Thursday, February 24, 2011

Introduction of Solid Foods

What when and how...

I am not sure how nearly a week has passed by without a post…1 sick little baby is the answer tis the season for colds and flu we are all once again healthy in this household.  Julia is getting ever so close to walking she will stand and you can tell that she wants to step and then she will squat down and crawl playing it safe haha! Other new things this past week Julia ate her baby proof pesto (I have renamed February pesto month at the Delaney's so I will be doing a full post on that before the end of the month) and chilli with much delight, she is also loving her new raspberry baby’s first muffins and my hubby on the other hand has been enjoying some new vegan treats “Devine Classic P-nutty Fudge and Lucy’s Pecan Pie ‘pieless’ Cookie Bars” (yes little Lucy you some how inspired this name, one of my dear friends of 20+ years just had a little baby and we brought some treats over there last weekend) all recipes to come of course :-)  

As a new mom there is a never ending list of things that you are trying to figure out and just when you think you got it bam it all changes... introducing solid food is a huge developmental milestone for baby (and mom) so I hope to dymystify some of that in this post...

Alright introduction of solid foods... we have talked a little bit about how to make your own baby food (part 2 is coming) we have reviewed finger foods, and I have given a brief overview of intro to solids now we are going to get into the nitty gritty.

How do you know your baby is ready for solid foods:
  • 6 months old
  • Able to hold head up and sit in high chair 
  • Tongue thrust reflex is gone (this is a defence mechanism that baby’s have prevent choking when they are smaller)
  • Smacking lips when watching others eating
It is recommended that babies are exclusively breastfed or formula fed for 1st 6 months of life and solids starting a 6 months there is no right or wrong order of what to introduce when you can start with rice or oat cereal or you can start with squash or avocado.  When you are starting solids you want to start very slowly starting with a tablespoon of cereal and gradually increasing as your baby tolerates it, the first time you feed your baby he or she may only take 1 teaspoon.  When first introducing solid foods you want to start with a very runny soup like consistency and thickening it up as your baby tolerates it.

Here is a basic outline (I have included vegetarian options in italics):

6-8 Months

Grain: oat, barley, quinoa, ground flax
Veggies: peas, butternut/acorn squash, sweet potatos, carrots, green beans, parsnisps
Fruit: pears, prunes, avocado, apricots, plums, mango, nectarines, peaches, pumpkin, apple, banana
Protein: garbanzo beans (chick peas), black beans, organic tofu  

8-10 Months

Grain: millet, kamut, wheat, rye, bran
Veggies: spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, cucumber          
Fruit: berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries), cantaloupe, honey dew, cherries, cranberries, dates, grapes, papaya  
Protein: kidney beans, lentils (brown, green, red), romano beans, full fat yogurt (gelatin free do you know what gelatin is made from click and check it out…)

10-12 Months

Grain: wheat germ, spelt, multi-grains (after they have had each grain separately), you can start to explore bagels, breads, crackers, breadsticks as your baby tolerates texture (just be sure to check the labels if you are not making it yourself scarey things in some bread products ;-)  
Veggies: beets, eggplant, kale, swiss chard, bok choy, onion, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, tomatos, leek, corn, edamame                                       
Fruit: strawberries, kiwi**, oranges, figs
Protein: egg yolk (it is advised to save egg whites till after 1 year due to the high chance of an allergic response), homoginized cow’s milk (after 12 months)

**strawberry and kiwi are from the same family so if your child has a reaction to one wait for the other also if you have a strong family history of allergies you will want to introduce as your baby gets older talk to you health care provider specifically about this.

Please note there are a variety of references of what to introduce when, this is what we did something different will work for everyone for example you may find certain foods cause constipation (eg sweet potatos) so you want to avoid them or you may find your baby apprehensive to trying new flavours and foods take it at your own pace remember a lifetime of healthy eating starts now!

Now you have an outline of what to introduce when but what about how?

When trying new foods you want to offer small amounts (maybe ½ tbsp), you want to offer new foods in the morning so that you can watch for signs of an adverse reaction throughout the day and you always want to wait 3-4 days between new foods so you can see how your baby responds to them.  In the beginning we waited 4 days and it felt like Julia would be 5 years old before she had tried everything haha!!

Be patient healthy eating starts here we still wait 3-4 days between new foods and spices. For example last week I started Julia with some edamame for finger food 1st day she wasn’t interested she pushed them aside ate the peas and black beans we did the same things for 3 days and on day 3 she would only eat the edamame, it is fascinating seeing their little taste buds blossom.  If you try something for 3-4 days and they are still resistant try it again in a week or two it can take 7-12 tries before a baby/toddler really gets a taste for something.  You will also find with the 3-4 day wait rule very quickly 6-8 month foods become 8-10 month foods simply by waiting the days in between.  I also found it helpful to keep some kinda log of what you introduced and how your baby responded I will post a sample… sleepless nights and the business of the days can easily blur new foods and responses together.
It is also important to remember for the first year of life breast milk and/or formula are the baby’s main source of nutrition, so you always want to give milk before solids and remember solid foods under 1 year of age are simply for learning the mechanics of eating and not for nutritional purposes - having said that naturally choosing the right foods will have some nutritional benefit but let's face it you baby is not going to gain weight from eating fruits and veggies, that comes from the milk.

I thought that it would also be helpful to review the forbidden foods under ONE year of age:

Allergenic foods: cow's milk, egg whites, soy, nuts, wheat, shellfish
Infectious risks: soft cheeses and honey
Choking risk: grapes, rasions, cherry tomatoes (so babies can eat these but you need to cut them up and keep a close eye on them)
Not advised for babies: salt, sugar, juice (so many parents will give there baby juice or put a splash of juice to flavour their water it is not recommend juice is empty calories as far as flavouring the water baby's taste what you give them so let them try some simply pure water and get a taste for it naturally).

Well I sure hope that this demystifies some of the queries in introducing solids I am going to compile this list into a chart and I will post it once I do :-)

Your questions of the post: How did you introduce food to your baby?  What are some of your baby’s favourite foods?

Coming up in DIY Part 2:
Simply Pure's basic veggie purees 
Cost analysis of buying commercial baby food versus making your own baby food
Why buy seasonal produce? What is in season when?
Spices and babies what is ok? 

But first Baby's 1st Pancake "cake" here is a preview Julia had them for breakfast and they are officially stamped baby approved - I discovered that baking my pancakes into a cake is a simply, healthy, quick and easy way to always have pancakes ready to go... daddy thought so too when he got pancakes on a Thursday morning for breakfast haha...

Of course I couldn't conclude without a picture of our little princess loving her new car...


  1. how do you serve your beans for the black beans and chick peas at 6-8 months?

  2. I soaked them over night, boiled them up (I will be posting a bean cooking time chart soon) and then pureed them and froze... and mixed with different veggies that she had already had... black beans + peas and sweet pot + kidney beans are her two fav's As Julia started with finger food now she will pick up beans and eat them whole as well. Happy Monday!