Introducing Your Baby to Solid Food
When we started our first child on solid foods, we were distressed to discover that she was vomiting after each meal. Not enough for us to rush her to a doctor, but more than the usual spit up. It was discouraging and somewhat worrisome. We knew she was ready for solids, but it wasn’t staying down properly.
Lacking a "How to" manual on the subject, we did a bit of research and discovered some common mistakes that new parents make when starting Baby on solid food. Here are a few tips to help your baby make the transition smoother.
Use Distilled or Boiled Water Only
Parents who have had to substitute or supplement breast-feeding with formula learn very quickly not to use tap water to make formula. This is a fast track to Pukes Ville, even if you use filtered water. Parents who never had to deal with formula may not know this. It’s important to always use distilled or boiled water when making formula, instant cereal or when diluting juice.
And, speaking of water ...
It is important to make sure Baby stays hydrated now that solids are being introduced. If your baby won't take water by itself, a small amount of prune juice mixed in will make it more appealing. It also helps keep bowel movements regular and soft enough to pass without causing Baby a butt-load of pain (if you’ll pardon the pun). It’s important to dilute the juice so the sugars and acids don’t cause problems with Baby's tender tummy. Half juice and half water is acceptable, however we've found that a little bit goes a long way for flavour. For our little one, we use 1 part prune juice to 4 parts water as a mix.
Over or Under Feeding
You know how many ounces of breast-milk or formula Baby takes in each feeding, but what does it translate to in terms of solids? Overfeeding or underfeeding can easily happen if you don’t know the ratio of liquid ounces to tablespoons of solid food. Fortunately you don’t need to be a math whiz to calculate what Baby can handle in solids.
For example, our daughter was up to 4 ounces of formula per feeding when we started her on solids. To help with the transition, we decided to keep a liquid component in her meals with solid foods. What we found worked best for her is:
- 1 ounce of juice (diluted with water);
- 2 ounces of formula; and
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of solid food.
3. Order of Digestion
The order we eat our food in is a big factor in how well we digest. Food transit times can play a big role in how well Baby keeps down a meal when including juice and milk/formula with solid food meals or giving Baby more than one course. Here’s a quick breakdown from quickest to slowest to digest:
- Fruit & berries;
- Low starch veggies;
- Starchy veggies;
- Meats & fish.
For example, we give our daughter one tablespoon of veggies or a veggie & meat mix and one tablespoon of a fruit or fruit “dessert”. So, her meals go like this:
- Fruit course; then
- Veggie course.
The Power the Information
These simple bits of knowledge can be mighty powerful when it comes to feeding time. Once we made a few minor adjustments to our daughter’s mealtime, and voilà! No more tummy troubles or excessive spitting up after meals.
This information is not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional. If your child is reacting badly to foods, vomiting excessively or showing any other signs of illness, consult a medical professional at once.
Those living in Ontario, Canada can call Telehealth Ontario for free medical advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by dialling toll-free: 1-866-797-0000.
© 2012 Rosa Marchisella