Introducing Solids In The Early Days

Welcome and thank you for listening!

Our special guest today is, Amy van der Merwe, a mom to an almost 4 year old little girl and pregnant with their second child, passionate about giving them the healthiest start to life. She is a chef and loves working with plants and natural ingredients.

Amy’s family health history is not the best, so she started to look into a preventative lifestyle about 7 years ago. She loves food that grows from the earth and naturally started eating more whole foods and more plants.

In today’s episode, she will be sharing her experience and expertise around introducing solids in the early days.

Do you feel overwhelmed by the idea of transitioning your little one to solid foods?

As much as many moms wish there was, there isn’t one correct way to feed Baby; a ‘right’ amount to be given at any age; or a set diet sheet which you can follow. This is a good thing really! As knowing this should take some pressure off you and allow you to rely on your Mom instincts. Here are a few basic guidelines to help you get started on the right footing…

When To Start Solids

Most babies shouldn’t start solids until they’re at least six months old – until then milk provides all of the nutrients and liquids needed. If Baby seems hungry, simply feed him more often and not according to a schedule.

Milk continues to form an important part of Baby’s diet from 6–12 months, so during this time solids are more of a ‘getting to know you’ experiment. In any case, many babies are only interested in solids once they have a few teeth.

Don’t be tempted to start solids earlier because you’ve heard it will improve Baby’s sleep patterns; only about 30% of babies have improved sleep patterns, while the other 70% will continue to wake at night or become even more unsettled! Starting solids too early can have a number of negative effects, including:

  • Allergies, if the digestive system is too immature for solids
  • Excess mucus, skin rashes, bloating, or constipation – especially with cereals

At first, introduce solids in between milk feeds when Baby is awake, but not too hungry. Between 10am and 2pm is usually the best time to give Baby his main meal.

First Foods

Don’t be tempted to add cereal to Baby’s formula feeds when you’re introducing solids; generally, fruit and yellow vegetables are the best first foods – although you shouldn’t mix fruit and vegetables in the same meal.

Most babies prefer fruit, and it’s quite all right if they eat more fruit than vegetables – or tend to avoid vegetables altogether.

Opt for soft, ripe fruits which don’t need to be cooked, as cooking fruit can leave an acidic residue. Be careful of bananas, as they can cause constipation if they’re out of season and not totally ripe.

At first, meals can be very simple with only one or two ingredients.

Start with only one teaspoon of any given food, and only one type of fruit. This way you’ll be able to easily identify the culprit if Baby has any problems.

Introduce new foods slowly and avoid or reduce common allergenic foods like dairy and grain products, eggs, and fish – especially if there are allergies in the family. Let Baby’s taste buds and appetite guide you – as long as you only offer healthy foods!

General Guidelines

  • Avoid adding condiments so that Baby doesn’t become dependent on them, instead let him appreciate food’s natural flavour.
  • Don’t add salt, pepper, and especially sugar to food.
  • Avoid honey until Baby is at least six months old as it can c contain harmful organisms.
  • Use only high quality animal protein – opt for free range, unmedicated products and make it a small part of the meal.
  • Don’t be concerned if you choose to raise Baby on a vegetarian diet, he can get all necessary proteins and iron from milk and other foods and still be healthy as long as you don’t rely on cheese and grains too much. Many babies chew on meat, but spit it out unless it’s heavily flavoured and disguised.