Sep 28, 2005

An Introduction To Solid Foods

This has been a hot topic among my mommy friends lately, as most of our babies have begun eating solid food. Every pediatrician seems to say something different, and every book seems to say something different as well. Some doctors suggest a pretty set schedule, others hardly address the issue at all.

Alex's pediatrician gave us some guidelines that I shared with one of my friends whose doctor is apparently very nonchalant about solids, and I thought I'd post them here in case there are other parents wondering what to do:
  • Start with cereal - rice, oatmeal, barley. Feed 2-4 tablespoons of cereal mixed with milk 2 times per day.
  • Next add fruit - apple sauce, bananas, peaches, pears, plums, prunes.
  • Next vegetables - squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, then green vegetables.
  • Feed cereal and half to three-quarters of a 4 oz. jar of a fruit or vegetable in the morning and afternoon/evening.
  • Wait 2 to 3 days between new foods.

I basically followed our doctor's guidelines, but adjusted it to what felt right for us. For example, I had read that a new food should always be introduced in the morning so that you have all day to watch for signs of an allergic reaction. At first, I thought it was weird to feed Alex a vegetable in the morning, until I realized that he doesn't know any better.

I had also heard that vegetables should be introduced before fruit because babies can become used to the sweetness of fruit and consequently find vegetables unpalatable, but on the other hand, I had heard that the order in which foods are introduced doesn't matter. I compromised and started with a vegetable, and have alternated vegetables and fruit as the new food of the day.

I'll be posting more about feeding solids in the coming days, so if you have a specific question, please email me and I'll see what I can find out.


cher said...

i enjoyed your blog.

a good tip for when your baby is older and you start feeding food with chunks is to give them a few chunks first. they just don't know what on earth is in their mouth otherwise! i still mush up some of my sons solids now and then. sometimes some of it is too big. he'll just spit it out.

ChiefFamilyOfficer said...

Thank you! And thanks for your suggestion - I've been wondering how they learn to chew!

Alice H said...

I started Boo with sweet potatoes, since they're fairly easy to digest, don't take long to fix (just nuke a potato and mash it up), and aren't too flavorful in any direction.

I'm amazed at the wide variety of advice doctors give on food allergies. My husband is mildly allergic to bananas (throat itches) and moderately allergic to shellfish (if something is cooked with one, it's not bad, but if he were to eat a bunch, we'd be heading to the hospital for anaphylaxis). Our first pediatrician told us to keep Boo off of shellfish until he was 2, and peanut butter until he was 3. (Food allergies are kind of weird - if your parent is allergic to a food, you are more likely to be allergic to a food too, but not necessarily the same one.) Boo's second doctor (not a pediatrician) thought we were overdoing it keeping him off peanut butter until age 3, and his third doctor (a pediatrician) told us to keep him off of peanut butter AND shellfish until he was 3 (but by that point he'd already had quite a bit of shellfish anyway).

Some good foods to start as 'solids' are things like bananas, sweet potatoes, etc - things that mush well. They get the idea of chewing pretty well from that, even if they don't have teeth. But to be honest, Rhys figured out how to chew at about 5 months - on my poor breast.

ChiefFamilyOfficer said...

Oh Alice, I think I would have to stop breastfeeding if Alex does the same thing! Thanks for the tips :)

Alice H said...

You won't stop. You might cry, but you won't stop.

My lactation consultant told me to tell Boo no firmly and take him from the breast for a minute, and if he did it a couple of times repeatedly the feeding was over. Most of the time, the chewing comes at the end of the feeding anyway because they're bored. Boo only had a couple of times that he did it at the beginning of a feeding, and he usually settled down for business pretty quickly.