I remember the first food time well.. especially when a first time mum. I don't know why for the life of me that I was so anxious about it, I mean we all need to EAT!
Breastfeeding was easy for me, having a good supply and knowing that when bub needed a drink I had it ready to go, the correct temperature and the right amount. But launching into the solids had me worried what to give, when to give it, how much, would my breast supply go? These are all things that go through our heads.
So when should you start and what?? Well I wish I had known what I know now... my children are now 12 and 14 yrs old and hey they did survive these early years even with me not knowing what on earth I was doing!!
Fast forward to now being a Naturopath I am going to pass on my knowledge to you and hopefully make the journey into first foods a little bit easier.
Here is our first born Harrison with me on the cover of #MotherandBaby I think he would have been about 5 months old here so hadn't actually started the solids yet! But we were getting close.
The digestive system is not ready until 4-6 months of age, I know that your mum in law or friends or a nana or aunty will tell you "oh he/she is ready for solids". Not sure why people do this but you are the mum and you will know. Trust your instincts.
Signs to look out for:
Chewing on fists
Waking in the night when they previously slept through
Wanting extra milk feeds
More interested in what you and the rest of the family are eating!
Do make sure that bub is able to sit upright easily.
Now usually the problems begin when a child is weaned off the breast and begins on formula. That is usually as a Naturopath when I see children in clinic with digestive complaints, constipation and skin rashes.
So let's say your baby is 4 months of age and showing all of the above signs then you are ready to begin. Rice Cereal mixed in with breast milk or formula. You may literally start with a spoon full, I remember Harrison spent most of the time spitting it back out!
For lunch and dinner you can start with any single pureed food with no added sugar or salt (Vegetables first). For example, pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, squash, zucchini, parsnips (you can mix in with a small amount of breast milk or coconut oil). Remember baby has NEVER experienced these flavours before so it will be quite an exciting time for them. Naturopaths recommend the 3 day wait.... so this means its pumpkin for 3 days and if no reaction then move onto the next single vegetable. This is a good rule to follow especially if you or your husband or another sibling have had allergies and other intolerances, best to proceed on the side of caution.
So if your only feeding one food at a time it is easy to see what they have reacted to and on day 4 you can move to the next veggie. If there was a reaction note it down, and take that food out completely, more than likely it can be returned back into the diet down the track.
Pureed/stewed fruit- apricots, peaches, pear and apple are great starters. Fruit naturally has sugar in it so babies always love these ones. With this in mind always give a vegetable before a fruit, as they get a taste for the sugar immediately they may refuse the veggie.
Mashed raw fruits- banana, melon, mangoes, papaya and avocado.
All of these foods mentioned are great first foods with high amounts of vitamins and minerals and fibre which is exactly what we are trying to achieve.
Commonly delayed foods are:
Gluten, Soy, Dairy, Corn, Eggs, Nuts & Seeds, Wheat, Barley and Rye
These ones mentioned can cause reactions, and would be avoided until 6 months of age.
I won't go into the foods after 6 months that can be for another time. Just remember start slowly with only a tablespoon sized portion to begin with.
If you do notice that your bub has had constipation, gas, bloating, mucus, phlegm, excess vomiting, skin complaint do of course see your GP and if it's been ruled out that it is nothing serious then I urge you to invest in #hairtesting. As a Naturopath I can offer hair testing or salvia testing that can help distinguish the foods and formula your baby may be having that simply doesn't agree with them. It helps take the guess work out for you :