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WHEN TO INTRODUCE SOLIDS

Birth to 6 Months, Infant Feeders, Beginning Solids

Birth to 6 months:

It cannot be stressed enough that breastmilk is a whole, complete and perfect food source for the full term, healthy breastfed baby until at least the age of six months.

At about the age of six months, solids can be introduced. If you are wondering what foods and serving sizes your baby needs at a particular age, hopefully this guide will help.

Information on food sensitivities, delaying of solids, etc can be found through the links at the bottom of this section.

Breastmilk should be the baby's primary source of nutrition, for the first year, with solids complimenting the milk diet. This will gradually reverse starting towards the end of the first year, transitioning throughout the second year of life.

Each baby is unique and individual, and will have specific needs of their own, but in general, the info below will help get an idea of what and when to feed your baby. It is also good to remember that at 12 months the baby's stomach will be able to hold about 1 cup or 8 ounces.

A NOTE ABOUT USING INFANT FEEDERS:

Most bf experts and many pediatricians warn against using "infant feeders" to give baby solid foods. Dr William Sears recommends that your finger be a "first spoon", transitioning to a real spoon in the course of introducing solids.

Ruth Yaron, BS, MBA, MS, and auther of "Super Baby Food" book says:

“Although first foods are very liquidy, they should not be fed to your baby through a bottle with an enlarged nipple hole, or with one of those bottle-type infant feeders, which I am surprised are still sold in baby stores. These feeders actually delay learning how to swallow, do not help in desensitizing the gag reflex, and delay the development of other eating skills.

Solid foods should be given to your baby at a time when they are needed both nutritionally and developmentally. Nutritionally, they add calories and nutrients to your baby's milk diet.

Developmentally, eating solid foods helps in the maturation of a new set of muscles in the tongue in order to swallow, which were not used in breast or bottle feeding. Proper development of these muscles help to promote clear speech patterns later in life.

If your baby is not developmentally ready to eat from a spoon, then she is not yet ready for solid foods. When baby eats from a spoon, she starts becoming aware of the process of eating: taking a bite, chewing and swallowing the bite, waiting a moment before taking another bite, and stopping when satiated. Infant feeders do not allow this process and drastically increase the amount of food your baby eats, which may cause problems with overweight and bad eating habits. (The section Mealtimes and Physical and Intellectual Development beginning on page 66 discusses more about the learning that takes place when your baby eats.) "

Some mothers argue that doctors recommend adding baby cereal to bottles of babies with reflux. While it is true that this practice is still popular, there seems to be no hard evidence that it is genuinely helpful. In fact, there is increased risk to the infant by using this method:

"The use of feedings thickened with cereal may reduce the episodes of regurgitant reflux but non-regurgitant reflux and attendant problems may still occur. In fact, respiratory symptoms associated with GER may be worsened by the addition of cereal to infant bottles. Orenstein et al. (1992) found increased cough in infants with respiratory disease who were given thickened feedings. The addition of cereal to formula feedings may decrease gastric emptying time and actually increase episodes of reflux and aspiration."

It seems clear that the healthiest way to offer solids is from a spoon.


How much breastmilk should my baby be getting?

Birth to 2 months - 8 to 12 feedings in 24 hr period

2 - 4 months - 6 - 8 feedings in 24 hr period

It is important to remember that some babies will nurse much more than this, and that's perfectly fine. Solids do tend to replace nursings, so it is suggested that once solids are introduced, to nurse about ONE hour before offering the solids, and then nursing after solids if baby is interested to "top off" the meal.

Beginning Solids

For babies who have begun solids, here are some suggested ideas for each food group - This is just a suggestion; individual babies will eat differing amounts. A serving for infants begins with a tablespoon and increases gradually to about a cup of solid food by around a year:

Milk Products - Food Pyramid suggests 2 - 3 servings from this group a day
(at about 9 months these are often "ok'd" by doctors)

plain yogurt, cottage cheese, soft mild cheese) - 2-4 tbsp daily

Avoid introducing whole cow's milk until baby has reached a year to reduce risk of allergic reaction.

Babies under a year of age should drink either expressed breastmilk or formula, preferably from a cup.


Grain Products - Food Pyramid suggests 6 - 11 servings a day

Iron-fortified cereal - 4-8 tbsp daily

Breads (1/4 to ˝ slice equals a serving), pasta or rice (2 - 4 tablespoons) - 3 servings a day


Vegetables & Fruits - Food Pyramid suggests 3 - 5 servings of Veggies, 2 - 4 servings of fruit daily

Cooked vegetables (especially dark green & yellow) - 2-4 tbsp per serving, at least 2 servings per day

Raw or cooked fruit - 2-4 tbsp per serving - at least 2 servings per day

Fruit juices - Juice should be diluted at first, slowly progressing to undiluted by 10-12 months, with less than 4 oz per day suggested.


Meat & Meat Alternatives - Food Pyramid suggests 2 - 3 servings from this group a day

Meat, Fish, Poultry - 2-4 tbsp - 2 servings (child sized) per day

Egg - 1 egg yolk (Although egg yolks can be added to the diet around 10 months, egg whites or whole eggs should not be given to your baby until the end of the first year. This is because egg whites often cause allergic reactions if introduced too early.)

Legumes - 2-4 tbsp - 2 servings per day as alternative to meat

Offer the solids "in-between" regular nursing times, not in place of them.

Copyright © 2000 - 2006  Jim Yount

Send email to Paula Yount for any questions or comments about this site.

Disclaimer:  The pages contained herein are meant purely for informational purposes and every effort is made to provide accurate and up-to-date information. This information, however, is not meant to take the place of your doctor, nor should the information contained on this web site be considered specific medical advice with respect to any specific person and/or any specific condition. The author, therefore respectfully but specifically disclaims any liability, loss or risk - personal or otherwise - that is, or may be, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from use or application of any of the information provided on this web site.