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STARTING SOLID FOODS: WHAT AND HOW MUCH?

Posted by on May. 7, 2007 at 1:19 PM
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Which foods are best to begin with?

Begin with foods that are not likely to cause allergies and that are most like the milk baby is used to. If your baby is used to the sweet taste of human milk, start with mashed bananas. If baby is used to the more bland flavor of formula, try rice cereal mixed with formula (or with your milk if your breastfed baby prefers rice cereal to bananas). Rice is the most intestinal-friendly grain because it is gluten-free, low in protein, and high in carbohydrates. It has a nutritional profile more like a fruit than a grain. Mix the cereal to a soupy consistency and lessen the amount on milk or formula you add as baby gets better at eating.


How do I start?

Use your finger as baby's first "spoon." It's soft, at the right temperature, and baby is familiar with it. Encourage baby to open her mouth wide. Place a fingertipful of this glorious glob on baby's lips while letting her suck on the tip of your finger. Next, advance the fingertipful of food to the tip of your baby's tongue (where there are tastebuds receptive to sweetness). If this gets swallowed, or at least is not spit back at you, try placing the next glob toward the middle of baby's tongue.


Watch baby's reaction to this new experience.
If the food goes in with an approving smile, baby is ready and willing. If the food comes back at you, accompanied by a disapproving grimace, baby may not be ready. Some babies make funny faces just because this is all so new to them. What happens in the mouth may be a more accurate indicator of whether a baby is ready to eat solids. If the mouth opens for a second helping, give it another try – you may have a winner. Even if the food comes back out, the baby may just need to learn to seal his mouth shut when he moves the food from the front to the back. Rejection of the food could also indicate that the tongue-thrust reflex is not yet gone, and baby can't move the food to the back of his mouth and swallow it. If your baby just sits there, with an open mouth, confused by the glob of food perched on her tongue, she's probably having difficulty with the tongue-thrust reflex. Let her practice a while. If she still doesn't seem to know what to do, wait a week or two before you try again.


NUTRITIP:
First Spoon

We advise that baby's first "spoon" be your finger. It is soft, at the right temperature, and by this stage baby is very familiar with its feel. Your finger also knows if food is too hot. Few babies like to begin their feeding life with a silver spoon in their mouth. Metal holds the heat in, so baby has to wait longer for each bite as you cool the hot food by blowing on it. A hungry baby finds this infuriating! A coated demitasse spoon is a good starter utensil. Plastic spoons with smooth, rounded edges are best – and quietest when banged or dropped. Use shatterproof plastic bowls that can survive battering on the high-chair tray and numerous tumbles to the floor.


How much food should I offer?

If your baby eagerly accepts the first fingertipful of food, offer a little more the next time. At these first feedings, baby may actually swallow only a teaspoon or two of food. Gradually increase the amount you give baby until you are offering a quarter-cup or more at a time. Remember, your initial goal is to introduce your baby to the new tastes and textures of solid foods, not to stuff baby. As with all areas of development, babies take two steps forward and one step back. Expect erratic eating patterns. Baby may take a couple tablespoons one day and only a teaspoon the next. Baby may devour pears and refuse bananas one day, then the next day ignore the pears and gobble down the banana. That's all part of the feeding game. Relax and realize that you can't control your child's every mouthful. Don't force-feed a baby. Know when enough is enough. (Your baby knows.) Observe stop signs:

  • Baby purses lips, closes mouth, and turns head away from approaching spoon.
  • Baby leans away from the advancing spoon, uninterested or wanting to avoid the food entirely.
  • Leaning toward the food or grabbing the spoon or hand of the feeder indicates a desire for more.

NUTRITIP: Milk Plus

Consider solid foods an addition to, not a substitute for, breastmilk or formula, which are more nutritionally balanced than any solid food. This food fact is especially important for breastfeeding babies. For a breastfeeding baby, it's best to start solids slowly, so that they don't become a substitute for the more nutritious breastmilk. Also, solids fed at an early age can interrupt the supply-and-demand cycle, resulting in decreased milk production.


What time of the day is best for feeding solid foods?

Offer new foods in the morning. If by some chance your baby is allergic to a particular food, the intestinal upset should wear off by the end of the day. Beginning a new food in the evening runs the risk of painful nightwaking. Otherwise, offer solids at the time of the day when your baby seems hungriest, is bored, or you both need a snack and something interesting to do. Mornings are usually the time when babies are hungriest and in the best mood for social interactions, including feeding.


If breastfeeding, try offering solid foods toward the end of the day,
when your milk supply is likely to be the lowest and baby will be more eager to eat. Feed baby solids between breastfeedings, not right after, since solid foods may interfere with the absorption of some of the nutrients in breastmilk.


Choose a time of the day when you are not in a hurry,
since dawdling, dabbling, spewing, spattering, smearing, and dropping are all part of the feeding game. Forget fast-feeding. Remember, meals are both a food-delivery system and a social experience. Take your time, and enjoy this new nutritional stage.


My baby enjoys rice cereal and bananas. What foods should I feed her next?

Work your way from soupy to lumpy as you also increase how often and how much baby eats. At first, you'll offer food only once a day; but within a few months, you'll be feeding solids whenever you sit down to a meal. Babies differ so much in their preferences and their readiness for solids that it's difficult to make hard and fast rules about the consistency, amount, and type of solid foods to offer. But here are some suggestions from our family and our pediatric practice for babies from five to eight months.


Bananas.
Because of their sweetness and smooth consistency, ripe bananas closely resemble mother's milk, which makes them an ideal starter food. They are one of the few fruits that can be served uncooked. Let the banana get very ripe before serving it to baby (the skin should be covered with brown spots). After peeling, cut and mash it with a fork, and serve it either straight or mixed with formula or breastmilk for a more soupy consistency. Bananas are a great quick meal for parents and babies on the go -- mash a few slices and eat the rest yourself.


Cereal.
Begin with rice or barley cereal, the least allergenic. Don't serve a mixed cereal until you've tried each of the ingredients separately to be sure baby is not allergic to any of them. Rice is approximately 75 percent carbohydrates and seven percent protein. High protein cereals, made primarily with soybeans, may contain as much as 35 percent protein. Cereals made especially for infants are fortified with minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, along with B-vitamins and iron. Begin with one- fourth teaspoon of cereal and advance to a tablespoon, and so on. Mix it with breastmilk or formula to the desired consistency. Cereal alone is very bland and may be refused by your baby. Once you know your baby is not allergic to different fruits and cereals, you can experiment by combining various fruits with cereal in various consistencies. Cereals are often suggested as a way to fill baby up, lengthening the interval between feedings, and even sleeping longer at night. This "filler fallacy" is an unwise feeding pattern. Cereal is not nearly as nutritious as breastmilk or formula. Besides, this practice rarely works.


Pears.
Pears are easy to digest and have a mild flavor perfect for babies. As with all fruits, they are mostly carbohydrates and a good source of potassium and vitamins A and C. Try pear sauce instead of applesauce.


Applesauce.
Applesauce is an ideal first fruit. It is low in citric acid, which can cause an allergic reaction in some infants. Cook the pared and peeled apples with two tablespoons of water over medium heat until tender. Blend or whip until smooth. Applesauce can be combined with a variety of foods, including cereal or as a "sauce" to disguise less-palatable, but more nutritious, foods. Uncooked apples are difficult for babies to gum and chew under one year of age, and they are a choking hazard.


Carrots.
Cooked carrots are a very good source of vitamin A and beta carotene, and as mom always said, carrots improve night vision. Peel, slice, and steam carrots until tender without spices, salt, sugar, or butter. Small blobs of mashed, cooked carrots are usually well-accepted and enjoyed by babies. Bite-size cooked carrots or a pile of steamed, grated carrots are good finger foods beginning at eight months. Avoid raw carrots, which can cause choking.


Sweet potatoes and winter squash.
Babies enjoy sweet potatoes and winter squash for their flavor, texture, and color. They are both high in beta carotene. Sweet potatoes contain vitamin B- 6, which helps the body use carbohydrates, protein, and fat needed for healthy skin, nerves, and circulation. Winter squash supplies potassium and other nutrients. Carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash can all be cooked quickly in the microwave, with minimum nutrient loss. Sweet potatoes are like convenience foods in the microwave: wash, cook for seven or eight minutes, open and serve. You don't even need a plate. Be sure to stir the warm potato and test for "hot spots," since microwaved food may heat unevenly. Wash and peel sweet potatoes before cooking in a small amount of water, or steam over a medium-heat until tender. Puree with a small amount of liquid. For variety, mix sweet potatoes with peas, carrots, or squash. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and bake it. Or, you can peel it and steam the halves. Blend until smooth and add water to reach the desired consistency.


Avocados.
Avocados are, in our opinion, an ideal food for babies. The avocado's smooth, creamy consistency makes it a fresh fruit even a baby can enjoy. Low in sodium and cholesterol-free, avocados contain such valuable nutrients as vitamin A, vitamin B-6, folic acid, niacin, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. Ounce-for-ounce avocados contain more potassium than 45 other fruits, juices, or vegetables, including bananas, peaches, carrots, and green beans, and they are one of the only fruits that contain monounsaturated fats, which are essential for your baby's development. Avocados are higher in calories than any other fruit or vegetable. This is a plus for babies, since feeding infants calls for nutrient-dense foods , foods that contain a lot of nutrition per unit of weight and volume. Ripe avocados can be served without any cooking; a time-saver for mom and dad. To prepare, cut in half around the entire circumference of the seed. Grab a half in each hand and twist to remove the seed. Scoop out the meat inside and mash with a fork, or simply spoon-feed directly from the shell. For variety, avocados can be mixed with apple or pear sauce, cooked squash, or sweet potatoes. One of the reasons why avocados are one of the Sears' favorite foods for babies, infants, and children is their versatility. You can do so much with them, as can babies. Avocados can be spread, scooped, mashed, and made into guacamole for children (avocado dip without the strong spices).


I've heard that it's better to start vegetables before fruits. Is this true?

Purists recommend that vegetables be introduced before fruits so that infants don't learn to expect that food should always taste sweet. This is one of those nutritional directives that sound great in theory, but many of us who have fed lots of babies have found it hard to put into practice. First of all, babies are born with a sweet tooth. Their tiny tongues are more richly supplied with sweet tastebuds than with any others. This makes sense, because human milk is sweet, and breastfed babies are less likely to willingly accept the bland taste of vegetables than formula-fed babies. While there is no doubt that vegetables are nutritionally superior to fruits, most parents find that babies will happily eat fruits, making them hassle-free first foods. The nutritional content of starter foods is of secondary importance; the main goal of these early solid food feedings is for the baby to learn how to swallow foods of different textures. You're likely to have more success with fruits than with vegetables. When introducing veggies, try the sweet ones first: carrots and sweet potatoes. If you have a baby who loves vegetables, good for you! Don't worry if your baby attacks veggies with less enthusiasm than fruit. He'll eventually learn to like them if you keep offering them.


How will I know if a food is upsetting my baby?

Begin with single-ingredient foods and space the introduction of each new food at least one week apart. If your baby has a reaction, you'll know what to blame. The most usual signs of food allergy are:

  • bloating and gassiness
  • a sandpaper-like raised red rash on the face
  • runny nose and watery eyes
  • diarrhea or mucousy stools
  • a red rash around the anus (we call this the "target sign.")
  • generally cranky behavior
  • vomiting or increased spitting-up

If you have a family history of food allergies or are particularly worried about them, keep a food diary, which not only helps you learn your baby's preferences, but helps you be more objective about which symptoms are caused by which foods. As you change the foods that go in one end, expect a change in the color, consistency, and frequency of the waste that comes out the other end. This is normal, and not a sign of food intolerance. You may notice bits of food in baby's stools , or the color may change -- red stools with red vegetables, such as beets, and yellow stools with carrots. Babies who overdose on bananas and/or rice products may become constipated. As your baby's intestines mature enough to digest the food more thoroughly, the stools will not take on so many characteristics of yesterday's meals.

What foods should I serve for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

It makes no nutritional difference to your baby when you serve what, since babies have no concept of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What you serve has more to do with your time and energy and baby's mood and willingness than with any traditional ideas about what to eat when. Whatever schedule you and your baby work out is the best one for you. Be prepared for the fact that babies have erratic feeding patterns, and some babies do better eating small amounts throughout the day rather than eating three larger meals.

NUTRITIP: Tricking Tiny Taste Buds

The tastebuds for sweet flavors are found toward the tip of the tongue; the tastebuds for salt are found on the sides of the tongue; the tastebuds for bitter are found at the back of the tongue. In the middle of the tongue the tastebuds are more neutral. So, it would be wise to place a new sweet food on the tip of the tongue, but a less sweet food in the middle of the tongue to give the food a fighting chance of going into baby instead of coming back out. Veggies, for example, have a better chance of being willingly swallowed if placed on the middle of the tongue rather than on the tip of the tongue, except perhaps for sweet vegetables, like sweet potatoes.

Feeding time is such a mess. I dread it. How can I make feeding times easier on my baby and myself?

We have logged many hours in feeding eight babies, and we know that babies spit, fling, smear, and drop their food. One mother of a messy eater in our pediatric practice told us: "Our floor has a more balanced diet than my baby does." Here are some tips that we have learned to get more food into our babies with fewer hassles for ourselves:

  • "Show and tell." To entice the reluctant eater to eat, model enjoyment. Feed yourself in front of baby, but in an exaggerated way -- slowly putting a spoonful of baby's food into your mouth and with big, wide eyes showing how much you enjoy it. Let baby catch the spirit.
  • "Open mouth, insert spoon." Wait for a time when baby is hungry and in a mood for facial gestures and interaction. As you engage your baby in face-to- face contact, open your mouth wide and say, "Open mouth!" Once your baby opens the door, put the food in.
  • Use lip service. Try the upper lip sweep. As you place a spoonful of solids in your baby's mouth, gently lift the spoon upward, allowing the upper lip to sweep off the food.
  • Dress for the occasion. As you and your baby are working out a feeding routine, expect a lot of food to wind up in the laundry basket rather than in baby's tummy. While some of our babies were neat eaters, others were total body feeders. With these messy eaters, we found it easier to simply undress them for a meal and hose them off afterward. Don't forget the bib. Best bibs are large ones with an easy-to-clean surface and a bottom pocket to catch the spills. One of our babies, equated eating with body painting. To solve this nuisance, we clad him in a total-body bib—a long-sleeve, gown-type nylon bib—that rinsed and dried quickly.
  • Try gadgets from the baby store. If baby keeps pushing the plate or tray off the high-chair, find a way to attach it more firmly. Look for baby bowls and plates with suction-cup bottoms. If baby keeps pushing the food away with her hands, put toys with suction cups on the high-chair tray to occupy baby's hands while you sneak in the solid food. If baby grabs the spoon in your hand, give her one (or two) to hold on her own, so you get to keep yours.
  • Rotate the menu. Babies become bored with foods like they do with toys. If your baby refuses a previous favorite, put more variety in what you serve and the way you serve it.
  • Avoid food fights. Your baby will not go hungry if he misses a day of solids. If your child fights feedings, take that as a signal to change the food and/or the method. Sometimes you may just have to skip solid foods for a day or two and then try again.
  • Model excitement. If you feel that your baby is hungry but shows no interest in wanting solid foods, capitalize on baby's newly developing social skill – her desire to mimic the actions of caregivers. Let your baby watch you eat and enjoy food. Take a bite of baby's food and overreact, "Mmmmmm. Gooood!" If the food is okay for you, it's okay for baby.

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/3/T032000.asp

by on May. 7, 2007 at 1:19 PM
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Replies (1-10):
C-squared
by on May. 15, 2007 at 1:54 AM
Yeah!  I love Dr. Sears.  Thanks for posting this!
ltnbrn
by on May. 17, 2007 at 8:24 AM
One thing about the carrots: it's generally recommended not to prepare them at home.

From babycenter.com:

Caution: Some vegetables (even if they're organic) — particularly beets and spinach, but also turnips, carrots, and collard greens — can be high in nitrates. Babies who ingest a high level of these chemicals can develop a type of anemia. The level of nitrates in your vegetables depends on the soil and water in which the vegetables were grown. Well water, in particular, can be especially high in nitrates because of chemical fertilizer runoff. To be on the safe side, you may not want to use any of the vegetables mentioned above when making your own baby food, or you may choose to use them sparingly as your baby gets bigger. If you do serve them occasionally, don't save any for leftovers because the nitrate level can increase during storage. (Baby food companies test commercial baby food for these chemicals, so store-bought baby food should be free of nitrates.)
cali4niachef
by Group Owner on May. 17, 2007 at 6:24 PM

Quoting ltnbrn:

One thing about the carrots: it's generally recommended not to prepare them at home.

From babycenter.com:

Caution: Some vegetables (even if they're organic) — particularly beets and spinach, but also turnips, carrots, and collard greens — can be high in nitrates. Babies who ingest a high level of these chemicals can develop a type of anemia. The level of nitrates in your vegetables depends on the soil and water in which the vegetables were grown. Well water, in particular, can be especially high in nitrates because of chemical fertilizer runoff. To be on the safe side, you may not want to use any of the vegetables mentioned above when making your own baby food, or you may choose to use them sparingly as your baby gets bigger. If you do serve them occasionally, don't save any for leftovers because the nitrate level can increase during storage. (Baby food companies test commercial baby food for these chemicals, so store-bought baby food should be free of nitrates.)

FROM WHOLESOMEBAABYFOOD.COM

First and foremost, jarred commercial baby food carrots (and other jarred commercial baby food vegetables) have nitrates too! Nitrates are naturally occurring and thus cannot be removed! Even jarred organic carrot baby foods have nitrates.

Commercial baby food companies will tell you that they SCREEN for nitrate levels, not that they remove nitrates. They also note that they do this voluntarily - because there is no law that requires them to do screening.  There is NO government regulation, law or mandate that commercial baby food companies must screen for nitrates. 


Commercial baby food companies may buy veggies that are grown in a part of the country where the nitrate contamination of soil is lower, where the sun shines more or where Farmer's do not use high levels of nitrogen containing fertilizers.


Does Commercial Baby Food Have Lower Nitrate Levels?

Due to screening, commercial baby foods may contain a lower level of nitrates than homemade as parents do not have the ability to screen veggies for nitrates. Please keep in mind that baby food companies voluntarily screen for levels of nitrate and there is no Federal (U.S.) regulation or mandate requiring them to screen.


Again, nitrates are naturally occurring in the vegetable itself and even the folks at Gerber/Beechnut/Heinz et al. cannot remove nitrates.


We include this article because so many of our visitors email and ask us "What is this about Nitrates?" or "Why can't I make my own carrots?".  We hope that this will help you understand what Nitrates are and the role they play in Homemade Baby Food as well as the role Nitrates play in our food chain. 

What are the odds that my baby will get Blue Baby Syndrome? It is important to note that the odds of your baby getting "Blue Baby Syndrome"  nitrate poisoning from Carrots or other veggies is about 0%.  


Yes, while nitrates are an important issue, they are highly unlikely to poison your baby from the carrots that you make!  Many pediatricians will tell you to not make homemade carrots while many other pediatricians will shrug off Nitrates and tell you there is no issue. 


Nitrate poisoning is very rare and when it does occur, it is typically traced back to ground water contamination – specifically from contaminated private wells.2


"Around the age of three months, an increase in the amount of hydrochloric acid in a baby's stomach kills most of the bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrite. By the time a baby is six months old, its digestive system is fully developed, and none of the nitrate-converting bacteria remain. In older children and adults, nitrate is absorbed and excreted, and Methemoglobinemia is no longer a concern." http://ohioline.osu.edu/b744/b744_2.html



http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/nitratearticle.htm

ltnbrn
by on May. 17, 2007 at 7:34 PM
Thanks for that information. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) still recommends not to home prepare these same foods.

So, I guess I will err on the side of caution.....
CarrieKMom22
by on Jun. 25, 2007 at 12:50 PM
Actually, the AAP recommmends NOT preparing these foods for a baby who is younger than 3 (three) months old! 

For spinach, it's nitrate levels may actually increase with improper storage, they recommend 8 months old!

"Because the intake of naturally occurring nitrates from foods such as green beans, carrots, squash, spinach, and beets can be as high as or higher than that from well water, these foods should be avoided before 3 months of age, although there is no nutritional indication to add complementary foods to the diet of the healthy term infant before 6 months of age"

and "Preventive strategy would be not to introduce home preparations of these vegetables to infants before 3 months of age, although there is no nutritional indication to add complementary foods to the diet of the healthy term infant before 4 to 6 months of age.23 Infants fed commercially prepared infant foods after 3 months of age generally are not at risk of nitrate poisoning, although the containers should be refrigerated after first use and discarded within 24 hours of opening. "

American Academy of Pediatrics - Nitrate Statement

and

"
Because vegetables, including green beans, carrots, squash, spinach and beets, can have nitrate levels as high or higher than that of well water, infants should not eat these foods until after age 3 months."
http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/sept05wellwater.htm
ltnbrn
by on Jun. 27, 2007 at 7:47 AM
Hey, thanks for that info. I based my decision from a book (2006) written by the AAP and in it, they never really stated an age. I'll have to contact them for the lack of info!

Thanks again!
ldybg07
by on Oct. 2, 2007 at 6:35 PM
So is it okay to feed homemade carrots or should I just buy the stuff in the store like my ped recommends? wow, that's a lot of info to take in!

 
AidensMommy619
by on Nov. 17, 2007 at 11:25 PM

Quoting ltnbrn:

One thing about the carrots: it's generally recommended not to prepare them at home.

From babycenter.com:

Caution: Some vegetables (even if they're organic) — particularly beets and spinach, but also turnips, carrots, and collard greens — can be high in nitrates. Babies who ingest a high level of these chemicals can develop a type of anemia. The level of nitrates in your vegetables depends on the soil and water in which the vegetables were grown. Well water, in particular, can be especially high in nitrates because of chemical fertilizer runoff. To be on the safe side, you may not want to use any of the vegetables mentioned above when making your own baby food, or you may choose to use them sparingly as your baby gets bigger. If you do serve them occasionally, don't save any for leftovers because the nitrate level can increase during storage. (Baby food companies test commercial baby food for these chemicals, so store-bought baby food should be free of nitrates.)
i totally agree with your information. my pediatrician also said not to make carrots or anything high in nitrates. any pediatrician will agree with  AAP research.


roxy1stmommy
by on Nov. 18, 2007 at 3:56 PM
This was posted in Booby Babies:

Baby’s First Foods…Why Rush??

by Patti Wardlaw, Marlyce Rankin and Riki Winkler

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Your baby is now 6 months old. Time to introduce solids, right? Well, maybe not. Here are some reasons why you may want to consider delaying this important step.

According to the Canadian Pediatric Society your baby will be ready for solid foods somewhere between the ages of 4-6 months. They say that by 6 months most babies cannot get everything they need from breast milk or formula alone. It is recommended that parents start with iron-fortified rice cereal and then progress to fruits, vegetables and other foods. These guidelines are widely accepted and supported by most family doctors and community health nurses. Although many babies thrive under these guidelines, there are cases when it may be harmful to introduce foods this early.

We believe that breast milk is all your baby needs until at least 7 months for as long as 12 months. Although waiting this long is recommended by most pediatricians, a baby can thrive on breast milk alone until his first birthday. Most babies will not want to wait this long, nor is it necessary to do so. However, by waiting until at least 7 months or, better yet, 8 or 9 months you can reduce the risk of your child developing allergies, asthma, and digestive disorders. To understand how this may be true, it is helpful to gain a little bit of knowledge about the digestive system of an infant, and how it differs from that of an adult.

A baby’s system is designed for maximum absorption of breast milk. From the mouth to the colon, their system is designed to digest and absorb the nutrients found in breast milk alone. They do not produce sufficient enzymes to digest a wide variety of foods. Their stomachs produce minimum amounts of gastric acid to ensure the survival of the live immune cells and beneficial bacteria found in breast milk. Finally, and most important, their small intestines are relatively permeable and absorb foods with much less discretion than that of an adult.

Unfortunately, these enhanced absorption characteristics can also allow undigested proteins from other foods to pass into the bloodstream. This is where allergies can begin. When an undigested protein enters the bloodstream the body recognizes the substance as a foreign invader (or antigen) and produces an immune response to fight it. This immune response is what we recognize as an allergic response. The allergy can be permanent or the baby may outgrow it at a later date. Either way it is a stress that you and your baby can do without.

So when will your baby be ready for solids?
Unfortunately, there are no clear signs as to when your baby’s digestive system is ready to process solid foods. Some babies produce sufficient enzymes and develop a less permeable intestinal membrane as early as 6 months and others may not accomplish this until as late as 12 months or longer.

If you are breastfeeding, rest assured that your baby is getting everything she needs. The longer the duration of exclusive breastfeeding, the better - with at least 7 to 9 months being a good goal. Most nutritional studies on exclusive breastfeeding have gone as far as nine months, finding no nutritional deficiencies by that age. Please note that formula-fed infants should begin solids at 6 months, as formula will not provide adequate nutrition beyond this time.

When it comes to feeding our children, there is no shortage of advice out there as to what foods should be given when. As a parent it can be a very confusing and frustrating time, as you try to find the “right answers”.

It is important to remember that there is no right answer when it comes to the health and nutrition of your baby. Each baby and parent combination is unique - what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other. The most important thing is to provide whole, natural foods and to avoid the most allergenic foods.

Saying that, here are the guidelines and food lists that we, at LifeThyme Wellness, have compiled. The following recommendations are based on our personal experiences, education and opinions and are not to be considered to be a substitute for consultation, diagnosis, or treatment with a licensed health practitioner.

Introducing Solid Foods - Recommended Guidelines


Consider delaying foods if:
  • You have a family history of allergies
  • If your baby has had colic, eczema, or other digestive problems (especially if these conditions were remedied by changes to mother’s diet while nursing)
Cues that your baby may be ready (if all of these apply):
  • Has several teeth and able to make chewing motions
  • Able to sit-up on own
  • Has lost the tongue-thrusting and gag reflex when foods are put in her mouth
  • Able to pick-up food and put in mouth
  • Grabs at and shows interest in your food
  • Your maternal instincts (and not your neighbour or well meaning mother) tell you that he is ready

Guidelines for food introduction:
The ages to give certain foods will vary depending on when you start solids. The order is more important than the age of the baby.

The recommendations below assume baby gets most of her calories from breast milk for the first 12 months. If baby is formula fed then you will want baby to get more calories from food and introduce protein foods like egg yolks and legumes between 8-10 months.

First foods: Vegetables (squash, sweet potato, potato, green beans) and avocado. Carrots, spinach, beets, turnips or collards are too rich in nitrates for baby until he is 9 months old.

Second: About a month after giving vegetables, add fruits (applesauce, peaches, apricots, pears, nectarines, & plums). Start with cooked fruit. Once cooked fruit is accepted try raw mashed fruit.

Third: Assuming baby is at least 9 months old, add more vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, kale, tomatoes, spinach, beets, turnips, carrots, collard greens)

Fourth: Somewhere between 9-12 months add grains. Try to use whole grains versus refined baby cereals, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, barley, millet. Buy commercial whole grain cereals or make your own by toasting the grains and grinding in a mill.

Fifth: Between 10-12 months, add nuts (except peanuts which are allergenic) and legumes and egg yolks (egg whites are highly allergenic)

Sixth: After 12 months add meat, poultry, beans, egg whites.

Once all foods are tolerated, add foods from the allergenic list and any other fruits and vegetables.

What about dairy? We do not recommend that you ever give your children cow’s milk (whether they show signs of intolerance or not). Yogurt can be beneficial and can be added to the diet between 10-12 months.

What about supplements? We do not believe that breastfed babies need Vitamin D supplements or iron-fortified foods as long as the nursing mother has a healthy, iron rich diet and the baby isexposed to at least 5 minutes of sun per day. After 10 months add flaxseed oil (1 tsp per day) or cod liver oil (1/4 tsp per day). After 12 months you may want to add a multi-vitamin supplement and beneficial bacteria to your child’s diet.

Foods to avoid: Avoid sugar, salt, refined flours, processed foods, foods with additives, preservatives, colors, and hydrogenated fats. Prepared fruit juices (especially concentrated) should be limited or not given as they overly high in natural sugars and are proportionally low in nutrients compared to total calories.

Additional Feeding Tips:

  • Introduce one food at a time and wait at least 4 days before introducing another. Monitor your baby for any adverse or allergic reactions (see list below). If an allergy is suspected, discontinue the food and try again after at least one week. If symptoms reappear then discontinue that food until baby is at least two years old. We recommend keeping a food and symptom diary.
  • Wait to introduce all highly allergenic foods until baby is at least 12 months old.
  • Choose organic, homemade foods as much as possible.
Common signs of food allergies:
Respiratory Passages:
Runny nose, sneezing, wheezing, stuffy nose, watery eyes, bronchitis, recurring ear infections, persistent cough, congestion, rattling chest

Skin:
Red sand paper like facial rash, hives, swelling in hands and feet, dry, scaly, itchy skin (mostly on face), dark circles under eyes, puffy eyelids, lip swelling, tongue soreness and cracks.

Intestines:
Mucousy diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gassiness, excessive spitting up, vomiting, intestinal bleeding, poor weight gain, burn like rash around anus, abdominal discomfort.

Specific to Infants:
  • Redness around mouth usually within 1-2 hours or around the anus within 12-24 hours,
  • Abdominal bloating, gas and distension
  • Constipation, diarrheaa or foul odour to stools
  • Vomiting or frequent spitting-up
  • Nasal and/or chest congestion and runny nose, chronic middle ear infections, asthma
  • Red, chapped eczema-like skin on face, groin, bottom or anywhere on the body.
  • Colic, fussiness, difficult sleeping
  • Failure to thrive, loss of appetite

*Allergic symptoms can occur within minutes or within days after the food is ingested.

Most-Allergenic Foods

• berries
• buckwheat
• chocolate
• cinnamon
• citrus fruits
• coconut
• corn
• dairy products
• egg whites
• food additives
• mustard
• nuts
• peas
• peanuts
• pork
• shellfish
• soy
• sugar
• tree nuts
• tomatoes
• wheat
• yeast Least-Allergenic Foods
• apples
• apricots
• asparagus
• avocados
• barley
• beets
• broccoli
• carrots
• cauliflower
• chicken
• cranberries
• dates
• grapes
• honey
• lamb
• lettuce
• mangoes
• oats
• papayas
• peaches
• pears
• poi
• turkey
• veal
• raisins
• rice
• rye
• safflower oil
• salmon
• squash
• sunflower oil
• sweet potatoes
Canadian Pediatric Society
Peggy O’Mara, Natural Family Living, Mothering Magazine Guide to Parenting, (New York: Pocket Books, 2000)
Dr. Linda Folden Palmer, D.C., Baby Matters – What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Caring for Your Baby, (Lucky Press, LLC, 2001)
David W. Rowland, Digestion: Inner Pathway to Health, (Rowland Publications, 1996)
Dr. Linda Folden Palmer, D.C., Baby Matters – What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Caring for Your Baby, (Lucky Press, LLC, 2001)
H.C. Borresen, “A questionable guideline on introduction of solid food to breast-fed infants”, Norway 114, no. 26 (Oct 30, 1994): 3087-9
Dr. Linda Folden Palmer, D.C., Baby Matters – What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Caring for Your Baby, (Lucky Press, LLC, 2001)



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jaimelees
by on Nov. 18, 2007 at 4:05 PM
So much information!!!

Jaimelee

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