If you are a first time mom (FTM), surviving the first 6 months after your baby is born is definitely worth celebrating. If you are an experienced mom, then kudos to you for your bravery to take on the second or third kids challenge.
Being a mother is a 24/7 job and not counting the sleep deprivation, trying to establish breast milk supply, constant worrying and the emotional roller coaster post-partum and the list goes on. None the less, you have made it past the most difficult months but there’s still a lot more ahead we have to know about your baby’s nutritional well being when they are ready to embark on the solid foods journey.
Now that you’ve mastered their schedule down to a tee, let’s talk food 🙂
6 -7 Months
Starting solids is a big step for your baby. But where do you start ? Answer is start simple, one food at a time and there’s no right or wrong on whether you start rice cereal, fruits, vegetables or meat first. There’s no research to support whether the starting order of vegetables first will make your infant to be more incline to eating vegetables later. Nope, no such things. Breast milk and infant formula are sweet to begin with, so most babies will have a tendency to like fruits much better than others.
Offer a wide variety of foods (cereal, fruits (no juice at this time), vegetables, meats), but only single food at a time. Start with one food, offer for 2-3 days and then introduce the next to rule out any potential allergies. But do remember, do not add salt at this time as baby’s kidney are still developing. This will go on for about two months time to let them try as much food as possible. By the end of 7 months, the list of food they can consume will grow to about 30-35 foods.
You can also lightly seasoned the foods with spices, herbs as well at about 7 months. Introducing purees doesn’t equate to eating bland foods for your children. Expose them with different flavors which in turn will help them be more of a adventurous eater later on. They don’t have to like it, by just exposing them with variety of flavors profile will do.
How much to offer ? About 1/2-1 Tablespoon is a good start at each meal. Let your baby be the guide on how much they wanted to eat. Baby will turn their head or spitting out food when they are done with eating.
Key Point: At 6-7 months of age, solids foods are consider a “complimentary” foods. As in it is just supposed to be letting the infant to experience the different taste of food and continue to work on their oral motor development. Food at this point are not suppose to replace their major source of nutrition (breast milk or infant formula. 90% of their caloric intake should still be breast milk or infant formula at this time (approximately 26-32 ounces daily).
After your baby has time to master the oral motor skills for 1-2 months. Now is time to introduce some chunky purees now. If you are interested and aren’t afraid of baby led weaning (BLW) techniques, you can also try giving your baby well cooked vegetables, soft ripen fruits (cut in stripe or small cubes), soft/ground meats (fish/meat balls) with careful supervision at dining table. At this time, most baby has the capability to chew with or without teeth and swallow without much difficulty.
You can start introduce cheese, yogurt (not cow’s milk or goat’s milk yet), egg yolk and egg whites if you like. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Allergy organization have released reports that early introduction of high allergenic food such as egg whites, wheat, nuts can reduces even high risk infants of developing egg/nuts allergies later on.
How much to feed ? Making sure to offer about 1-2 Tablespoons of each food groups (Grains/bread, fruit, vegetables, meat/meat substitute) at meal time if possible. They can have more if desire. Can start offering snacks in between feeding such as cheese, yogurt, teething biscuit, cut up fruits.
Don’t let anyone (family, friends or co-workers) to put you down whichever methods you choose and how you feed your children. As long as your baby is growing well and eating nutritious meals within the recommended guidelines, do what works for your family! One size doesn’t fit all.
However, do remember that at this time. Baby still need their main source of nutrition from breast milk and infant formula. About 70-80% of caloric intake from breast milk/infant formula (~24 ounces per day) and the rest from solids. Continue with no to minimal salt with cooking for the foods that will be served to your baby at this time frame.
Once they started to eat more solids, their poop will change to more of a darker solids form and sometimes even becoming less frequent with their bowel movement. Offer 1/2-1 ounce of water during meal time and also feed your baby fruits that helps to relieve constipation such as prunes/pears/peaches/plums. If your baby hasn’t poop in 3 days, you can offer 1 oz prune juice / apple juice mix with 1 oz of water and massage their belly to help stimulate bowel movement. Always call the pediatrician for advice when you are worried.