Frequently Asked Questions
As previously mentioned, one of my objectives is to save you time. You have the ability to jump to a specific answer by simply clicking on the questions below.
- When should I introduce solids and why?
- What are the physical signs that baby is ready to start solids?
- What are the physical signs that baby is still hungry?
- What are the physical signs that baby is full?
- What are the physical signs that baby is overeating?
- What are baby food stages and the readiness signs for each stage?
- What are purees?
- How much should my baby eat?
- Is making baby food at home sanitary?
When Should I Introduce Solids and Why?
The AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics, recommends waiting until your baby is 6 months old before introducing solid foods. Many health experts also recommend this for the reasons below.
- Infant’s digestive system may be inadequate of handling solid foods before 6 months of age.
- There is no need for solid foods in the first 6 months because breast milk and formula contain all of the essential vitamins and nutrients your baby needs.
- Health experts fear that breastfeeding would be cut short if solids are introduced before 6 months.
- Breastfeeding mothers pass immune molecules through their breast milk. These antibodies protect infants from illnesses such as meningitis, diabetes, colds, allergies, arthritis, childhood cancers and pneumonia when they are most vulnerable. It can also ward off respiratory, ear, urinary tract, staph and e. coli infections.
- This immunologic protection allows the energy and nutrients, that may have been deterred to fight pathogens, to be available and used for growth and development.
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of illnesses later in life such as, Crohn’s disease and blood cancers.
- Breastfeeding lowers the risk of SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
What Are the Physical Signs That Baby is Ready to Start Solids?
These are just a few signs that baby might be ready for solids:
- Baby seems interested in eating family meals.
- Increased hunger that is unrelated to teething, illness, separation anxiety, growth spurts, entertainment or comfort
- Baby can close mouth around spoon.
- Is able to turn head away from food when full
Make sure that your pediatrician gives you the “green light” before you begin feeding your baby solids.
What Are the Physical Signs That Baby is Still Hungry?
One or more of these signals may indicate that baby is still hungry:
- Baby leans towards food
- Opens mouth when food approaches
- Baby tries to grab the spoon to self-feed.
- Kicks legs, waves arms and/or smiles while eating
- Points to your hand, food, bowl and/or feeding utensils
What Are the Physical Signs That Baby is Full?
Baby may demonstrate one or more of these signals when baby is full:
- Turns head away from food or spoon
- Shakes head
- Slower eating
- Refuses to open mouth
- Throws food or hands food back to feeder
- Pushes food, bowls and/or utensils away
- Pulls away from food
What Are the Symptoms That Baby Might be Overeating?
These are a few symptoms to look out for to avoid overfeeding baby:
- Spits up excessively
- Tummy discomfort
- Increased gas
- Fast weight gain or weighs a lot more than other babies the same age
- Frequent night wakings
What Are Baby Food Stages and the Readiness Signs for Each Stage?
Baby food is broken up into stages based on:
- Baby’s age or how long baby has been on solid foods
- Baby’s development milestones
- Consistency of baby food
- Texture of baby food
Stage 1 are foods that are first introduced to your baby. The age group usually associated with this stage is 4 – 8 months. Even if you wait until baby is 7 months old to start solids, it is highly recommended to start with stage 1 foods. These foods are highly pureed, have thin consistencies and very smooth textures. Look for the following milestones:
- Hold head up without support
- Sit up with little support
- Roll over
- Use arms to push chest from floor and turn head while laying on tummy
- Baby no longer pushes tongue forwards when lips are touched, known as the tongue-thrust reflex
- Is able to move food to the back of mouth in order to swallow
Stage 2 foods are for babies who have been eating stage 1 foods for a period of time. The age group for this stage is typically 8 – 10 months. These foods are less pureed, have a thicker consistency and are textured. Look for the following milestones:
- Sit up without support
- Sit in highchair without support
- Clear food from spoon using lips
- Improved motor skills, such as eye-hand coordination
- Demonstrates chewing movement
Stage 3 are finger foods. These foods are soft or mushy because most babies are still gumming their food. The typical age group for this stage is 9 – 12 months. Look for the following milestones:
- Stand with or without support
- Use objects to pull him/herself up
- Walking with or without support
- Developed pincer grasp, ability to pick up food between thumb and forefinger
- Able to bite food
What Are Purees?
Purees are foods that are either raw, steamed or roasted that have been mashed, pushed through a sieve, blended or have been put in a food processor.
How Much Should My Baby Eat?
Breast milk or formula should be the main source of your baby’s vitamin and nutrient intake during the first year. Never replace either of these with solid foods. A good rule of thumb is to first nurse or bottle feed your baby and then offer solids 45 mins to an hour later.
Note: 1 frozen cube = 2 tablespoons of baby food
Whether you start your baby on solids at 4 months or 6 months, you should only offer approximately 1 cube, 1-2 times a day. Your baby’s stomach is very small and really you just want to get your baby used to the flavors, consistencies and textures, not fill them up. Gradually increase the amount of baby food to 2-4 cubes, 2-3 times a day.
By the time your baby is 8 months old, he/she could be eating iron-fortified cereal and 8-12 cubes of baby food a day. All babies are different so don’t worry if your baby isn’t eating as much as other kids the same age. Your baby is getting enough to eat as long as wet diapers, bowel movements and weight gain is consistent. Do what works for your baby. Your little one will let you know when he/she is full!
Is Making Baby Food at Home Sanitary?
Yes, making baby food is sanitary. Just make sure you clean all of the materials thoroughly with soap and hot water after each use
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