Purees, Baby Led Weaning, and Rice Cereal Part 2
Finally, here we are talking about part 2 of introducing food to your baby. If you missed part one, here it is. Part 2 is to bring more focus on what foods to introduce and the different ways to do that. In the end, if you have no idea where to start, refer back to your primary care provider or pediatrician that sees your baby.
Typically, under the "classic" definition of introducing food to babies it is done at 4-6 months and rice cereal tends to be the first food that is introduced. If you have an older pediatrician or have asked family members what you should do, this is often the answer you will get. There is nothing wrong with this way of doing it as long as you do not feel pressured to introduce foods to your baby. You are the mother and you know best. You can introduce foods other than rice cereal at this age, but we'll talk more about that later.
While those classic signs of a baby being ready might be there, you might wait a little longer for the sake of your baby's gut, allergies, or simple desire to delay as long as possible.
For a refresher on signs that your baby is ready:
- 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*
Delayed introduction might start around 9-10 months of age. This is an extra way to ensure that the gut lining of the baby is sealed, which reduces the potential for allergies and gas. The WHO recommends introducing complimentary solids at 6 months at the earliest. Complimentary is in addition to breastmilk or formula a few times throughout the day as a "treat" or "fun addition" to the bottle or breast.
"Food before one is just for fun."
So if you choose when you will introduce food, what will you introduce for that first bite? There are unlimited options for introducing foods to your little one. The key is to find the option that fits your needs and your baby.
Taking the classic route, you can introduce rice cereal mixed with breast milk for your 4-6 month old and see how they like it. If your baby is not ready, they will not take it. Sometimes they just play with it, spit it out and have a good time. Both cases are fine. In the classic route, you can introduce foods other than rice cereal.
Alternative foods to introduce:
- Bone Broth
- Egg Yolk
- Raw Fruit
Taking the delayed introduction route, you can introduce the above listed foods, but at an age past 6/7 months. One of the styles you do it in can be in pureed foods, fully mushed, feed a few times a day with a spoon. You can do baby led weaning where you occasionally put chopped food in front of your baby to pick up on there own as they see fit. With BLW, baby eats when you eat and they tend to eat what you eat, no extra prep, just a little chopping.
When do you plan to introduce foods to your baby?