“Dr. Linda, my son has been taking pureed lamb well for the last 5 days. What now?”

Now that your baby has been on their first baby food for a few days with no problems, it is time to advance your baby’s diet: start baby food…consider introducing different foods.

The more variety in taste and texture you give your baby now, the more adventurous he will be in trying new foods later, and the healthier his diet will be.

There are four main things that you can change as you Start Baby Food (Solids):

  1. The number of times a day you fed your baby.
  2. The amount of food you give your baby.
  3. The types of foods you give him.
  4. The consistency (lumpiness) of the food you are giving.

Dr. Linda’s Baby Diet Tips PART 1

Be sure to read more on starting your baby on solid foods and making mealtimes matter.

Dr. Linda’s FIRST RULE to START BABY FOOD is…there are no hard and fast rules!

Every baby is unique. My babies wanted to eat every time I ate, so they were taking 3 small solid meals from the time they were 7 months old.

“Dr. Linda, how often should I feed my baby solids?”

Try this: When your baby is 4-6 months old start by adding one meal of solid food a day. As your baby gets older advance to 2 and then 3 meals of solids a day as he tolerates it. Most babies should be getting 3 meals a day when they are between 8-10 months old. Your baby will love to eat every time you do!

“Dr. Linda, how much baby food should I give my baby at each feed?”

Try this: Start with one tablespoon of baby food per meal at 4-6 months. You can give more if he wants it.

Start the meal with the solid food, then finish it off with breastmilk or formula. It will be a few months until your baby can get all his needed calories from a meal of solid food alone.

My son had a formula intolerance and did not like the formula he was on but he loved baby food! The first time I gave him cereal, I started out with a tablespoon, but he kept asking for more and ended up taking a whole bowl full!

Stop when your baby is full.

“Dr. Linda, how will I know when my baby is full?”

When your baby is full, she’ll close her mouth, and not open it when you offer more food, or will turn away from the food when you offer it.

Young babies and children will only eat when they are hungry, and will stop when they are full. They have not yet picked up any bad eating habits, like eating because they are bored or sad.

Trying to feed a full baby doesn’t work, and both of you will end up frustrated.

“Dr. Linda, what types of foods should I offer my baby?”

Eat the Rainbow

Ideally, for optimal health, every one of us should “eat a rainbow every day.” And by that, I mean we should eat as many colors and types of foods as we can in order to take in optimal nutrition.

This is true for your baby, too: the more colors and types of foods you offer your baby, the healthier her eating habits will be when she is older.

Start Baby Food with Single-Ingredient Foods

Try this: Start with foods made from just one ingredient. This makes the tastes and textures less complex for your baby to start with. It also makes things easier for you if your baby has a sensitivity: you can know exactly which food cause the reaction.

For starting out, foods that are high in iron, such as pureed meats or iron-fortified cereals are great. At 6 months, your breastfed baby needs more iron and zinc than breastmilk normally provides.

There is no ‘right ‘or ‘wrong’ order to introduce new foods. Every family is unique. The way I did it with my own children and then with the families in my practice was to start with a meat or iron fortified cereal, followed by the orange vegetables, green vegetables and then fruits. What is important is that you give your baby a large variety of different foods and not necessarily the order in which you introduce them.

Try this: when you start baby food, start only one new food every 3-5 days, and watch for any reactions…it can take up to five days for a food-reaction to occur, so wait the full 5 days before trying the next food. If, after that 5 days, if there is no reaction, add another single-ingredient food.

All babies are born with a preference for the sweet flavor so do not be surprised if your baby makes a funny face when you introduce a new food.

Start baby food as runny purees.

Up until now your baby has been drinking all of his calories.He needs a little time to master all the skills he needs to learn in order to be able to handle solid foods safely and not choke on them.

Use a clean spoon to put the food you are going to feed your baby into a small bowl. 

Use a small bowl to feed your baby from rather than the original container. It may be a while till your baby can eat the whole jar. Why? If you put the spoon from your baby’s mouth into the original baby food container, you are taking the bacteria from his mouth and introducing it into the jar. This bacteria will grow in any leftover food and can cause an upset tummy, vomiting and diarrhea which we want to avoid!

In my next article (“Dr. Linda’s Baby Diet Tips, Part 2”), we’ll review tips on mixing new foods; how to deal with your baby “rejecting” new foods; some guidelines on what to expect at certain ages; and foods to absolutely avoid until age 3 years.

RESOURCES:

  1. Parents.com:  http://www.parents.com/baby/feeding/solid-foods/starting-solids-guide/
  2. Kellymom.com: http://kellymom.com/nutrition/starting-solids/solids-how/
  3. Momtastic.com: http://www.momtastic.com/parenting/176423-your-month-by-month-guide-to-feeding-baby-fruits-and-vegetables/
  4. Momtastic.com: http://www.momtastic.com/food/457271-starting-baby-solids-mediterranean-approach/
  5. Momtastic.com: http://www.momtastic.com/food/653719-signs-your-baby-is-ready-for-solid-foods/
  6.  Postivehealthwellness.com: https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/page/2/