Wednesday, November 2, 2011

5 Tips for Choosing Babies' First Foods | Starting Solids v3

Starting solids is exciting, but choosing the 'right' foods can be intimidating and scary.  You want to provide nutritious and delicious foods in an order that is appetizing and varied in order to ensure that your little one is off to the best possible start when it comes to eating solids.

There are many schools of thought on the best way to proceed; cereals first as a bland start for sensitive tummies, veggies first to prevent a sweet tooth, fruits first to encourage enjoyment of food, meats first to restore depleting iron reserves and of course there is the baby-led weaning school of thought, which skips pureed foods altogether.

Is there a CORRECT way to introduce solids?  That of course depends on who you ask; you're likely to get a different response if you ask your doctor than if you ask a seasoned mother.  As always choosing foods needs to be tailored to you, your family and your beliefs.

I am in no way an expert, or even educated in nutrition or the introduction of solids, however here are some tips, based entirely on my personal experiences, to help you choose your babies' first foods.
Introduce foods your family already eats, those are the flavours your child will be exposed to for a lifetime, and if you're breastfeeding he's already had a taste for them through your milk.

Introduce foods that are complementary, think about blending flavours so they appeal to your little ones senses.  Pears was one of our first foods as it blends beautifully with other fruits, meats or vegetables and its sweetness makes nearly any combination palatable.

Introduce a variety of foods, I don't want to eat straight vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner and your baby probably doesn't either.  By introducing a variety of grains, fruits and vegetables your little one will start off their introduction to solids with well balanced 'meals'.

Introduce new foods three days apart, in order to identify any sensitivities that your child may have.  There is no need to feed only the newest food introduced, however if possible feed it to your child all three days as a reaction will sometimes occur as the food accumulates in his system.
Establish a routine; I began feeding the baby boy twice a day the first week and was up to three times a day by the second week.  Again you are setting the foundation for your child's lifelong eating habits and by feeding solids (even a small amount) three times a day, you are making 'meals', not snacks, a priority for your child.
I've already shared the baby boy's first five foods, and a recipe for homemade Quinoa baby food; here's a list of the baby boy's second five foods.  Out of the entire batch, bananas are probably his least favourite, though its not suprising neither the hubs and I are fans and the boy only recently started to enjoy them.
    1. Quinoa
    2. Zucchini
    3. Prunes
    4. Bananas
    5. Carrots
What are your thoughts on introducing solids?  How did you decide what foods to introduce first?