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Thursday, June 18, 2015


When to introduce solid foods

There is a LOT of controversy out there on when to start solid foods. So, the first thing I'll say is do your research and do what feels best for you and your family after consulting with your doctor. People that hear of doctors still recommending starting solid foods at 4 months seem to say "not all doctors are up on their research". Well, I can assure you that my doctors are up on their research, and they still think it's fine to start solid foods at 4 months, as do I having done my own research. This blog post is not going to go into why you should start at 4 months versus starting at 6 months. It will simply outline what was suggested by our doctors, and how things went for us on our solid food journey.

Our doctor's recommendations

- Single grain cereal for 1 month: there are a lot of articles out there now on how rice cereal or oatmeal isn't nutritious and urging moms to skip it all together. My doctor explained to me that these cereals are a great place to start because they contain simple sugars. I was so glad he reminded me of this, because I was ready to skip them and move straight to vegetables. Simple sugars are easy for the body to digest and give baby's digestive system a chance to adjust to something simple, before we throw more complex foods at it. These cereals do not have added sugar. All carbohydrates are sugars in the science world. Our body needs these sugars to convert into energy. These cereals also contain whole grains which we all know are good for us, and they are fortified with iron. When babies are older than 6 months they need iron in their diets. They can get it from cereal, or from sources such as meat, poultry or fish. So, long story short, our doctor recommended feeding cereal for 1 month to let our baby's body adjust to the idea of solid foods.

- Fruits and Veggies for 1 month: continue doing cereal, and start a new fruit or vegetable every 3-4 days and watch for signs of an allergy.

- All in with bite sized pieces: starting at 6 months they gave us the go ahead to do any and all foods (except for honey), and urged us to start doing bite sized pieces. The goal being that we only have 1 meal prep and she eats what we eat. With this approach we all have to focus on eating well balanced meals.

What we did with the above recommendations

4 months: We started Caroline on rice cereal. After 10 days of not pooping, mama got concerned. It is normal for babies to take awhile to get adjusted to solid foods, so this was not a reason to get concerned, but it's hard not to! We decided to switch to oatmeal. Man did the poop start flowing then! Mama and baby were happy!

1 week shy of 5 months: We started Caroline on veggies first, then fruits. We did each for a few days and introduced things nice and slow for the most part. This was the order in which we introduced new foods:
  • Sweet potatoes- a favorite
  • Prunes
  • Carrots- a favorite
  • Mango
  • Peas
  • Avocado- a favorite
  • Pears
  • Banana- a favorite
  • Green beans
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Chicken 
  • Zucchini- a favorite
1.5 weeks shy of 6 months: Caroline started mashing her gums together in a chewing motion. So, we started to introduce bite sized pieces of things. I also introduced the puff and some teething bars to get her used to holding and biting food.

6 months: We went all in. Anything we eat, we give Caroline to try. She still get's some purees, but she get's more and more bite sized pieces as she get's older. She even tried ice cream!

We have chosen to spoon feed Caroline, and to place bite sized pieces in her mouth for her. We occasionally give her something large like a roll to hold and try and bite from. She also practices feeding herself with the puffs and teething biscuits. She doesn't yet have the pincer grasp down, so it is more frustrating for her than anything if we don't help her eat. As she starts to master this skill (which already she is getting better and better), we will give her more opportunities to feed herself. Until then, we are all content to keep going as we are. 

1 week shy of 7 months: She is chewing food so well. We hardly give her any purees at this point. She has tried peanut butter, eggs,  yogurt, and all sorts of things. She has had no allergies and is loving food! One of her favorite things to eat is yogurt. She eats the stonyfield yogurt brand and sometimes has 2 a day. She also loves banana pancakes, and Hawaiian rolls.

Occasionally, she goes a few days where she seems to protest solid foods, but then she gets right back on track. She also gets annoyed at having to chew at times, but if I can successfully get her to try something without spitting it out, she usually enjoys it and wants more. 

We give her water from a sippy cup with each meal. She really started enjoying this at about 6.5 months. It also helped that we got a new cup that she just loves! The cup is called the miracle 360 cup. She drinks from it very successfully.

Our future plans

Now that Caroline is almost 7 months old, that pincer grasp is starting to show itself (more so with toys than with food). So, my goal when she turns 7 months is to give her daily practice of picking something up and eating it. She doesn't eat well when fussy, however, and she gets fussy when she can't eat. This means that I will be giving her practice towards the end of her meals, or perhaps giving her a snack to practice with. We'll have to see what feels right when we get there. 

We are continuing to phase out purees and get her eating what we are eating, and she is doing so well with it. We have maybe one fruit puree on the side, and a yogurt, but other than that she eats what we eat which is the ultimate goal.


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