Too much information can make one go groggy, mentally fuzzy and physically exhausted. Thanks to the Internet, I became a victim of information overload recently with my research on starting solids commencing around three weeks ago. Different resources say different things but a majority concludes the following:
>> Start small and slow. Kick off with 1 tablespoon of your food of choice, and feed once a day. Increase the amount gradually as baby accepts the food well.
>> Wait for 4 days before introducing another new food.
>> Until baby reaches 1 year old, solids should complement but NOT replace milk feeds.
>> Among the recommended first foods are rice/oatmeal/multigrain/barley cereals, fruits (avocado, apple, pear, banana, prune, pumpkin, mango) and vegetables (squash, peas, sweet potato, carrot).
>> Avoid citrusy or allergenic foods such as tomato, orange, egg white, honey, strawberry, whole cow milk and shell fish.
>> For baby’s first solids, feed ½ to 1 hour after the morning milk feed. This way, if baby is allergic to the food, you’ll have the whole day to monitor and carry out appropriate measures.
My “sifu” of all-things-baby-related, PG, helped me with some of the questions below (answers are slightly edited for easier reading):
#1 I read that once rice cereals are well accepted, we can start adding pureed vegetables. Then, increase the amount. Then, add in pureed fruit as dessert on top of pureed vegetables and cereal. Can a 6-month old baby really take that much? Did they mean add in pureed fruit and pureed vegetables into rice cereal or serve pureed fruit separately?
For a start, just give 1-2 tablespoons of commercial rice cereal. If he shows a strong interest on solids, you may increase the amount slowly, depending on how he takes it. I remember giving Jeff some pumpkin puree on its own by the 2nd week but the response wasn’t so good. I moved on to introducing other vegetables. There was once, I bought some purple cauliflower from JustLife, and mixed it in his cereal but he painted the purple colour on his nanny’s face! You can first start on rice cereal for 1-2 weeks, then serve vege/fruit puree. If things turn out well, add more and more varieties to it.
#2 Is carbohydrate a must in all meals or can I just serve, say, pureed pumpkin on its own?
Yes, you can just serve vegetable or fruit puree separately, ie. not necessary add them to rice cereal. Jeff is 11 months now, but I’m still grinding grains and pureeing the vege/fruits for him. I have not introduced adult rice yet. What I do now is to make his rice cereal more coarse or less watery, so that he can learn to chew more before swallowing. The plan is to slowly make the grain powder less fine and eventually no grinding at all. Carbohydrate is not a must for all meals.
#3 It is said that we should avoid giving wheat to a 6-month old baby at the beginning but most teething biscuit contains wheat. Is it safe? Ewan is teething quite badly and giving him a teething biscuit will definitely help.
I think wheat is ok as long as there is no allergy issues in both your family and hubby’s. Even if there is, it’s not really a big issue; you just need to stop the food and the allergy would go away. We have to try it out in order to know if they are allergic to anything anyways. Yes, most teething biscuits contain wheat. Jeff loves the puff and rice crackers though.
P/S: There’s a wheat-free, egg-free teething biscuit recipe in wholesomebabyfood website. Read below for URL.
#4 Should I complete testing rice cereal, oatmeal cereal and multigrain cereal on him first before adding pureed vegetables/fruit and/or introduce the kind of rice we consume to him?
What i did was to start with say, millet cereal for 3 days, then millet + oatmeal for 3 days, then oatmeal +black rice, then millet + quinoa, then quinoa+barley and so forth. This way, there are more combinations. Same goes for vegetables and fruits. Do single as a start, then combo them to create different taste, or else you would soon run out of idea on what to give him soon. Babies can be quite picky when it comes to food!
And here’s another great sharing from Hui Ling:
Once you start him on meat like chicken, pork or fish, use a slow cooker to make the porridge. Just dump everything into the bowl and that’s it. You may add some anchovies powder or Bowril for some flavour. Just wash the anchovies, peel , dry and fry until crispy without oil. Easiest way is to put it in microwave and bake dry. Then blend!
I shall not bore you with more details. Mummy’s Reviews compiled a very good summary of the whats and what-nots here. Alternatively, you may visit wholesomebabyfoods which basically answers all questions and doubts about starting solids.
Ewan will be having his first semi-solid meal tomorrow! I’m so excited for him 🙂