Everybody loves feeding a baby. Is it the cute little plates and spoons? Their little mouths opening up for a big bite? Who knows!
As soon as they are out of the itty bitty stage – everyone asks – so what are they eating?
I did some research on this: when to start? what to start with? how will I know what’s right????
Why would you want to delay solids?
Baby’s have their whole life to eat food, this is the one time in their life for them to be given the perfect food designed for them, breastmilk. Even if they aren’t able to breastfeed, baby’s are also still developing and formula is designed for them to break down.
Babies’ digestive systems may not be ready for solids even though they look like they are ready on the outside. You can see signs of this by them being more fussy, having undigested food in stools, gas.
Most often grains are given first mixed with milk – Grains are hard on adults to digest, much less a baby’s system. The baby may not even be producing the enzymes it needs to break food down until closer to 9 months.
When you delay solids, you are also protecting your baby from illness (most immunity is seen in an exclusively nursing baby). You are decreasing the chance of an over-reaction leading to a food allergy. You are protecting your baby from iron-deficiency anemia.
By delaying solids, it also just makes the feeding stage less of a struggle. When baby is ready to eat, they will eat.
Let’s start with the when.
Your baby will let you know when they are ready. They will need to be sitting up on their own, have the pincher grasp down, and be genuinely interested in eating. Interest will be shown by them watching you when you eat, opening their mouths when you take a bite, getting fussy and asking for food. Pretty easy to detect. But I would wait as long as you can honestly. Wait, then wait some more.
Now the food.
Babies stomachs are still developing, so you want to give them food that they can easily digest. Avocados are great because their makeup is pretty similar to breastmilk. Next are bananas – easy to mash up too! Ground up meat and Egg yolks are a good option. Save the starchy foods until last to introduce.
Go very slow, and still continue to give them breastmilk – or formula. When you delay solids, you can quickly move to finger foods. Breast milk should be their primary source of nutrition up to 12 months old.
When you are introducing dairy – I would wait as long as they are breastfeeding. Since lots of people show sensitivities to dairy, you need to watch for signs for allergies. If you are worried about calcium intake, there are plenty of non-dairy sources of calcium. You can also give them a baby multivitamin.
Aidalyn had her first avocado at 8.5 months. she really didn’t eat much until 9.5 months, but hasn’t slowed down since! We would usually steam some vegetables along side what we were eating and she would just eat what we ate cut into little bites or mashed with a fork. If you are already eating healthy it is very easy.
For me, I usually tell myself – if I wouldn’t let Aidalyn eat this, then I really shouldn’t eat it either. As for toddlers, I just continued to focus on what I was eating – I usually cook a few finger foods like sweet potato fries (but you could roast any vegetable the same way), zucchini pancakes, grain free crackers, fruits… It really is easier than you think – just takes a little planning.
We had a really great experience and I hope you do as well.
What was your babies first foods?