When & How to start solids?
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Thread: When & How to start solids?

  1. #1
    Online Community Director MissyJ's Avatar
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    Default When & How to start solids?

    Question for the Answer Box (i.e. responses from YOU!): When (and how) did you introduce solids? Did you use homemade or any particular brands? I'll take any & all advice you have to offer!

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    Community Host ChristaM's Avatar
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    I made home made almost exclusively for DD. Still did home made, but was less obsessive about it for DS. I didn't introduce anything until after 6- 7 months of exclusive breastfeeding.

    You might find this helpful:

    Signs your baby is ready for solids:
    • Sits with help / support
    • While on tummy pushes up on arms with straight elbows
    • Doubled the birth weight & weighs at least 13 pounds
    • Is still hungry after breast feeding 8-10 times or receiving 32oz of formula in a day
    • Demands more frequent feedings
    • Wakes at night for a feeding previously slept through
    • Your baby is teething
    • Your baby is making chewing movements
    • Your baby is moving their tongue from side to side when food is in the mouth.
    How to introduce Solids:
    • Start with single ingredient pureed foods or a single grain cereal.
    • Introduce only one new food every four to six days or so; allows you to recognize allergies / sensitivities.
    • Begin with yellow veggies which are easiest to digest and then progress onto orange veggies and finally green.
    • Use single grain cereals; start with 1 tbsp cereal with 4 tbsp milk. Gradually decrease the milk as baby adjusts to the consistency.
    • Start by offering 1 tsp and increase as baby accepts each food.
    • Offer foods once a day at breakfast or lunch and gradually build to 3 times/day.
    • Try, try again – some foods will need to be offered 10-15 times before they are accepted.
    • Use a baby spoon or alternatively your finger to offer baby tastes of a new food until s/he adjusts. Try bringing the spoon to babies lips and letting s/he suck / lick the spoon rather than trying to force to spoon into the babies mouth. Eventually, baby will adjust and open wide for the spoon.
    • Offer veggies first! Because fruit is sweet, it’s easier to transition to fruits later but could be hard to transition onto veggies if your baby develops a preference for the sweet tooth!
    • Offer mixed / combination foods after you know your baby isn’t allergic to the individual ingredients
    • Still offer breast milk or formula – you may also introduce water in order to avoid dehydration; especially if baby has diarrhea.
    • Adjust texture / consistency of foods with dental maturity.
    • Encourage self-feeding with the use of finger foods
    • 6-8 months serve purees and some finger foods
    • 8-12 months offer thicker “mashed” foods, finger foods, more meat, some table foods.
    • Reserve the same dining location in order to establish a routine.
    • Do not feed from the jar/container – bacteria from babies saliva will grow on the leftovers and cause spoilage and germ growth.
    • Opt for organic – these foods have been found to contain more nutrients and less pesticide residue.
    • Try introducing a sippy cup from about age 6 months and gradually transition to an “open” cup.
    • Wipe baby’s gums with a gauze pad after each feeding; once teeth appear, use a baby/soft tooth brush without toothpaste.
    Five a day goal:
    • Aim for 5 servings of fruits & vegetables per day.
    • A serving for younger babies is a tbsp or less. For older babies it’s about ? cup.
    • Eat a rainbow:
      • Blue / purple: Plums, grapes, blueberries, prunes
      • Red: tomatoes, cherries, strawberries, red apples
      • Yellow / orange: sweet potatoes, yams, pumpkin, squash, mangoes, peaches, apricot, carrots, yellow apples, corn, papaya, nectarines, and melons
      • White: potatoes, banana, pears, cauliflower
      • Green: spinach, broccoli, green beans, kiwi, peas


    Iron rich foods: Babies are born with an iron supply that is depleted by around 6 months of age. Be sure to include iron rich / fortified foods.
    • Fortified cereals
    • Cantaloupe, mango, guava, apricots, dried fruits (apricots)
    • Beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, pumpkin, turnip, tomato, carrot, potato, dark green leafy veggies, sea veggies
    • Corn flour, white flour, millet, brewers yeast, unleavened bread, blackstrap molasses, lentils and beans
    • Animal meats
    Vitamin C rich foods:
    • Broccoli, sweet peppers, sweet potato, rutabaga
    • Berries: strawberries, blueberries
    • Citrus, papaya, mango, cantaloupe, peaches, dried apricots
    Fiber rich foods (give in moderation):
    • Dried fruit
    • Beans
    • Peas
    • Whole wheat / whole grain products
    • Fruit purees: apple, pear, and plum
    Home made baby foods:
    • Do not add sugar, spices, salt
    • Remove all strings, seeds, and skins from fruits & veggies
    • Slice and chop meats against the grain in order to avoid stringiness
    • Wash / Cook all foods thoroughly
    • Root veggies are easy to cook in the microwave
    • Thin purees by adding broth, olive or canola oil, or the water from cooking the veggies.
    • To add fat: use 1-2 Tbsp of canola, olive or flax oil. Do not cook with flax oil – heat destroys the good properties.
    • Safe storage:
      • Refrigerator – up to 2 days
      • Freeze for up to 6 weeks; can use ice cub trays (one cube is 1 oz).
    Allergies:
    Only about 6% of babies have a true food allergy. So, there is no need to worry unduly unless there is a family history of allergies or atopic diseases such as hay fever, asthma, or eczema. In addition, most children out grow food allergies by the time they are three years old. However, some allergies are more likely to last a lifetime such as wheat, eggs, milk, fish, shell fish or nuts. The most common allergens for infants and young children are cow’s milk, soy, egg whites, wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, fish and shellfish.

    High Risk Allergy Foods
    Beans & other legumes Berries Buckwheat Cabbage Chocolate
    Cinnamon Citrus fruits & juices Coconut Corn Cow’s milk
    Cheese Dairy products Egg whites Mango Melons
    Milk products Mustard Nuts / peanuts Onions Papaya
    Peas Pork Rye Semolina Shellfish
    Strawberries Soybeans Tofu Tomatoes Wheat
    Yeast Artificial food additives




    No-No’s

    0-6 months:
    • Egg Yolks: hard boiled egg yolks are okay beginning at 6-8 months. Never serve raw/under cooked. If there is a family history of egg allergies, steer clear for 2 years. Egg substitute still contains egg protein and should also be avoided.
    0-7 months:
    • Home prepared or canned commercial brands of spinach, beets, turnips, carrots, or collard greens (baby food brands are ok): These types of veggies contain nitrates…chemicals that can cause a blood condition called methemoglobinemia, where not enough oxygen can reach body tissues.
    • No meats; do not introduce meats until between 7 and 8 months.
    0-12 months:
    • Commercial cow’s milk**
    • Commercial soy milk**
    • Other Milks: includes goat’s milk, milk imposters such as from rice, nuts, seeds, non-dairy creamer, & porridge.
    • Soft / unpasteurized cheeses: There is a risk of listeria infection. Cheeses include: brie, feta, blue, camembert, Mexican-style and goat cheese.
    • Cheese/yogurts: only if there is a milk allergy; other wise it is okay to introduce between 6 & 7 months of age. Also note that many vegan cheeses still contain milk protein so if your baby is allergic to milk avoid these cheeses as well.
    • Egg Whites: If there is a family history of egg allergies, steer clear for 2 years. Egg substitute still contains egg protein and should also be avoided. Note: some resources indicate that is okay to try egg whites after 6 months of age, provided there is no family history of allergies.
    • Citrus & Berries: allergenic – major culprits include strawberries & oranges (including fruit juices). These fruits rarely cause a true allergy but can trigger a reaction. However, if there is a family history of citrus/berry allergies, steer clear for 2 years. Note: some resources indicate that it is okay to try these fruits after 6 months of age provided there is no family history of allergies.
    • Honey & Corn Syrup: may contain botulism spores which can over power babies immature digestive system and may result in death.
    • Nuts / Peanuts: No nuts, especially peanuts and nut butters, including tahini – very allergenic. If there is a family history of nut allergies, steer clear for 3 years. Whole nuts of any kind are not recommended before the age of 5 because of the risk of choking. Note: some resources indicate it is okay to try nut butters/spreads after 6 months of age provided there is no family history of allergies.
    • Whole Wheat products: protein in wheat (gluten) is a known allergen. May increase chance of celiac disease if introduced too soon. Celiac disease is a condition of extreme diarrhea that prevents proper nutrient absorption. Note: if there is a family history of celiac disease then oats, barley, kamut, and rye also contain gluten and should be avoided as well. Good alternatives are millet, spelt, kasha, amaranth, quinoa, and rice. Puffed rice type grains are best if your baby is prone to diarrhea. Note: many meat substitute products also contain wheat gluten. Note: some resources suggest that is okay to try whole wheat products after 6 months of age provided there is no family history of celiac disease.
    **: can be used in cooking; just don’t serve them plain/alone.



    0-18 months; these foods may cause digestive problems if given sooner:
    • Chocolate
    • Cucumber
    • Cabbage
    • Corn
    • Raw onion
    • Vanilla flavoring with added alcohol
    0-24 months:
    • Fruit Juice: 0-24 months. If you choose to offer juice, use only unsweetened juices diluted with water and offer no more than ? cup / 4oz. per day.
    • Eggs: If there is a family history of egg allergies, steer clear for 2 years. Egg substitute still contains egg protein and should also be avoided. Note: some resources indicate that is okay to try eggs after 6 months of age, provided there is no family history of allergies.
    • Sushi / Raw fish: can carry hepatitis virus and parasites which are too strong for babies immature immune system.
    • Swordfish, shark, tuna***, gold & white snapper, king mackerel & tilefish (high levels of mercury)
    • Shellfish: shrimp, crab, lobster, mussels, clams – because of high allergy sensitivities.
    • Fish/Shellfish: Note: some resources indicate that it is okay to try fish/shellfish after 6 months of age provided there is no family history of allergies. However, still avoid fish high in mercury.
    • Citrus & Berries: allergenic – major culprits include strawberries & oranges. If there is a family history of citrus/berry allergies, steer clear for 2 years. Note: some resources indicate that it is okay to try these fruits after 6 months of age provided there is no family history of allergies.
    • Hot dogs / packaged deli meat: may contain listeria bacteria which attaches babies immune system.
    • Bacon, sausage, hot dogs, & packaged deli meat: cooked at high temperature, they release “sodium nitrites or nitrates” which can cause cancer.
    • Salt, sugar, spices: salt causes babies kidneys to work over time, promotes future salt cravings, and can lead to high blood pressure later in life. Adding sugar increases chance of diarrhea and dental decay. Adding spices can promote allergies and cause a dependency towards certain tastes.
    • Canned vegetables: contain too much sodium!
    • Alfalfa Sprouts: raw sprouts may contain salmonella, E. Coli, and the canavanine toxin.
    • Low-Fat & Fat-Free products: babies brain and nervous system require fat to work properly and continue maturing.
    • Partially Hydrogenated (Trans) Fats: for health conscious reasons!
    • Avoid processed foods not made especially for babies since they are also high in salt; such as pasta sauces, soups, most breakfast cereals, etc. READ LABELS!
    ***: babies under 25lbs should limit intake of tuna to 3oz/month. Those over 25 – 45lbs should be limited to 6oz/month.

    0-36 months:
    • Nuts / Peanuts: No nuts, especially peanuts and nut butters, including tahini – very allergenic. If there is a family history of nut allergies, steer clear for 3 years. Whole nuts of any kind are not recommended before the age of 5 because of the risk of choking. Note: some resources indicate it is okay to try nut butters/spreads after 6 months of age provided there is no family history of allergies.
    Other Info:
    • Red Meat: not more than 2 servings / week. Red meat may increase the risk of future colon disorders.
    • Goal should be no baby bottles after 1 year (transition to cups) – effects palate formation and speech, and can cause tooth decay.
    • How Much is Enough? By your little one’s first birthday, three meals and two snacks a day is about right. Of course, your toddler may want to eat a lot one day and almost nothing the next. As long as you’re providing well-balanced meals on a regular schedule and they’re eating them most of the time, you should be fine. Do remember that small children have small stomachs so a snack given just before a meal can ruin an appetite.
    • How Much Milk is Good? Milk is a good food — in moderation. On its own, milk lacks iron and Vitamin C and contains about three times as much protein and sodium as a child needs. So it’s a good idea to limit your toddler’s intake to three cups (24 oz) a day.
    • Once you start finger foods -- Foods to Avoid – For Now: Whole grapes, nuts, uncooked carrots and round candies are choking hazards and shouldn’t be given to your little one. And if you’re serving hot dogs, a perennial favorite, be sure to slice them the long way and then cut them into small pieces. All table foods should be less than a 1/2 inch in diameter. See also finger food chart for no-no’s prior to age 3
    Finger Food – No-No’s prior to age 3
    Popcorn Grapes Celery sticks Blueberries
    Marshmallows Ice cubes Cherries All berries
    Olives Peas (uncooked) Raisins Any dried fruit
    Pretzel pieces Meat chunks Pieces of bacon Gristle from meat
    Hard candy Chewy candy Gum Jelly beans
    All candy Sliced hot dog “coins” or other such sized foods Hard, unripe fruit Peels of vegetables/fruit
    Strings from vegetables such as celery, sweet potatoes, and winter squash Watermelon seeds & other seeds from fruits/vegetables Leafy vegetables Whole corn kernels (cooked or uncooked)
    Raw carrot, celery, mushroom, and other hard vegetables Apple pieces and other hard fruit Too-thin carrot sticks (pieces can break off) Peanut butter (unthinned or chunky style)
    Any nut butter (unthinned or chunky style) Caramel candy or other thick/sticky foods Whole or partially chopped nuts and seeds Nuts “hidden” in candy or baked goods
    Potato chips, corn chips, & other chips Lollipops that can come off sticks Candy wrappers.
    Me: Christa, 41
    DH: Craig, 47 (Married: 8/19/05)
    DD: Kendall Evelyn (10/6/06)
    DS: Quentin Vincent (4/14/09)

    : November 2012@ 10 weeks (due date: 6/22/13)
    : June 2013 @ 7-1/2 weeks (due date: 2/10/14)
    : December 2013 @ 4 weeks (due date: 8/9/14)
    : April 2014 @ 4 weeks (due date: 1/1/15)
    : July 2014 @ 4 weeks - Chemical (due date: 3/5/15 )

  3. #3
    Prolific Poster Danifo's Avatar
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    I breastfed and waited until 6 months with my first. I started with some cereal, quickly realizing rice cereal was horrible. I used a mixture of homemade and store bought. I did it fairly gradual to watch for allergens and found she had minimal interest until we started finger food. She never had a big appetite and at age 5 still doesn't. We really had to watch what she ate because she would only eat a certain amount of food so we had to make sure it was nutritious and high calorie.

    With my second, I waited a long time (8-9m) because my daughter was 2 months early and it seemed like such a hassle for something my first daughter didn't really care about. I mainly used store bought food for testing the food with her and then gave her our supper cut up really fine once she was able to eat the various components. She is a fantastic eater.

    Pureed meat is pretty disgusting but I found that meat from the slow cooker is super soft and the kids really like it.
    DD1 July 2008 (41w3d)
    November 2010 (13 weeks)
    DD2 August 2011 (33w5d)

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    Community Host Minx_Kristi's Avatar
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    I had NO idea how to wean DD and worried about it for the first month or so, UNTIL I bought a weaning book by Gina Ford.

    It was so easy to follow and had some scrumptious recipes to puree and freeze. Personally, I would always recommend to make your own baby food.

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    DD - Leia, July 5 2008

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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minx_Kristi View Post
    I had NO idea how to wean DD and worried about it for the first month or so, UNTIL I bought a weaning book by Gina Ford.
    There's actually no need whatsoever to wean your baby when introducing solids. For the first year, minimum, solids should be considered a treat and an introduction to flavors & textures, and breastmilk should still be the main source of nutrition. In fact, many of us go on to nurse for years despite our kids eating solid foods. Please don't think that starting solids means you need to wean -- they are two completely unrelated processes. And, I'd even say that continuing to nurse makes introducing solids much less stressful because you know baby is getting good food regardless of what, if anything, he'll eat.

    We followed Dr. Sears' recommendations. This chart is great, we printed it out & put it on the fridge! It shows what physical developmental skills your child should be at before introducing the next thing. We never really bothered with "baby food," either homemade or jarred, with the exception of pureed carrots which I just didn't want to bother with preparing. And we never did any rice cereal, that stuff is awful. Basically we just mashed up some of whatever we were eating and fed it to baby. I did keep some mashed avocado & mashed potatoes in the freezer for those occasions when our food wasn't appropriate.

    Feeding at a Glance: Birth to 24 Months | Ask Dr Sears? | The Trusted Resource for Parents
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