FEEDING: A Guide to Introducing Solids

A baby uses iron stored in his body for the first 4-6 months of life.  As he continues to grow, the amount of iron in his body depletes and the iron received from either breast milk or formula is not enough.  As such, it is essential that a new source for iron is introduced, click here for Iron Information.  In addition to the nutrition, introducing solids is will develop jaw and mouth muscles which is a foundation of speech and language development.

Solids are generally introduced at around 4-6 months.  There is plenty of professional information available ranging from online sources such as raisingchildren to your local maternal child health services and your paediatrician.  The following pre-requisites are what I used when Jarrod and I decided to introduce solids to Harvey:

  • Showed strong neck control and can sit upright when supported

  • Shows an interest in food e.g. watching you while you are eating

  • Opens his mouth when offer him with food

*** Remember each baby is different, Let your baby guide you, follow your instincts and if unsure, seek advice from professional.

After spending a significant amount of time researching this topic, here’s a summary of what I think is necessary to know prior to commencing the introduction of solids:

Dos and Don’t

  • Breast milk or infant formula should be continued while introducing solids until at least 12 months of age.

  • Cow’s milk should not be used as the main milk.  A small amount of full fat cow’s milk could be used in mixed babies food (Low fat content milk is not recommended until children is at the age of 2 years old).  Full cream cow’s milk in larger quantities should not be offered until after 12 months of age.

  • Avoid small hard food such as whole nuts and uncooked vegetables until after 3 years old due to potential choking risk

  • Avoid honey & raw eggs before 12 month of age

  • Avoid other drinks except cold boiled tap water

  • Do not add salt, sugar or other additives to baby’s food

  • Try to wean your baby completely from bottle to cup by around 12 months of age to prevent tooth decay

Potential Allergenic Foods

The following food can be introduced at around the age of 6 months as there is no evidence to support that by doing so, the risk of allergies would be reduced.

  • Cow’s milk & dairy products

  • Eggs

  • Wheat

  • Nuts & seeds

  • Fish & Shellfish

*** if you and your family have a history of allergies towards a food, consult your paediatrician prior to commencing. 

Seek advise from your healthcare professional if you have any concern with baby’s eating, growth & developments. ***

Food Textures

Puree and smooth foods are generally the fist food texture stage when you start introducing solids to your baby.  However, it is important to encourage infant to chew a variety of textures as this would help to develops muscles for chewing and speech.  Here’s the guideline for the textures as according to the age ranges [1].

Food Group

According to Australian Guide to Healthy Eating [2], variety of the five main food groups should be consumed on daily basis.  The five main food groups include:

Click here for “Australians Guides to Healthy Eating ” Below is the recommended average daily number [3,4] of serves from each group per age range and serve size.  I will be following this guideline when preparing Harvey’s food according to his age.

No Salt & Sugar

It is recommended that no salt should be added to baby food due to their kidneys are too immature to effectively function with the excessive amount of salt.  The recommend daily salt intake [5] for all ages is as follows:

As for sugar, an excessive amount of sugar may cause tooth decay and the child may be prone to obesity later in life.  The natural sugar present in fruit is ample and sweet enough taste for the little munchkin to enjoy.
A Guide to Baby Feeding [6]

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