Monday, December 7, 2009

Starting Solids: Purees to Real Finger Foods!

After his 4-month pediatrician well visit, the doctor gave us the green light to start solid foods.  At the time he was nursing 5 times a day.  Until 6 months, baby’s solids are just “for sport” as the pediatrician called it.  His nourishment should still come from formula or breast milk.

The first month of solids, I supplemented Henry’s nursing with solids once a day.  I chose the 2nd feeding of the day (11am). After one month of trying solids, I supplemented nursing with solids twice a day – 2nd and 4th feedings of the day.  Around 6 ½ months, Henry ate solids four times a day (breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner).  He gradually ate more solids, which allowed me to cut nursing back to 4 times a day (9 months). 

At the start I began each feeding by nursing, and then I would supplement with purees.  Henry has always been a good eater, and when he’s hungry he wants to eat immediately.  Some babies won’t eat purees if they are full on milk, so you will have to gauge your little one.  In the case where baby won’t eat solids on a full stomach, try feeding solids before milk.  Or try feeding a little milk, solids, and finish off with the rest of the milk.   

We started with baby rice cereal (found in the baby food aisle) mixed with enough breast milk to make a very soupy consistency.  It’s not surprising that Henry gagged, rice cereal tastes like cardboard, and he wasn’t used to swallowing anything but milk!  I tried feeding a few more spoonfuls of the watery mess, and quit.  We tried rice cereal for 3 days, but he never warmed up to the rice cereal.  In fact, he still doesn’t enjoy plain rice cereal.  After 3 days of rice cereal without any allergic reaction, we tried pureed Yukon potatoes for 3 days.  We tried a new food every 3 days, and when there was no reaction we would move on to another food item for 3 days.  After Yukon potatoes we tried sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, applesauce, peas, oatmeal, pears, peaches, avocado, green beans, yogurt (6 months), etc.  He loved all the foods I gave him, except the peas and green beans.  Now he’ll eat them without much protest.     

At 10 months I started encouraging more real people food, and supplemented with purees.  Henry now enjoys feeding himself whole grain waffles for breakfast with fruit, supplemented with baby oatmeal.  For lunch and dinner he’ll have pasta with shredded chicken or fish and soft cooked vegetables.  As a late afternoon snack, he usually has rice cakes or puffs and fruit.  (See Finger foods entry tomorrow).

Solid feeding requires patience and persistence.  It can take 45 minutes to finish a meal, and a lot of it ends up on the floor, in the crevices of the high chair and of course on baby.  It’s amazing where food particles can burrow: between baby’s neck rolls, behind baby’s ears, between baby’s toes, in baby’s hair etc.  Just have fun with it, and don’t get too stressed out if baby wires his mouth shut and shakes his head.  

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