So far we have talked about when and how to start feeding your baby solid foods. Now it's time to talk about how to introduce new food to your little one. Seems simple enough, but between the huge caution doctors give and the major debates on which food to start first it is a wonder that we ever pick up those cute baby spoons to give them their first bites.
Let's break it down, little by little. Then it won't seem so tricky.
Some babies are going to have a serious problem with allergies or reactions to certain foods. It is a total bummer and I feel for those parents who have to deal with food restriction diets at such a young age. I will talk more about extreme food reactions a little later on, but for now I want to talk about minor food allergies that your little one might get when you introduce new food. Whenever you introduce a new food, you have to be on the look out for the signs that the new food didn't sit well with your baby. The signs may include:
- Hives or welts
- Flushed skin or rash
- Face, tongue, or lip swelling
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Coughing or wheezing
- Difficulty breathing
If at any point your baby's reaction to food is severe, immediately call 911 or your pediatrician. For more information on allergies. Don't let this list scare you, the most common are hives, flushed skin or rashes. So relax but keep your eyes peeled for anything unusual.
This is why doctors will always have the feed and wait 1-4 day rule.
My little one showed only a slight reaction to one food - chicken. Which is weird because it is very low on the allergy scale. But I gave her some chicken + pears + carrots one day for lunch and the next day she had a rash on her bum. So I stopped feeding her the chicken but keep with the pears and carrots because I had already introduced these food groups to her and she was fine. After a day or two her bum was back to normal and I waited another couple of weeks to introduce chicken to her again. As you would have guessed, her bum got another rash. So I stopped feeding her the chicken and waited a couple more weeks to introduce it to her. The third time was a charm, she gobbled it up and there wasn't a rash to been seen.
Just because they have a slight reaction at first doesn't mean they will always have a reaction. Sometime their bodies are just not ready for certain types of foods.
Is There a Best Food to Serve First?
There have been some controversial papers and studies done in the last couple of years that say this or that food is better for your baby then anything else and will help them not be a picky eater when they grow up - only feed them vegetables for the first six months, or only start with rice cereal mixed with breast milk/formula, or only avocado and egg yolks. To me, there just isn't enough proof in any of these studies to conform me.
So I have my own theory and approach..
I feel like it is a balanced approach to all the extreme theories and is the eating habits I would love to have implanted onto my little one.
So here it is, my big theory
- First start with lots of fruits and veggies. Color, Color, Color!
- Slowly mix in some protein from naturally raised animals or fish that are hormone and antibiotic free.
- Then sprinkle in some whole grains that are straight from the source, not a box.
Not so tough, right?
The first food I fed my little one was Apples + Cinnamon. I have personally found that since fruit is naturally as sweet as breast milk [it is okay if you think I am crazy for trying my own breast milk, I can live with that] it is easier to introduce then to a fruit rather then a more dense bitter vegetable. Then I would switch from one to another while I was introducing food - a fruit, then a veggie, then a different fruit, veggie, fruit, etc. When she had a handle on those, I would start to mix them together, which is still my favorite way to serve purees. A little sweet mixed with a big serving of veggie nutrition.
Here's a handy graph to show you what I did
Next week - now that your baby is eating solid food they might get constipated. Not pretty but it happens. Easy ways to solve this little problem.
You should note that the content on this page is only my recommendation. I am not a doctor or health care professional. Everything I talk about and believe in comes from hours of research, talking to moms of new babies and my personal experience.