Dear Friends:

As a Pediatrician, I can tell you that it has been an open search of knowledge improving for sure the quality of care thanks to my daughter. We have been starting solids, and I need it HELP from one of my best teacher that I had in Chicago for Nutrition. Heather thank you for your help!!!!

Heather, MS, RD, LDN

Starting complimentary foods in infants at 6 months:

A wonderful book is: Blender Baby Food: Over 175 Recipes for Healthy Homemade Meals by Nicole Young and Nadine Day (2nd edition) available on Amazon.  A Registered Dietitian helped to write it and that each month there was a table at the start of the chapter with a guide of types of foods, frequency, and portion sizes.  The recipes were pretty good and they had a lot of information on how to make the items tasty for other family members. The yogurt at 9 months is a newer trend, but with the numbers of kiddos with constipation the probiotics are helpful. If you are breastfeeding/expressed breast milk, your kiddo may not suffer from constipation and may not need this food early – one good brand is the Yo baby and Yo toddler whole milk organic yogurts by Stonyfield.

Some big things to remember:
Your kiddo will eat each day until they are 100 years or older, there is no need to rush at 6 months – 12 months.
The first food is to help with iron intake – can be pureed meat or can be infant cereal (currently debatable which is better) the point is iron intake and getting used to the first semi-solid in the mouth and by spoon. Infant cereal is easier to control and transport. Typically rice is the first due to the lack of allergy problems.

It is not uncommon to work on just the first food for the first 30 days, simply working toward thicker consistencies. An adult may get bored with this, but an infant is learning more than just taste.

When you start the next foods, remember to work on that food for about 3 days then it goes on the approved list. Each new food on the approved list can be consumed in a rotation with other approved foods.  i.e. rice cereal 2 tbsp bid, puree apple 1 tbsp 1x/d, puree sweet potato 1x/d; then next day rice cereal, puree green beans, puree pear etc.

Homemade baby food is typically better received and can be adjusted to your flavors. Don’t make it spicy/hot, but it does not need to be bland. Some kiddos LOVE garlic, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, etc.  Kiddos can have added fat, go easy on added salt and added sugar.

One of the best early foods: puree sweet potato – microwave sweet potato until soft, remove peel, put in food processor with pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg and cinnamon) and butter – they all seem to love sweet potato

Now is the time to go to the store and buy some extra ice cube trays. When you make a puree batch of food say on Sunday night, you put the remainder in the ice cube trays and freeze. Typical size is 1-1.5 Tbsp each cube (a kiddo portion size) and then you can put them in a container with you when you leave home, they will slowly defrost and then you have a good portion of healthy food you know your kiddo loves with you.  (Your fridge will have funny ice cubes in baggies – just warn your guests!) If you choose to buy infant foods from the store, remember that the open container contains much more than one portion of food, it must be thrown away in 3 days once opened and within hours if you double dip (i.e. spoon to baby and back into packaging).

NO KID NEEDS JUICE – feel free to skip it altogether, fruit is better in so many ways

Making kiddo food does not need to be stressful, if you are having a vegetable with dinner – corn, put the left-overs (spices you ate with it and all) in the blender/food processor, thin with chicken broth to the consistency you like and freeze – if they only eat 1-2 cubes each day this will last you for a while.

As you approach 9 months, and teeth are appearing, you start to adjust consistency with these home-cooked flavors, less puree closer to ground – here they are adjusting to your textures. – When you get to ground meats write to me again – perfect the meatball!

HUGE tip – have them sit at the table when you sit at the table, eat when they eat, let them see that you are eating the same stuff, let them hold a spoon (baby spoon) to get used to what is going on. When you all eat together they are learning what this eating thing is about.  **Know that if they watch ANYONE at the table openly object to a food you are teaching them to be a picky eater.  There is always something a person doesn’t like to eat, be an adult about it, don’t put it on your plate or quietly choose not to eat it.

Liquids after solids – let them try the solids first, then fill the belly second

Have meals offered at predictable times – if you only have time at 6 pm each day then start there

Have all day-time care/family care people on board with your plan

WHO is wonderful:

You can for convenience purchase foods from groups like plum and happy baby for organic – the dissolvable puffs are a good training food.
Use them more like treats though – the main food being from home

Don’t forget about refried beans (kids like the spices, adults can like the fiber, iron, etc.) – best if made at home than from a can to reduce some of the salt content.
The nice things about doing the nutrition this way: you have a kiddo that loves to eat, transitions to home foods faster and easier, and you don’ have to fight at meal time, the disadvantage is: you will argue with all the other adults you meet.

Ideas from the work of Ellyn Satter, author of books such as: Child of Mine  and How to feed your child, but not too much
It is the kiddo’s job to eat,  it is your job to buy, prepare, and offer good foods at regular times
As long as you like the weight gain, the amount of food consumed in any one meal is not a big deal
It can take up to 20 exposures to a new food for a child to accept them (they are learning about so many things at once)
Don’t be a short-order cook, they can eat what you made in a given meal or wait until the next regularly scheduled snack/meal

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