Here is some “solid” advice from guest blogger, Registered Dietitian, and local mom,
Starting solids is such an exciting time in your baby’s life. Up until this point, all they’ve had is breastmilk or formula and watching them try new flavors will be fun for both of you.
At the same time, starting solids can be a bit overwhelming. If this is your first baby, particularly, or if your kids are further apart, parents tend to have a lot of questions.
How do I know if my baby is really ready? What if they choke? What foods should I even give them?
My name is Caitlyn Edson and I am a Registered Dietitian specializing in pediatrics. I have helped numerous families start their babies on solid foods successfully in a way in which both the parents and the baby have fun. Here are some of the top things I tell my clients to keep in mind when the time comes:
1. Understand the importance of solids.
Have you ever heard, “food before one is just for fun?” This is not the case whatsoever, and food before one serves a very important purpose! First, eating is a learned skill. Although many nutrients are still coming from breastmilk or formula, babies need to learn how to eat. Solids help babies master proper mouth movements, learn how to swallow, determine much to put in their mouth, and more! Solids also give babies a chance to become acquainted to the sensory aspects of foods. In order to help lessen the risk of picky eating in the future, babies need to experience all the senses that are heightened when they feel food, taste food, see food, and smell food. These are just a handful of reasons why food before one is crucial.
2. Be able to identify the signs of readiness.
While solids are very important, you certainly want to wait until your baby is physically ready to safely eat food. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to “introduce solid foods around 6 months of age, expose baby to a wide variety of healthy foods, and to offer a variety of textures” (https://www.aap.org). This recommendation is fairly new, as solids used to be recommended around 4 months of age. Of course, we want to follow the lead of our babies and look for their personal signs of readiness such as: sitting briefly unassisted, showing interest in our food, and a lack of the tongue thrust reflex. If your baby is showing all of these signs a bit earlier than six months, it’s okay to begin. Here is a free download to keep handy in order to check for readiness.
3. Feel safe and supported in your journey.
Many parents feel nervous to start solids because it’s so new to them. First, I recommend all families take a CPR course. There are many available both in person and online that will give you the peace of mind you need. I also recommend finding a support system, whether it’s family or friends who will help you in your journey. Of course, if you need more support you can always reach out to your pediatrician or pediatric Registered Dietitian to help build your confidence step by step.
4. Know what foods to feed your baby.
You’ve already put so much effort into caring for this little human, so you want to make sure you are feeding them the proper thing, right? Being informed about foods at this stage comes in handy! We want to be sure to include a variety of items in our baby’s diet such as foods rich in iron, foods with higher fat content, and a fruit or a vegetable. This is where Seedlings Baby Food comes into play! Seedlings offers a variety of options that have many different colors, textures, and nutrients. Their “stage one” is perfect for families who are more comfortable starting with pureed options, and babies can advance easily into stages 2 and 3. These foods are prepackaged so you can think less and enjoy more time with your little one. The best part? All their foods are locally sourced so you can be assured your baby’s meal is chock full of good stuff!