Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Questions about Baby-led Solids (baby-led weaning)

While chatting online with other moms I found there were a lot of questions about giving baby table and finger foods and baby-led solids.  I figured since this is a blog about starting baby on solids I should go ahead and try and answer some of those questions here.  Sort of a FAQ section.  So here are some of the most common questions about introducing your baby to foods other than purees.

*Disclaimer: I'm not a professional anything, just a mom sharing her experiences and knowledge from her own research, hoping to help other moms.  I am not a pediatrician or a nutritionist, this is just what has worked for us and what I've discovered talking to other moms.

Q: When should I start giving my baby solids?
A: The general rules of when to start solids are
  • No earlier than 6 months- to ensure that baby no longer has an open gut
  • When baby can sit unassisted
  • When baby has the motor skills to pick up and move food to her mouth/has developed the pincer grasp 
  • When baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex
         Baby does not have to have teeth before you offer solids, some of the solids may even help to alleviate teething pain.We started offering at 6 months, but she didn't really start taking to them until 7 months.  There is no harm in starting to late, but it can be dangerous to start too early, even with purees and rice cereal.  (Not that I think you should give your baby rice cereal, that stuff is gross!)  The minimum a baby should be given anything but formula or breastmilk is 6 months.

Q: What foods should I offer my baby?
A: A good first food for baby is Avocado- lots of healthy fat and nurtrients.  Good "finger foods" are the Gerber Puffs, Yogurt Melts, Mum Mums, and teething biscuits.  Most fruits are good to cut up and give to baby. Mercy's favorite is peaches.  As they get older you can offer a wider variety.  At 8.5 months Mercy mostly gets what I'm eating.  I just try to stay away from "junk food"- no fast food, nothing high in sodium or sugar or bad fat, and I avoid things that have high acidity like citrus fruits or large quanties of tomatoes or sauce.  And always stay away from hgih allergy foods like peanuts, shellfish, strawberries, or any allergies that run in your family. 

Q: How should I prepare the food to give to baby?
I usually either give them in slices, (like cucumber, or apple slices) sticks (carrots) or stalks (like broccoli).  Shapes that are easy for them to hold on their own and eat.    When she gets some of my meat like chicken or steak, I make sure it is a big enough chunk for her to hold in her hand so she doesn't try to cram the whole piece in at once.  I do not usually cook any fruits or veggies before I give them to her.  I just rinse, cut, and call it good. (I plan on making an entry in the future demonstrating how I cut and prepare most fruits for Mercy, with pictures so its easier to understand.)

Q: Do you give the baby food right off your plate, salted and seasoned too?
A:Salt-no. Spicy- no. Seasoned- yes.  When I know I will be sharing food with Mercedes I do not put salt and pepper on it (or I only put a little).  Regular cooking seasoning though I don't worry about.  Babies like flavor too! 

Q: I'm worried about choking, what do I do?
A: It is important to remember that there is a difference between choking and gagging.  Gagging is normal and is just part of the learning process.  Baby is use to a liquid diet from either breastmilk or formula, gagging teaches baby how to move food around her mouth and what size pieces she can handle and what she can't.  Never leave your baby alone with food so that in case of an emergency and your baby does choke you can help.


I think those are the basic questions,  If I've missed any, or you have any  I haven't answered, leave a comment and I will do my best to answer for you.  Good luck!


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