Starting Solids: When and How to Change Your Baby’s Diet

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    Starting Solids

    Before your kid reaches the age of 5 months, you never have to worry about the issue of starting solids. You must have your diet as balanced and quality as possible. If you have low supply of breast milk or no milk at all, all you have to do is to buy some adaptive baby formula. It doesn’t matter what brand it is or whether it’s an ordinary or so-called special formula (soy, low-lactose, for premature babies etc.). If your baby requires special formula at the age of 5-6 months or younger you just use those formula (the ones that suit you) and don’t experiment.

    So should you start giving your baby solids at 5 months or at 6 months? If there are no problems with growth, development or health, you definitely start at 6. If there are some signs of food allergy and you had to use some special formula, start at 6. If there are issues like poor appetite, unsatisfactory weight gain, low hemoglobin level — you start at 5.

    5-6 months

    06:0007:00 — Breastfeeding/bottlefeeding
    10:0011:00 — Low-fat kefir for babies (150 g) + curd cheese (30 mg)
    14:0015:00 — Breastfeeding/bottlefeeding
    18:0019:00 — Breastfeeding/bottlefeeding
    22:0023:00 — Breastfeeding/bottlefeeding

    Start with fermented dairy products; low-fat kefir will be an optimal choice. The best time is the second feeding. Why fermented dairy? First, because there is no big difference between regular dairy products and fermented dairy products. Second (and this is an important point), because all fermented dairy products in general and kefir in particular contain lactic acid bacteria. Lactic acid bacteria are the enemies of many harmful microorganisms inducing intestinal infections, and they also produce substances that take active part in digestion process and make it easier. What’s more, they reduce the load on liver, which is the weakest and the most tender organ in a baby’s body.

    So what is the way to introduce kefir into your baby’s diet? First, you give your baby 3-4 teaspoons of kefir and then do the regular breastfeeding. You watch your baby and the way his body reacts to the new food product and then, if everything is all right, you make the portion twice bigger; and so on and so forth:

    1st day — 15-20 ml,
    2nd day — 30-40 ml,
    3rd day —60-80 ml,
    4th day — 120-160 ml. During the entire period you always do some additional breastfeeding.

    After you get to the point when you give your baby 150-160 ml of kefir, start adding curd cheese to it:

    1st day — 1 teaspoon,
    2nd day — two teaspoons.

    This way you get to the point when you give your baby 30g of curd cheese (30g for kids of 6 to 8 months old, 50g for kids older than 8 months). As a result, your second feeding will entirely consist of 150 ml of kefir and 30g of curd cheese. This kind of schedule (3-4 breastfeedings, 1 time kefir and curd cheese meal) should be maintained till your baby turns 7 months old.

    7 months

    06:0007:00 — Breastfeeding/bottlefeeding
    10:0011:00 — Low-fat kefir for babies (150 g) + curd cheese (30 mg)
    14:0015:00 — Breastfeeding/bottlefeeding
    18:0019:00 — Breastfeeding/bottlefeeding
    22:0023:00 — Milk & grain porridge (up to 200 ml)

    This is when you start substituting one more breastfeeding with solids; it would be better if it’s the last feeding, before your baby goes to sleep. Now we use milk and grain porridges. There are three kinds of porridges that can be considered to be the best ones at this point: buckwheat, oatmeal and rice. The pattern of introducing the new food product is very much the same:

    1st day — 3-4 teaspoons + breastfeeding/bottlefeeding,
    2nd day — twice the amount of porridge + breastfeeding/bottlefeeding and so on.

    As a result, another feeding will entirely consist of milk and grain porridge.

    You can buy porridge meals for your baby but you can cook them yourself as well. If you do choose to cook one yourself, use flour (rice, buckwheat or oat) but if you can’t find any flour, make it with the help of a coffee-mill. You can use a regular cow milk as a basic solvent; just add some flour and sugar to milk. It’s better if you use milk formula for kids older than 6 months instead of a cow’s milk.

    Porridge recipe:

    Add 10 g (approx. 1.5 teaspoons) of flour of your choice (buckwheat, oat or rice) and 1.5 teaspoons of sugar to 20-30 ml of boiled water of room temperature. Pour the mixture into boiling milk (100 ml), stirring all the time. Let the mixture simmer for 3 minutes. The porridge is ready. Because the amount of sugar depends on your baby’s taste, you may want to add some more.

    Solids

    8 months

    06:0007:00 — Breastfeeding/bottlefeeding
    10:0011:00 — Low-fat kefir for babies (150 g) + curd cheese (30 mg)
    14:0015:00 — Vegetable soup or vegetable puree (up to 200 ml)
    18:0019:00 — Breastfeeding/bottlefeeding
    22:0023:00 — Milk and grain porridge (up to 200 ml)

    Substitute the third feeding with solid foods. The time when you introduce vegetables and fruit into your baby’s diet should be the time when at least your baby’s one tooth appears. If there is one — start giving him veggies. If there are no teeth (which is pretty unlikely), you should wait a bit.

    First, you need to give your baby some vegetable broth: you would want to see the way your child reacts to it. On the first day offer him 30-50 g of broth, on the second one — twice that amount. If everything is ok, it’s all right to start giving your baby vegetable soup or some pureed veggies, and, by gradually increasing the amount of solid food, substitute the breastfeeding/bottlefeeding with it entirely.

    Feed your baby with vegetable meals during 2 or 3 weeks and after that, just like you did before, do the meat test: cook your soup not with water but with meat broth (chicken meat would be perfect). If your baby eats it willingly and there are no issues, add some minced meat to your soup, and in another couple of weeks — a hard-boiled chicken egg yolk (first a half of it, then a bit more). In any case, don’t add more than a half of an egg yolk before your baby turns 12 months old. Now you can increase the amount of curd cheese up to 50 g.

    9-12 months

    06:0007:00 — Breastfeeding/bottlefeeding
    10:0011:00 — Low-fat kefir for babies (150 g) + curd cheese (30 mg)
    14:0015:00 — Vegetable soup or vegetable puree (up to 200 ml)
    18:0019:00 — Breastfeeding/bottlefeeding
    22:0023:00 — Milk & grain porridge (up to 200 ml)

    You can use all kinds of vegetables or meat for cooking soups and purees; just make sure the meat you use is not too fatty. Pureed potatoes with milk and minced meat would be just fine too. After your baby turns 10 months old you can cook your soup using fish broth. Add some egg yolk and vegetable oil to your baby’s food. Milk and grain porridges can be varied too. Add some finely cut fruit to them.

    It is recommended that you breastfeed your baby at least once a day until he turns 12 months old. When your child gets older, it would no longer be necessary. You can give your kid adaptive milk formula once a day till he turns 18 months old or even 2 years old.

    While experimenting and introducing new kinds of foods into your baby’s diet, remember: your main task is to keep your baby healthy, and the older your child is the lesser is the chance to do him harm by this kind of experiments.

    Always be careful with foods of non-native origin (your grandpa or grandma never tried this? Then you should avoid giving it to your baby).

    What do you think of introducing solids into your baby’s diet? What was it like for you and your baby? Remember there are lots of moms out there who can learn from your advice!

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