We were thrilled to have partnered with Pediatric Nutritionist, Nicole Silber, RD, CSP, CLC for a one hour long Q & A session dedicated to feeding our little ones. Get the full recap here.
Here are some common questions that were asked and answered relating to infant feeding and starting solids.
My baby just turned 6 months and we just started introducing solids. I’ve heard of baby led weaning. What are the pros and con’s of baby lead weaning v.s. puree as an introduction to solids? Could you do both?
Baby led weaning can be successful, however I am a bit more conservative and I get nervous for choking. I have seen children develop aversions because they are given textures they are not yet ready to handle. There is no disadvantage to starting smooth purees btwn 4-6 months and then advancing to chunkier textures after that and table foods at around 10 months.
How much formula and how much food?
For the first few weeks, treat solids as a sensory experience for your little one. So, they should only be taking in 1-2 tbsp at most at each meal (start with 1 meal 1x per day). You actually don’t want them to begin weaning off of formula/breast milk until their eating skills have developed. So, keep them on the same volume of formula/breast milk for at least a month.
Baby formula is providing all of the nutrition the baby needs (iron included), so when it comes to what foods to introduce the best is to focus on flavor! I think it’s best to start with veggies first which are less sweet. Avocado, sweet potato, carrots and then move to fruits.
You do not need to give iron fortified cereals as first foods because baby is getting iron from formula whereas babies on breast milk need the iron from foods. Also, feel free to add flavor and spice things up to excite baby’s palette! No research to support bland baby foods so feel free to add small dash of cinnamon, nutmeg even cumin to your homemade blends.
Start with 1-2 tbsp 1x per day than go up to 2-4 tbsp 2x per day for a month. 6-8 oz per meal is the amount you should be aiming for when baby turns 1. Once they hit a year and are taking 6-8 oz of table food you can begin to cut their formula towards 16 oz/day.
Are spices and herbs safe for infants?
All spices and herbs are safe for infants, but I would not add any salt, sugar or pepper to their blends. For example, a light sprinkle of garlic and onion powder is safe, as is throwing in some mint or basil leaves to purees while steaming them. Spices/herbs are not a requirement so if you want to start without and then add them in as time goes on that is fine. I see that babies who are given flavor as infants tend to develop more adventurous and less picky palettes!
I’m really struggling to get my 10 month old to be interested in solid food. I’ve tried purée and larger pieces of food in the style of baby led weaning. She doesn’t express too much interest and when she does eat what seems a reasonable amount sometimes she has extreme vomiting. Help!
The vomiting could be from textures that your little one is not ready for. Some babies have very sensitive gag reflexes. Given that your baby is having extreme vomiting, I would consult your pediatrician because it may be a sign that more investigation is needed for possible allergies or his oral/motor and sensory system. Start with completely smooth purees and very small volumes (2-3 tbsp). If she vomits and gags with that I would actually suggest you pursue a feeding evaluation with an SLP/Feeding Therapist who can come in the home and watch her during mealtimes. Some babies have very sensitive gag reflexes, mild delays in their oral-motor system (weak chewing etc) and sensory processing delays that require a little bit of what is called feeding therapy. If you continue to try and she is uncomfortable she may develop an aversion to food, which you want to avoid.
My son is not interested in food at 10.5 months. Are there any nutrients he needs that my breast milk isn’t giving him at this stage?
Breast milk is not giving him enough vitamin D or iron, so he’ll need to get that from food (iron = red meat, iron fortified baby cereal, lentils; vitamin D= yogurt, cheese) but, if he is not eating much food than I recommend a supplement that has vitamin D and iron like Polyvisol with iron.