Deciding when is the right time to begin feeding your baby solid food can often be a challenging decision. I personally believe that breast milk remains the very best form of nutrition for babies for at least their first year. However, I understand that this is not always possible for some mothers. If that is the case, I recommend doing everything you can to breastfeed until baby is 6 months old and then begin introducing solid foods. Besides the amazing nutritional benefits of breast milk, it also serves to develop the lining of the colon so that their digestive systems are better equipped to process and assimilate solid food. Breast milk is also revered for its phenomenal immune support during those early developmental stages.
When introducing solid foods, I strongly recommend starting off slowly and cautiously, as their digestive systems are still very sensitive. We have our whole lives to develop a relationship with food so there’s no need to rush this process. I personally considered the first few months of solid foods as practice for the real thing, thereby allowing less attachment to how much or how often baby ate. It’s important that you have fun with it and see it as a journey.
Once you begin preparing baby’s first solid foods, include breast milk in the puree as this helps their body’s to react to it as something familiar. It also aids in the digestion process. Bananas, apples, rice products and sugary fruits are not really appropriate as first foods as they are very binding and also impart very little nutritional value. My daughters first food was Hanelei Poi mixed with breast milk – she loved it. Although it’s a little pricy, it’s super nutritional and easy. Start with very little (2 tablespoons) per meal and pay close attention to baby’s bowel movements. If your baby stops having regular bowel movements (at least one per day), immediately reduce the amount of solid food and increase their breast milk intake until it has stabilized. Always prepare one vegetable at a time and allow 3-5 days before introducing a new one as this will help you ascertain if baby’s having any negative reactions to the food.
Below are a couple of yummy recipes for babies that are already comfortable with a combination of vegetables, as well as a light source of protein. Steamed vegetables are great. I fed these meals to my daughter when she was 9 months old:
• Steamed Potatoes (3); steamed carrots (2); ¾ cup of finely chopped Italian parsley; *Cashew nut butter and breast milk pureed in a blender or Vitamix.
• Steamed Pumpkin; steamed kale (3 leaves); steamed green beans (10); *Almond butter and breast milk pureed in a blender or Vitamix.
Make sure your baby doesn’t have any nut allergies before using nut butters. Always soak the nuts beforehand. I recommend making the butter yourself, using organic oil and no salt. If your baby is allergic to nuts, try making seed butter like sunflower, sesame, pumpkin etc.
Image Credit: mauimama