Baby’s First Foods

 Baby’s First foods

No doubt! Mother’s milk is the best food for babies. There might be situations where mom cannot feed her breast milk to the baby and there comes the question of introducing solid foods. There are lots of questions to ask and answer under this topic.Lets see some of those.

When to introduce solid foods?

A baby’s digestive system is not really ready for solids until they are six months old. It can come earlier for some babies, later for others. If you start early you will miss the developmental and biological cues that your baby is ready to start eating solid foods. So watch for the cues like baby is sitting up, if she picks some food, put it in her mouth, and chew it, or the baby is looking at you when you are eating, or doubling her birth weight.

Some pediatricians suggest that you may include giving solids from four months onwards, but again feed the breast milk/ formula for the babies first and then try introducing new foods. Most moms wonders that whether their baby is in need of extra food other than milk as they are kept waking at night. This may not be a good indicator to introduce solids as growth spurts may occur in the months of 3-4 months, 6-7 months and 10 months of age.

The AAP says

A substantial number of families introduce complementary solid foods around 3-4 months, especially if the infant is perceived as fussy.

Formula fed infants are at more risk for early introduction of solids.

Introduction to solids prior to 4 months is associated with increased weight gain and adiposity, both in infancy and early childhood.

Research indicates that it is important to expose children to a wide variety of flavors and textures.

Many babies and toddlers need to be exposed to foods multiple times before accepting them.

Babies and toddlers are more likely to eat foods they see their peers and parents eating.

This ensures optimal nutritional exposure and may stave off food allergies among other issues.  Further studies have shown that an infant’s gastrointestinal tract has not or may not have matured enough to properly digest/utilize solid foods until around 6-8 months old.

How to introduce solid foods?

  • Offer Breast milk first before introducing any foods.
  • Be ready for messy.
  • Use one food at a time and wait for at least 3 days to look for allergies related to that food.
  • Start with a small portion of food a day like quarter spoon is good enough to start.
  • Relax and feed. Your baby may go days without eating very much at all.

How much should you feed?

  • At 4 to 6 months, feed her two meals, each two to four tablespoons.
  • At 7 to 12 months, feed her three meals, each the size of baby’s fist.

What should you feed your baby?

Age 4-6 Months

  •     Single grain cereals —Cereals fortified with iron is a good solid food to start with. Mix the cereal with breast milk or formula to get the thin consistency. This is the perfect food,as it appeals the baby (because it is mixed with breast milk) and very easy to digest with worrying about allergies. You can make your own rice cereal by grinding the clean rice into flour. You can store it in an airtight container for a month even. Then you can add a teaspoon of rice powder along with breast milk to make a homemade meal.
  •     Again, some moms go with feeding avocados, egg yolks, bananas, mashed apples and carrots. It all depends upon their tradition. And you can give fruits and vegetables, as their first foods too. Whatever may be the food make sure to give only a quarter spoon at first as their tiny bellies are too small to hold and digest new foods.

Age 6-8 Months

   Broth —–    Home made bone broth is Calcium and mineral rich. It’s a more nutrient dense food than water and fruit juice. It will not cause any adverse reactions like cow’s or soy milk.

Egg yolks—–  Around the world, Egg yolk is said to be the universal first food for babies. Make sure to give the egg yolks from pastured hens

Egg yolk supplies cholesterol needed for mental development. You can start giving egg yolks as soon as your baby shows interest in eating food. While, The egg white which contains difficult-to-digest proteins, should not be given before the age of one year.

Liver ———-   Small amounts of grated and cooked, organic liver may be added occasionally to the egg yolk after six months. The Liver is rich in iron, the one mineral that tends to be low in mother’s milk because iron competes with zinc for absorption.

Bananas ——- Bananas are one of the fruits with a good amount of carbohydrate along with amylase. It comes with the enzymes that your baby needs to digest them. You can mash and give the bananas at even 4-5 months and give them as a small piece at 6 months of age.

Avocados ——- It is said to be the perfect first food for babies as it is rich in high quality fats. It has a smooth texture which helps mothers to prepare avocado meal anywhere. All they need is an Avocado, knife and masher to give a healthy, nutritious meal to the baby at any time.

Fish Roe ——–  It is a fabulous first food with a profusion of texture,color, and flavor that almost delights every baby. It is packed with nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin D, and choline. Thus, it is said to be the essential food for a growing brain.

Suggested commercial first foods:

a) Gerber rice cereal

b) Earth’s best rice cereal