It’s Time to Start Your Baby on Pureed Food
Advice on when to begin introducing solid food to babies has changed through the years. Too much advice can be overwhelming and cause a new mom to doubt her own views. Now is the time to use common sense. Your baby needs a more substantial diet at this time.
As I mentioned in my previous post, a twelve-week-old baby is now producing an important enzyme that breaks down starches into sugars. Cells use glucose (sugar) as it’s main energy source. Therefore, the best source of glucose is in the foods we eat.
Although, most adults need to let our liver convert fat cells into energy for our bodies to burn- babies need a fat layer to regulate their temperature. Therefore, providing glucose to cells in the form of pureed foods will give them the extra calories needed for them to keep up with the tremendous growth they experience in their first year of life.
The main thing you should be concerned about when introducing new foods to your baby is an allergic reaction. Reactions can manifest in several different ways in babies such as a skin rash, general fussiness, diarrhea, asthma, eczema or crying.
Watch out for carrots! Although they are not the usual culprits, many babies have a mild skin reaction when first introducing this lovely sweet veggie. Look for little pinkish-red rings on your babies cheeks – that’s the tell-tell sign. If your baby has a reaction to carrots leave them out of the line up for a month or two and reintroduce them again.
Most of my babies had an initial reaction to them and once they were introduced later, the allergic reaction was gone. No problems with carrots to this day.
Reintroduce the Culprit
If you notice a sudden change or symptom, make a note of the offending food and the reaction. Don’t worry too much, most foods that cause a reaction this early (as long as it is mild) will usually not cause a reaction later on when tried again. Introduce the offending food a month later and if no reaction occurs then the baby will be fine with it. But, if there is a second reaction then you can assume he will have a lifetime allergy to that food.
Of course, use caution when it comes to introducing high allergy foods such as peanuts and honey. This is not the time to give those foods to your baby!
*I used a baby spoon for about a week when I first introduced pureed foods to my first baby. Let me warn you, it is super messy. I felt that I was wasting so much food so I found these bottle feeders and used them with my other babies. They are less messy and make the job of feeding the baby so much more efficient.
Introducing Pureed Food
First, let’s cover the best foods to begin with. Rice cereal, applesauce, and bananas are best. Next, introduce vegetables and meat, making sure to mix everything together each time you add in a new food. And don’t forget to make it warm as the baby is used to warm breast milk or a warm bottle.
Giving the baby pureed foods will provide him with food that is already broken down and is ready to be digested by the stomach acids and enzymes. While the baby is still little and not taking very much, purchased baby food is the most economical.
At the 10 AM feeding, after nursing, (if you use formula instead of breastmilk, wait until after you give the baby food as the formula is more filling and he will not take as much food) offer your baby 1/4 tsp of food. Continue offering this same food item in the same amount at 10 AM, 12 PM, and 2 PM for four days.
If no reaction has occurred, go ahead and add a second food (mixing it with the first) following the same pattern over four days to make sure he has no allergic reaction.
Once you have introduced a cereal, vegetable, and a fruit, add in a little meat. As long as you are mixing them all together the baby will be more likely to accept it because it is sweet. No, you are not going to cause your baby to become a sugar addict. As they begin eating actual solid foods, they will have already developed a taste for veggies and meats and you can limit the sweeter items if you choose to do so.
Once the baby is eating more (this only takes a couple of weeks from starting pureed foods), you can puree your own foods which are healthy and will save a lot of money. I call this “baby mush” and I will give you the details to making it in the next post.
If you have any questions or comments, leave them below!