A solid effort

WHEN BABY MOVES ON FROM MILKBy Jayne McIntyre

I woke up one morning last week with great anticipation, as I was about to do something I had never done before – feed AJ ‘big people’ food.

I came prepared with a bib, cleaning cloth, sterilised bowl and spoon, a fresh batch of baby rice cereal and, most importantly, the camera.

But after a few enthusiastic attempts of “here comes the airplane”, I was left slightly deflated.

AJ screwed up his face with disapproval and promptly spat out the rather bland mixture, clearly preferring his ‘milk only’ diet.

I persevered for a few days to get AJ used to the bowl and spoon concept and have since introduced mashed banana with milk, which got a far better reception than the rice cereal. Success.

The introduction of soft, solid food to a baby’s diet is considered an important stage in development, and can help to ensure they are receiving all the vitamins and minerals needed to grow.

Although some health authorities recommend starting solids at six months, babies can begin as early as four months (which is the magic number I adhered to).

Like AJ, some babies may start showing signs that they are ready for solids at an earlier age, such as: increased appetite, interest in food eaten by others and disruption to normal sleeping patterns.

Homemade Baby Food - Carrots

Homemade Baby Food – Carrots (Photo credit: Cascadian Farm)

While mashed banana, avocado and sweet potato along with pureed pear and apple are good experimental foods, it’s important to take note of a few first year no-no’s.

Eggs, cow’s milk, peanuts, soy, tree nuts, fish and honey are among some of the products which shouldn’t be consumed in the first year without paediatrician approval*.

Aside from the likely culprits, other possible allergens could include apples, pears, wheat, carrots or a number of other fruits, vegetables and grains, depending on the individual and associated family history.

This is why it is recommended to introduce one food at a time and trial it for a few days to see if any reactions, such as nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain, swelling or rashes, occur.

It’s a common mantra that “food under one is just for fun”, so make sure baby is getting most of his or her intake from either breast milk or formula before giving solids (i.e. offer food after their usual feed).

Like most things baby-related, these are merely guidelines and it’s ultimately up to the parents to make informed decisions about when to start solids and what their child will consume.

There are a number of pre-packaged baby foods available in the supermarket, with some boasting all-natural ingredients.

While these will no doubt prove handy in the future, for now I will opt for the more affordable option – batch-cooking at home with my new blender.

Banana this week, pear the next; despite the mounting pile of soiled bibs, I seem to be enjoying this milestone more than AJ!

*Information obtained from the Baby Bullet manual

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