Christian Doulas

Introducing Solids to your baby

My babies went straight from exclusively nursing to table food, but most babies like to have that in-between mashed food either from a jar or from Mama's kitchen. 

If you have breastfed your baby, he's already used to the herbs and spices you cook with, and shouldn't need completely bland food from the get go.  I think some babies refuse the store-bought variety because they're already used to "food" with a little more flavor!

Here's a great place to find recipes for making your own baby food.

When to Introduce Solids to Breastfed Babies

This is a hugely important question for all new parents, yet is one that will often bring you an overwhelming amount of conflicting answers.

Many medical professionals still advise introducing baby's first foods anywhere from 4 to 6 months.

However, this is a subject that has been hugely researched of late and the current recommendation from the World Health Organisation (WHO) is that:
no solid foods are introduced to baby for the first 6 months.

Other health-care organisations have updated their recommendations for the introduction of baby's first foods, in line with the guidelines issued by WHO and you may wish to visit the following links for further information.

UNICEF
The American Academy of Pediatrics

You may also find that you receive advice from older relatives, advocating the introduction of solid foods far sooner than 6 months - it's certainly true that babies were given their first foods very early in past generations. Remember, though, that not as much research had been done into solid feeding at that time... and the information we have now, particularly in regard to food allergies, simply wasn't available then.

Culturally, there are differences too...

Not only in the ages that babies are first given solid food, but also in the types of food that are given. In Africa, for example, babies are generally introduced to meat before anything else.

A recent report in America, compiled by paediatricians, suggested that the rules for introducing baby's first foods are based more on mythology than science. It pointed out that children raised in India are exposed to spices in their foods from a very early age. Personally, I love spicy foods and have eaten them whilst pregnant and when breast-feeding. So, in theory, our children too were enjoying spicy foods before they even started solids! Hmm ... food for thought!

Perhaps the key is to remember that the information given on these pages and elsewhere is meant as a guide. There are no hard and fast rules and a little flexibility can mean you can tailor make baby's first foods to his specifications!

Of course, one of the best people to advise you on your baby's readiness for solids is ... your baby!

Review this checklist: baby's first foods - is baby ready for solids? If you've answered yes to most of these questions, then it might be time for baby's first foods. But first, there are a few other points to consider.

These days, most experts agree that you shouldn't be looking at introducing solids until baby is at least 6 months old. And there are good reasons for this ...

 

  • Very young babies have poor control of their throat and tongue muscles. This makes swallowing difficult and can cause choking or gagging.
  • The tongue thrust reflex is still strong and can make solid feeding difficult.
  • The risk of allergies increases if baby's first foods are introduced too soon.
  • Early feeding can cause obesity.
(with thanks to www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com for original)

What Feeding your Baby is gonna look like

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       Christian Doula

christiandoula@gmail.com


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