This was a very controversial subject in my house. People in my home country start solid for babies as young as 2 months. They proudly state my child started eating from 2 months on without even thinking! Forget the older generation, they did not have enough knowledge or anybody to teach them. But when such foolishness come from well educated people who have all access to gaining knowledge at a click of a button – it feels so frustrating!
According to babycenter website, ‘You can introduce solids any time between 4 and 6 months if your baby is ready. Until then, breast milk or formula provides all the calories and nourishment your baby needs and can handle. His digestive system simply isn’t ready for solids until he nears his half-birthday. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for at least six months – though parents will attest that some babies are eager and ready to eat solids earlier.’
Same was the case with water. From the hospital the doctor had advised me babies don’t need water until they reach 6 months in case I have enough breastmilk. If the baby is on formula, I was advised only to mix the said amount of water with powder and no more. Giving extra water will interfere with baby body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in breast milk or formula. It can also cause his tummy to feel full, which curbs his desire to feed. Alhamdulilah! I had enough breast milk and we only gave him formula in case of emegencies like if I am out the the stock of pumped milk. But some of my relatives wouldn’t take this. They made comments like we gave our babies water nothing happened, you are depriving your baby of water and gonna make him live thirsty. They would be like the doctor is wrong and if I dare give references of my research from internet, I am in for trouble! Lol! Thankfully my parents and husband were sensible enough to believe the doctors.
You can read about giving water to babies here – http://www.babycenter.com/408_when-can-my-baby-drink-water_1368488.bc
I started solids and water for my baby at the age of 6 months only. I started with boiled and pureed carrots. Just 2 to 3 spoons he would have. It took some time to learn to swallow it than push it out with tongue. 😉 It was fun to watch. I gave him only one veggie a week to see it doesn’t cause him any allergy. First I gave only once a day, then after 3 weeks I started giving twice a day, by the 8th month he would have half cup pureed food once or twice a day.
It is difficult to just boil and puree half cup of food every time. I read in babycentre about freezing pureed veggies and fruits for babies and give them as required. I used to do this with breastmilk as well so I started doing the same with food. I would boil and puree batches of carrots, sqaush, cauliflower, brocolli, pumpkin, sweet potato, potato etc and freeze them.
In fruits I started with bananas and apples. He hated it when the apple was boiled and pureed, he liked it pureed fresh 😉 Then slowly I started inluding cereals as well and also mixing up 2 or 3 ingredients so that he can experiment with taste. Sugar, salt and honey was absolutely FORBIDDEN. I’m sure you all know why to avoid sugar as much as possible and in case you didn’t know why giving honey to children below 2 years in dangerous refer the link below:
Salt is also not needed for babies under one year as the babies kidney cannot cope up with it. Even after one year, the recommended amount of salt is really low as 2g. read about it all here.
I give him premade baby food from stores occassionally if we are out and I am out of stock but I make sure to read the label to avoid foods with sugar and salt. I encourage all of you to read ingredients in case you decide to buy babyfood but avoid it as much as possible.
I also started with cereals, nuts and eggs in his 10th month. I would soak nuts in hot water and puree it well and mix with any veggie to give him. He also liked eggs as well. Many people advised me to give eggs half cooked but the doctor advised me strictly against this as the bacteria in half cooked eggs (especially the white part) can cause problems for his digestion. Some doctors even advice to wait until 12 months to start with egg white . Doctor advised to start with like just a mouthful of cooked egg yolk once a week to see if he has any allergy. Alhamdulilah nothing happened and after he reached 1 year of age I give him cooked eggs both white and yolk. He eats mostly half of an egg now and I eat the rest 😉
As he reached 11 months, I started to give him food little chunky than all paste. This will encourage him to learn to chew food and excercise his jaws. By chunky I didn’t mean hard pieces but pieces of boiled carrots, potato, brocolli, etc… Also I encourage him to bite ino banana, strawberries, bluberries, etc..
I started giving him Goat’s milk after he turned one. Until then it was only breastmilk or formula as advised by doctor. Most people start with cow’s milk, but I read goat’s milk is best for children to start with after the mother’s milk. Anyway a lot of speculations have been doing rounds on cow’s milk being dangerous than good due to the cow’s being fed genetically modified corn and injected with lots of antibiotics. So I figured I will keep cow’s milk away as much as possible.
Though he is 1 year and 2 months now, he still prefers partially mashed foods and haven’t completely started eating with his own hands. I will encourage him to do so but not force it. Each kid takes his own time. My sincere advise to anyone trying to get some tips from here is – DO NOT COMPARE your kids with others and DO NOT FORCE anything on the little ones. Each kid is special and different. They take their own time to develope. Just make sure you surround and encourage positive and healthy habits around them and they will love you for it!
Its no use if you yourself introduce them to unhealthy habits and repent later. I know parents who complain their kids wouldn’t eat veggies or cereals but they love cola and chips! Who introduced these things to them in the first place? Obviously these things are made in such way to make kids addicted to it, so keep theses out of their sight and don’t take it yourself!
There was a time when one of my friend tasted the food I was giving my son and said it tasted so bland, you are making your kid suffer!! I was really furious that day! Kids adapt to what you show and teach them. Just becuase the food taste bland to you doesn’t mean you load it with sugar or salt and give children. People out there actually research and write about this stuff, not create them out of the blue! Study about their physical needs instead of making assumptions! You have lots of resources in this generation to reserach easily! I read that if you introduce healthy foods at a young age to children, they will develop liking towards it and this will inturn help them in their future. Just to get them to fill their stomach in any means dont resort to temporary measures of adding sugar or salt to foods, giving them chips and cola. Later on in life you will have to see them suffer from obesity, diabetis, etc…
Why pay this price for our laziness friends? Taking care of a tiny human life is no kids play. Research well before you do anything After all we all want the best for our babies right?
♥ Abidha Basheer ♥