Saturday, July 7, 2012

Feeding Baby: Introducing Solid Foods

At six months the doctor told me that it was time to start introducing solid food to our son. Since I have exclusively breastfed I wasn't prepared for the emotions that giving my son food would invoke. The doctor sent us on our way with one basic bit of advice: follow the American Pediatrics Academy's guidelines for introducing food. There are a lot of people out their that will scare you about allergies and making your baby obese. Although I feed myself several times a day and I am healthy. I am a first time mom who hasn't introduced a child to food before...I didn't want to mess it up!  

So I did what I usually do when I am about to do something new...I got a book..! 

Getting Started 

Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed with Insight, Humor, and a Bottle of Ketchup Laura A. Jana MD FAAP (Author), Jennifer Shu MD FAAP (Author)


This book is the American Academy of Pediatrics book on how to feed your child and create good eating habits. It is filled with lots of practical knowledge that was very comforting and helpful. The book does go into detail cautioning parents not to over-feed or force feed their child. However, it does not give you information about frequency of feeding solid food or appropriate amount to feed; especially when you are first starting off. Overall, I thought that this was a great book that cleared up so misconceptions and fears I had about introducing food to my baby. 

Picking Your Baby Food

After reading the book I went to the store to make my baby food purchases. I knew that I wanted to find baby cereal that didn't have fillers and was a single grain. I was a little shocked when I started reading labels. I first reached for the box of Gerber Rice Cereal. It was familiar and what my mom fed me when I was a baby. I was shocked when I read the label and found that it was filled with soy and lots of other ingredients. After reading every box of rice cereal I settled on the only cereal that was simply rice and iron. 

This cereal is a little pricier than the other cereals but it was the purest cereal that I could find. Earth's Best also offers lots of variety in their cereal products. My son also likes their Oatmeal cereal. When we were ready for fruits and veggies I also read the labels carefully. I did not find the same amount fillers in fruits and veggies as I did in the cereals. When it comes to fruits and veggies I check the label but go for the sale! 

At about 7 months he was ready to chew. A friend of ours recommended rices cakes for our teething son. This was also an eye opening experience for me. There is indeed junk food for babies!!! When I began reading the label I was surprised to see that a lot of "Puffs" and rice cakes had a lot of ingredients including sugar. After reading the labels and considering what my son has already been introduced to we settled on a rice cake that was healthy and simple. 

He really enjoys them. We give them to him when we sit down to eat dinner. He caught on rather quickly to feeding himself. Although, they get rather squishy and gross he enjoys trying to grab the little pieces that crumble away during the eating process. These also come in many different varieties.  

The Right Tools for the Job

We already had a chair and bibs but there were a few things missing for this new eating endeavour. There are a few tools that we needed in our house to feed our son. These are the items that we added to our kitchen in honor of our son growing up. 

Nuk Rubber Tipped Spoons: They are practical for the tiny mouth and they are safe for sensitive gums. 

Tommee Tippee Explora 4oz Food Pots & Lids: These bowls were the perfect size for tiny portions and they make it easy to travel with food for the baby. They will work great when he is older for finger foods on the go.

Personal Reflections

It was rather emotional to give my son solid foods. Giving him food means that he doesn't need as much breast milk and that he nurses less. It is a bit of an adjustment to not be "needed" by him as much. Realistically, he still needs me 100% of the time but I couldn't help but feel like I was losing a little of my usefulness. It also stung a little that he enjoyed eating cereal and baby food so much. In the end, I am happy that he is ready to start eating food and that we don't have to fight with him. He is doing exactly what he should be doing. What mom can't be happy about that..?