead of becoming overwhelmed, follow these few principles to make food introduction easy.

1. Keep in mind; your baby will eat for the rest of his/her life. If you aren’t ready to tackle solids, wait! There is no need to rush into anything. In the first 12 months, your baby will experiment with a lot of things, one being food; breast milk/formula should remain the most important nutrient source throughout the first year. Your baby will learn new tastes/textures, all while developing a fantastic set of teeth to chew foods.

2. Make sure to assess developmental readiness for starting solids.

  • Can your baby sit up unassisted?
  • Did your baby lose the “extrusion reflex” (Does your baby still stick out his tongue when you put something in his mouth and try to push it out?)
  • Can your baby hold himself up on his elbows while lying on his belly?

If you said yes to all of these questions, then your baby is developmentally ready to start solids. If not, it is important to wait to introduce foods to prevent chocking or gagging. Prior to this, your baby just will not know what to do with the foods you introduce, and many times parents confuse this with their baby not preferring a type of food.

3. Start simple and take your time! Introduce one new food every 3-5 days.  Square One Organics has a fantastic line of “first” foods such as pumpkin, peas, and papaya.  It is important to monitor your baby for any unpleasant side effects such as skin rash/swelling, diarrhea, or vomiting, among others. Consult your pediatrician if any of these occur. Additionally, if you feel your baby is having trouble breathing after food ingestion, call 911 immediately.

4. In addition to Square One’s frozen organic superfoods, make your own baby foods!! Making baby foods is simple and takes little thought. Have some green beans in the back of your freezer?? Microwave, puree, and serve! Avocados, cauliflower, broccoli, banana, just a few examples of easy foods to try; however it is important to ensure the texture is smooth and easy to tolerate. Keep this in mind when making and storing your own baby food purees:

  • Purees made with breast milk can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.
  • Purees made with water can be stored in the freezer for up to 5- 7 months. 

In addition to Square One’s eight delicious varieties, you can incorporate your own options as well!

5. Research now shows there is no need to wait to introduce foods from the allergen list*, which was once recommended. Foods such as whole milk yogurt or cheese, eggs, nuts, and fish can all be introduced prior to one year, but best after 8 months and make great options for your baby. Use Square One’s introduction guide for assistance with introducing foods. Continue the important practice to ensure the texture is safe for your baby, for instance peanut butter can be mixed into foods, but can be a choking hazard if spread as a thick layer on bread. Also, always avoid honey or corn syrup for there is a risk of food-borne illness in infants under 1 year of age.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have an allergic family history, it IS suggested to wait on major allergens (milk, soy, egg, peanut/tree nut, fish/shellfish, and wheat), thus dairy products can be introduced after 12 months, eggs after 24 months and peanuts/tree nuts, fish, and shellfish after 36 months.

Have fun feeding your baby, but remember good eating habits start in infancy. Introduce a wide range of flavors and foods. Take the time to enjoy the process!


Entry filed under: Events, Food Introduction, organic baby food. Tags: , , , , , .

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