Starting Solid Foods with Your Infant- Part 2
What you feed your infant will largely be influenced by your family’s dietary selection. Season your food similar to how you would normally eat it. Chances are your baby is already familiar with the flavour in-utero and through breast milk.
If you are making your own baby food, baking and steaming will preserve more nutrient than boiling. Cook organic vege/fruit thoroughly until you can easily mash it with a fork. Dice into very small cubes. Some babies will refuse puree but happily take up chunks of well cooked foods. Your first food introduction need not be more than 2-3 tsp, one meal per day.
There are some foods you should delay introducing, to minimize the risk of your child developing food sensitivities. Unfortunately, food sensitivity is a more frequent occurrence then most parents would like to believe. It is more difficult to remove food sensitivity once it occurs (minimum 6 months of avoiding triggering food, but in reality it may take much longer). Save yourself and your child the hassle, wait until he/she is 18-24 months before introducing dairy, eggs, wheat, other gluten containing grains, soy, strawberries, citrus and/or foods other family members are sensitive to.
The first foods your child tries would ideally be easily digested and absorbed. Foods rich in iron and fiber provide for the rapidly growing body and ensure healthy bowel habit. Introduce only one food at a time and observe for any of the following reactions:
- Redness around the mouth, usually within 1-2 hours after ingestion
- Redness around the anus, usually 12-24 hours after ingestion
- Abdominal bloating and gas
- Irritability, fussiness, over activity, frequent waking through the night
- Increased or more aggressive crying
- Constipation, diarrhea, or foul stool
- Frequent regurgitation
- Nasal and/or chest congestion and runny nose
- Red, chapped, and/or inflamed eczema-like skin anywhere on the body
If you notice any reaction, avoid introducing the offending food for at least 1 month. You may also choose to seek out the expertise of a naturopathic doctor or holistic nutritionist.