Friday, June 23, 2006

Day 123 - Solid

Today's Tip - Figure out with your pediatrician if you should introduce solid foods

Well, it seems that my son still has to get a handle on solid food. From the look on his face, you'd think we were feeding him lemon juice. Not to mention most of what we gave him ended up on his face and ours. But it was lots of fun and we got him to take a couple swallows before he'd had enough of sitting is his high chair.

After your baby hits four months old, your pediatrician might encourage you to begin introducing solid foods. It's a decision you should make based on your own research and their advice.

The choice to begin introducing solids isn't necessarily based on age, but on physical and developmental signs. Your infant could be ready if:
  • He has good head control and can sit with support
  • He has doubled his birth weight and weighs at least 13 pounds
  • Is still hungry after 8-10 breastfeedings or drinks 32 oz. a day

These aren't hard and fast rules but merely a guide. Once you've made the decision to start feeding your baby solids, get ready for feeding time to get a lot messier. Infants have to learn how to eat, and they'll probably push food out with their toungue, play around with it in their mouth and reach for the spoon to try and touch the food. Once they get the hang of it, they'll recognize the spoon is coming and open their mouth.

A good food to start off with is rice cereal, since it's one of the most hypoallergenic options out there, and because it mixes well with breastmilk. You can find cereals fortified with iron, fiber, calcium and vitamins, like Gerber's Single Grain Rice Cereal for Baby.

Sit your baby in a highchair and prop them up with some pillows if you need to. Make sure he's sitting up straight right in front of you and facing you so he's less likely to choke. Hold the spoon out in front so he can see it and wait for him to pay attention. Let him touch the food and discover the new sensation. Don't rush things. It's OK to talk and comfort your baby, but don't get all crazy and excited to make him think its play time. Let your baby set the pace and set how much he wants to eat. To start with, try putting the food on his lips so he can use his sucking skills.

Mix the rice cereal with some pumped breastmilk or formula for the first feeding. Do 1 tablespoon with 4 tablespoons of breastmilk. Do this once a day. Then, each day, add another tablespoon to the mix until your mixing 4 tablespoons of cereal and milk together.

Pay attention to your baby after he eats. You want to make sure he's not going to have an allergic reaction. If he gets a rash, diarrhea or vomits, stop feeding him and call your pediatrician.

After 3-5 days of giving him a food has gone by without any allergic reactions, you can introduce another kind of single grain cereal, like barley or oatmeal. And once he's OK with those, move on to multi-grains. And so on and so forth, moving through cereal, vegetables, fruit and meat in that order as time progresses. A good rule of thumb is to allow a month in between introducing a new food type.

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