Friday, January 20, 2012

Facts For New Moms: Starting Solids

It is very important to speak to your pediatrician before starting your baby on solid foods. Solid food should never replace breast milk or formula feedings until the recommended age of 12 months. If you are a new mom, I hope you find this information useful.

Why homemade baby food?
Making your own baby food allows you to know exactly what is going into your baby. A lot of jarred food contains unnecessary additives, preservatives and thickeners. Another great reason to make your own food is being able to use seasonal ingredients, which contain maximum nutrition. Making baby food is very easy and can save a family money.

When do you know your baby is ready to eat?
Most of the time the pediatrician will let you know exactly when the baby is ready to eat. Here are some signs to watch for to know the baby is ready;
-Can sit upright with little support
-Can hold head upright on their own
-Will open mouth when food is offered
-Can swallow food instead of pushing it all out
-Baby seems interesting in what you are eating

Stages of feeding baby:
4-6 months: It is important to introduce one food every 3-5 days to make sure baby is not showing signs of allergies.
-Baby can have single-grain cereal such as rice, barley, oatmeal and millet. Usually, at the age the baby eats 1-2 tbsp of cereal thinned out with breast milk or formula. Cereals that are iron-fortified are recommended. You can mix in different fruits and vegetables at this age. The most common are; sweet potatoes, peas, squash, carrots, apples, pears, banana. All of these foods are low-acid.
**In the morning I like to mix in fruit with rice cereal or oatmeal and for dinner I like to feed Layla 2-3 tbsp of a vegetable puree.

7-8 Months:
-You can introduce a wider range on fruits and vegetables such as: peaches, plums, cherries, beets, asparagus, mushrooms and green beans.
- You can also start combining foods that the baby has had previously.
- If the baby can handle it, you can keep the vegetables chunkier to initiate chewing.
-Babies first meats should include purees of lamb (high in iron), turkey (easy to digest).
-Other foods to introduce: cooked lentils and split peas (high in protein)

9-11 months:
-Coarse or chunkier fruits and vegetables
- Small pieces of cooked vegetables and ripe fruit
-Whole milk yogurt, ricotta and cottage cheese
-Meats such as chicken and pork.
-Introducing herbs and spices (onions and garlic)
-Fruit Juice (100% juice only) limit for 1/4 cup a day.

1 Year and up:
-Table foods such as soups, stews, pasta cut into bit sized pieces.
-Honey, cows milk, fish, citrus fruits and small amounts of salt and pepper.

What foods are worth buying organic?
The best foods to buy organic are the ones that tend to have high pesticide residue.
Organic Vegetables: Bell Peppers, Celery, Potatoes, Carrots, Spinach or Lettuce
Organic Fruits: Peaches/Nectarines, Apples, Strawberries, Cherries

What are the signs of an allergic reaction to solid foods?
-Vomiting or Diarrhea
-Excessive gas
-Rash or hives
-Difficulty breathing
Most common food allergies come from milk, nuts, fish, wheat, soy, eggs, shellfish

Below are a list of foods that are beneficial to your baby and the reasons why they are a good choice.

Cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, papayas: high in vitamin A, healthy for skin and eyes.

Spinach, Avocado, Broccoli, asparagus: High in folate, which helps with heart health and cell growth.

Whole Grains, oats, millet, brown rice, cereals, pasta, crackers: Iron fortified cereals help give the baby the iron they need for growth and development. They contain carbohydrates for energy.

Black Beans, Pinto Beans, Chickpeas, Peas, Lentils: High in protein and carbs. They also contain high amounts of folate.

Poultry Meats, Eggs, Lean Pork: Protein to help build cells, muscle and organs.

Red Meat, Beef, Lamb, Dark Meat Chicken and Turkey: High in protein, iron and zinc to support healthy immune system and growth.

(Source Baby and Toddler Cookbook-fresh homemade foods for a healthy start)

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