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Sophie is seven months old already. Can you believe it? I can't quite.
I was going to write a post about introducing solids last month, when Sophie turned six months, but she wasn't ready for solids then so I've waited until now when she's eating them a little more regularly.
When I first tried introducing food to Sophie, she seemed to react to everything right away (it gave her an upset tummy). She also really didn't like eating. She quickly worked out that if she just left her mouth open, the food would fall back out and she wouldn't have to swallow it.
|Sophie feeding herself roast kumara.|
After that I started to test her with solids every few days, but it wasn't until she was seven months old that she seemed interested in eating a couple of bites and able to keep it down. Other problems she'd been having with reflux also showed improvement around the seven month mark, which has been a huge relief.
|Happy eating girl.|
(Note: I'm not a dietitian, these are just the tips that have worked for me.)
- When your baby is about six months old, start watching them for signs of readiness. Are they able to sit up unsupported? Have they lost their tongue-thrust reflex? Do they show an interest in food? If the answer to all the questions above is yes, your baby could be ready to start eating solid food.
- Until baby is at least nine months old, always offer breast milk / formula first.
- Don't go overboard on the solids to start out with - a taste here and there will suffice. The initial stage is about introducing baby to new tastes and the texture of food. It's not to fill their tummy - that's still the job of breast milk / formula until baby is about one. Modern Alternative Mama has written a wonderful post about introducing solids. In it she says that "enzyme production (like amylase) doesn't even really start until 8 - 9 months of age, so there's no reason to begin solids much earlier than this, even with babies that seem interested and especially with babies prone to allergies."
- Try one new food a week and watch for any signs of intolerance or allergic reaction (read more about these signs below). If your baby shows a reaction, hold off on that food for another couple of months and test again. By then their digestive system will be more developed and better able to handle that food, if it's not a true allergy.
- Feed baby new foods in the morning so that if they do have a reaction, you've got the day to deal with it and don't have to try settling an upset baby overnight.
- Experiment with both pureed foods (like mashed banana, mashed cooked pumpkin, boiled egg yolk, steamed and pureed pear/apple) and soft but solid food that your baby can hold to feed themselves (like avocado wedges, boiled or roast kumara wedges, roast chicken or beef chunks). I have more success with foods that Sophie can hold, and it's actually less work too. You could try cooking veges in chicken stock instead of water to give them an even greater nutritional boost.
- Every now and then add a splash of butter and a tiny sprinkle of real salt (like Celtic Sea Salt, Himalayan Rock Salt) to your baby's food. This is a winning combo that contains lots of fats, vitamins and minerals your baby needs to develop and be healthy.
- Avoid all grains until your baby is at least nine months old (including sweet corn and boxed rice cereal) as these are difficult for babies to digest.
- Swelling of lips, tongue, throat
- Difficulty breathing, asthma
- The allergic face:
- Runny congested nose
- Dark rings under eyes
- Red ears
- Congestion with coughing, sniffing and runny nose
- Rash around the mouth
- Severe nappy rash
- Glue Ear
- Headaches or Migraines
- Aching muscles and joints
- Infantile insomnia
- Poor appetite
- Stomach aches, colic (in babies)
- Persistent diarrhoea
- Behavioural disorders, including hyperactivity