Purees, Baby Led Weaning, and Rice Cereal Part 1
Okay, so when do I start my baby on food? How do I even begin? What are my options?
Personally, this part of parenting was overwhelming for me. Nursing was easy, figuring out what, when and how to feed my daughter was a whole new game and I had no idea where to start. The truth is I spent so much time reading and trying to figure out what to do contributed to us starting food at 8 months, which was refused and finally accepted at 10 months.
When should I start food? How would I start food? What foods should I start my baby on? What would it look like?
Those were the main questions I had and I needed answers before doing anything. I asked in the mommy groups, I did some Googling, I asked my mother-in-law and eventually I figured out what would work best for us. You get to figure out what works best for this little one (most likely each baby will need/want something different) and what works best for you. In part 1 we will go over the whens/whys/ideas of introducing foods to your little one. Part 2 will cover what foods and the different ways you can begin.
Are there any family allergies or concerns you have with specific foods?
This might play into your decision about what and when to start feeding your baby. If you have a sensitivity to diary, grains, eggs and so on, it might be worth delaying these foods or introducing them very slowly to be sure your child is handling them well. I have a lot of allergies, which is why we eat the way we eat, and so it was easier for us to assume she would have the same allergies, we were right. This will help you clue into when is best and what foods to include or not.
What is your lifestyle like?
Is diet a very important topic in your house? Would purées be a hassle (it was for us, so I skipped them)? Would Baby Led Weaning be a hassle for you? We take a Weston A. Price approach to the foods we eat and so this influenced when, how and what I introduced to my baby, it worked for us with this baby. I didn't want to spend the time making purees or the money buying them and having to worry about carrying baby food whenever I went out. with Baby Led Weaning, she was able to eat what we were eating and it was perfect. What would work for you and your lifestyle?
What to look for that indicates baby is ready to try some food?
- Baby can sit up without support.
- Good head and neck control
- Baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex and does not automatically push solids out of his mouth with his tongue.
- Baby is ready and willing to chew.
- Baby is developing a “pincer” grasp, where he picks up food or other objects between thumb and forefinger.
- Baby is eager to participate in mealtime and may try to grab food and put it in his mouth.
- More information*
If baby shows signs of interest in meal times, but you do not feel "ready" to introduce food, look for other ways to include them.
- A cup of breastmilk or formula during meal times
- A spoon and plate/cup to play with at the table
Why consider waiting till 6 months or older to introduce foods?
- You will be sure that the baby's gut is fully mature. This reduces chances of allergies and illness
- You can be sure baby is ready for solids
- Introducing foods will be easier. No purees needed.
- More food options
In the next blog will talk more about what foods you can start with, Baby Led Weaning, early introduction, delayed introduction and so on.