Looking for some clear information on the why's, how's & when's of introducing solids?
Let me help take out the guess-work for you!
From about the 6 month mark, your baby is both physiologically and developmentally ready to start solids. What’s really important is that your baby can sit and hold their head up unassisted, to ensure they can effectively chew and swallow their food.
At this age, the stores of Vitamin D and Iron that your baby had from birth are rapidly diminishing – and whilst breastmilk & formula do contain both nutrients, they do not contain them in high enough quantities to meet your baby’s growing demand. Iron is particularly important due to it’s role in brain development. This is why iron-rich foods are recommended as your baby’s first foods. The best source of iron? Red meat. Minced meat is perfect, and you can puree cooked mince meat to make it easier for you baby to eat. I generally don't recommend iron fortified cereals, as these became trendy when the advice was to give solids earlier (closer to the 4 month mark). If introducing solids near the time children can have meat, I believe that's the best option - it's better broken down and the iron is far better absorbed from meat than from fortified foods.
So how should you approach introducing foods?
If you have food allergies in the family, I recommend working with an allergist prior to introducing solids, particularly if there is anaphylaxis. If you do not have food allergies, then start by introducing one foods at a time. Wait three days, observe any reactions or changes in your baby, and if there is nothing to note, you can try the next food. Adverse reactions to food include tummy discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, rashes / hives , vomiting, and at worst anaphylaxis. If anaphylaxis occurs, Call an ambulance and get your baby to the nearest emergency department. If any of the less serious reactions occur, get in touch to discuss next steps.
You will hear a lot about puree’s vs. baby led weaning. There is no right or wrong – just what you feel comfortable with. It is the same the foods that you are introducing, the only difference is the form you give them in – as either a puree’ that resembles more of a liquid, or as soft finger food that can be gummed and eaten by your baby.
If you follow a baby led weaning style of feeding, just be sure to avoid foods that are a choking hazard – grapes, cherry tomatoes, nuts.
Regardless of whether you start with puree’s or baby led weaning, all baby’s start to move toward soft finger foods by about the 8-9 month mark.
Below I have outlined the types of foods that can be introduced based on baby’s age:
Vegetables – start with single vegetables, and once you have seen there is no allergic reaction, you can start to combine vegetables
Fruit (cooked to soften)
Nut butter (try a small amount on the lip first)
Oats (Quick oats)
Full fat Greek yoghurt
Bread / wheat based cereals
Soft figer foods
Cow’s milk / goats milk
If you have allergies in your family, or would like more personalised advice, then reach out and book in a consult. I'd love to wok with you and your little one!