It has been an exciting journey for our little friend and I when I started her on solids. Before you continue, I need to make a disclaimer that THIS IS NOT A PRESCRIPTION TO INTRODUCING SOLIDS TO YOUR BABY. I am sharing with you my experiences and principles that I followed. It is meant as a reference. Each baby is different so you need to adjust accordingly to your baby.
Before I started introducing this whole new world of solids to our little friend, I know of a few pointers:
1. Introduction of solid food from 6months, as recommended by WHO
2. Feed the same food for 4 days and look out for any possible allergy reaction to the food.
3. Babies receive the majority of their nutritional intake from (breast)milk below 1yo.
4. Solids do not replace their milk feed. It is meant to introduce them to different textures, tastes and so on.
So I began this journey with these mentality:
1. I shall observe my baby and see how she takes to solid. If she wants, I will give.
2. If my baby doesn’t take to solids that well, it is okay! (Refer to #3 and #4 of the above pointers)
Truth to be told, the only book I read about parenting was French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Drunkerman and in the book is a chapter on eating. I must say that, it framed the majority of the idea of how I would like to go about introducing solids and feeding my baby. Here are some of my takeaways:
1. Begin with fruits and vegetables
2. She eats what we eat
3. French place emphasis on taste development, and introducing colours in food
4. French are better eaters
So I went to read up a little more on French weaning, which foods are suitable and which are not for different age groups, and the different colours in food.
We started her on solids when she was 6.5 months (4.5 months corrected). Let me provide some context here: our little friend is 8 weeks (2 months) premature. So her developmental milestones, height and weight progression are based on her adjusted age. Meaning, when she is 6 months, we count it as 4 months. Adjusted age would be not necessary when she turns 2. It does get confusing at times, but we are not very bothered by it as long as she is healthy, happy and growing well. So why did we introduce solids at 4.5 months? She expressed interest in food, especially when we are eating. She would look at us intently and follow the motion of our hands as we feed ourselves. So we started off with letting her lick and suck on apples, pears, and grapes. After a month or so of random licking and sucking, we decided to start her on tasting the real deal at 8 months (6 months corrected).
To prepare ourselves for the real deal, we bought a Beaba. Why did we get ourselves one? I must admit that it’s a vanity product. we could have settled for a cheaper brand, but I simply can’t resist it. The main reason behind getting a baby food processor is so that I don’t need to watch over the stove when I’m preparing her food. We also wanted a separate blender to blend her food. So Beaba it is.
C’s very first food was pear purée (I used snow pear). Why pear? Pears are high in fiber, potassium and Vitamin C. They are gentle on the stomach and helps alleviate constipation. It is also suitable for babies who have reflux (Wholesomebabyfood). She was also having a mild cough then and steamed pear (juice) is suppose to help relieve the cough. I shaved the pear, steamed and blended it in the Beaba. We then proceeded with pumpkin purée, sweet potato purée. Then I introduced two-food combination with purple sweet potato and barley purée, oats with a variety of fruits, porridge etc.
Somewhere in the process, my mum insists on feeding her with brown rice cereal because that’s was all of my brother’s and my first food. I choose not to feed her with brown rice cereal yet because it is simply empty calories with not much nutrients. It is also highly like to cause constipation. However, some opt for rice cereal as one of the first food because it is least likely to cause allergic reaction.
So I opted for oats instead. Oats are high in fiber, calcium, protein and lots of vitamin goodness. It is also less constipative and aids in digestion. However, there may be traces of gluten which some babies may be allergic too. Some may also advice against introducing gluten before 6 months to reduce the risk of developing Celiac disease.
It is important to offer water when your baby takes solid. This is to prevent constipation and to ensure sufficient water intake. It was previously unnecessary as milk consists of mostly water. Breastmilk is made up of 90% water. C doesn’t like to take plain water in bottles so we offer her water with a spoon and is in the process of training her to drink from a sippy cup. So far, she doesn’t have any constipation issues, partly due to the oats in her diet.
At 9 months (7 months adjusted) she has tried a myriad of foods, including yam, blueberries, cranberries, apricot, peaches (her favourite), apple, banana, honeydew, papaya, sweet potato, red bean (another favourite), a variety of greens, salmon porridge, chicken porridge, pumpkin scallop porridge etc. And I must say that she is enjoying it. I am also more adventurous with the foods as the husband and I don’t have much family history of allergy. If you have medical history of asthma or any form of allergy, you might want to be more selective in your choice of foods.
We started off with 1 meal a day (lunch or tea break) – and progressed to 2 solids a day (lunch and dinner) after about 1.5 months. I try to give her a savoury and sweet meal each day. I also make an effort to introduce her to both western and asian palette. I really enjoy preparing her meals and introducing her to a variety of food.
There are a few websites that I refer to whenever I need ideas, most of the time just mix and match. These websites offer recipes which caters to the Western palette.
I hope this post provides some insights on introducing solids. I will be sharing with you other details such as preparation and storage, and some basic recipes. Stay tuned!