Sunday, November 7, 2010

Starting Solids


        Thing Two is 4 months now and was showing many signs that he was ready for solid foods, and so I decided to try it out. Lets just say HUGE success. He opens his mouth for the spoon, closes his lips around it, and then moves his tongue to swallow it.
          I am going to stick to rice cereal for awhile. Some research suggests that starting a wide variety of foods before 6 months can lead to food allergies, obesity later in life, and a greater risk of diabetes. Rice cereal is very gentle and bland, and is the perfect first food besides breastmilk or formula for a baby.

      It is recommended that a breastfed baby get Vitamin D drops starting at about 3 months of life, as there is only tiny amounts in breastmilk, and babies shouldn't be in the sun for long. The doctor warned me however that Thing Two would throw up the first couple of times we gave it to him until his stomach got use to it. This was another reason that I thought it might be time to start the infant cereal, as Thing Two can get his daily amount through that, and not need harsh Vitamin drops in his stomach.

       So you may be wondering, what are the signs that a baby might be ready for solid foods? Here are some of the things you can look for;

  • Head control. Your baby needs to be able to keep his head in a steady, upright position.
  • Losing the "extrusion reflex." To keep solid food in his mouth and then swallow it, your baby needs to stop using his tongue to push food out of his mouth.
  • Sitting well when supported. Even if he's not quite ready for a highchair, your baby needs to be able to sit upright to swallow well.
  • Chewing motions. Your baby's mouth and tongue develop in sync with his digestive system. To start solids, he should be able to move food to the back of his mouth and swallow. As he learns to swallow efficiently, you may notice less drooling.
  • Significant weight gain. Most babies are ready to eat solids when they've doubled their birth weight (or weigh about 15 pounds) and are at least 4 months old.
  • Growing appetite. He seems hungry — even with eight to ten feedings of breast milk or formula a day.
  • Curiosity about what you're eating. Your baby may begin eyeing your bowl of rice or reaching for a forkful of fettuccine as it travels from your plate to your mouth.
At this age it's best to start the cereal at an almost runny soup consistency. Usually one tablespoon of cereal to three tablespoons of breastmilk or formula is good. As your baby gets use to eating solids you can slowly work your way up to one and one.
Always use breastmilk or formula as your baby still needs those calories.
Breastmilk or formula should still be your babies main food. Starting with solids twice a day, usually once at breakfast and once at dinner is good. As your baby grows and seems more hungry you can add a third serving.
Wait a couple of days in between introducing new foods to make sure your baby doesn't have any bad reactions.

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