Category Archives: Solid Foods

Introduction to solid foods

If you believe that your baby is ready to begin eating solids, talk to your pediatrician about it. Introducing solids to your baby’s diet is extremely important because this way, he will acquire the nutrients needed for a proper development. You might be wondering what’s the right time to begin, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s around the 6-month mark; however, every child is different, and some are ready before that.

It’s important to introduce solid food when your baby is around 6 months because at this point breast milk no longer provides enough iron, calories, protein, DHA, zinc and fat-soluble vitamins such as folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and vitamin C. These requirements can be found in solid food.

How to introduce the first solid food?

To begin with this new stage, choose the time of day that’s more convenient for you. Preferably, select between breakfast, lunch or dinner time and alternate it as time passes so that your baby gets used to eating solid foods at different times of the day. You want your baby to be in a good mood and hungry enough, but not starving. To make eating solids for the first time smoother, give your baby a little breast milk or formula first. Then try giving him very small spoonfuls of food, and end with more milk. After several days, the process can be reversed to ensure that gradually the nutrients coming from the solid foods are increased until the point that you only provide solids at that specific mealtime.

When you are ready to start, sit your little one in a well supported position. Choose any food you want to begin with, just make sure that it is fully pureed, without any chunks, and it’s not seasoned. You can choose to prepare it at home or buy it. Take one of your baby’s spoons and just fill it halfway. Feed it to your baby and talk to him about it. How is he reacting? It is normal for your baby to show confusion, and he may even refuse the food because this is all completely new to him. Don’t worry about it! Start slowly, with a small spoonful or two. Soon your child will become used to this new way of eating and you can gradually increase the amount of food he receives.

If your baby cries or moves away, don’t forcefully feed him. Return to his previous diet of breast milk or formula for a few days and then try again. The transition to solids is a gradual process where your baby will still be getting most of his nutritional intake from breast milk or formula.

When you introduce solids, remember to try each new food for 3-5 consecutive days to verify that your little one shows no allergic reaction; it’s easier to identify it that way. Alternate food after a few days so your baby doesn’t get used to only one. For example, you can try offering meat for 3 days, cereal for 3 days, vegetable for 3 days, fruit for 3 days, then other kinds of meat for another 3 days and so on until your little one tries a variety of foods.

Picky eaters: tips and tricks to raise an adventurous eater

Have you ever encountered a “picky eater”? This behavior is also known as choosy or fussy eating. It involves rejection to eat new foods, strong food preferences, and eating the same foods over and over again.

Variety is important in our diets, and that includes eating fruits and vegetables. Therefore, knowing the importance of healthy eating, dealing with a picky eater can be pretty frustrating. Mealtimes can become stressfully painful and a parent-child power struggle can arise. Leading you to ask, “What can I do?” Don’t worry, continue reading and we’ll show you simple ways to tweak mealtime and go from fussy to foodie (or at least get your child to try new foods!).

Now, before we begin, it’s important to understand why pickiness arises in the first place. There are different theories surrounding this topic. According to research, the factors that affect choosy eating can include pressure to eat, temperament and personality, sensory sensitivity, genetics, parental feeding styles, and even specific factors such as absence of breastfeeding, and lack of variety or late introduction to different textures. And that is not all, let’s not forget about the “terrible twos”. Toddlers are notorious autonomy seekers. This is actually a good thing because they are learning to become independent, but it can lead to food rejection. This is totally normal, so don’t sweat it. Here are some tips to help you try to solve this pesky problem.

  • Snack attack: According to sociologist and feeding expert Dina Rose PhD, snack time is the best time to help your kiddo learn to eat healthy foods. Rose proposes we rotate fruits, veggies, yogurt, and even crackers or granola bars each day during snack time to add variety and nutrients to their diet and to help them eat less healthy snacks in moderation. This will also allow you to provide exposure to healthy foods – remember that it can take up to 15 exposures to a specific food for your toddler to try or like a certain food.
  • My little chef: Maya Adams MD, avid child nutrition advocate, advices moms to take their children to the farmer’s market or fruit and veggie section of the grocery store and have them help pick out ingredients for delicious meals. This provides a fantastic moment to teach your little ones what apples look and taste like, show them unpeeled oranges, and talk to them about how beets can “paint” a plate. Then, once home, take them with you to the kitchen and get them involved. Have them mix ingredients or toss ingredients into the skillet or blender, and even let them assemble their plate to give them a sense of control.
  • Role model: Studies have shown that toddlers are less likely to eat vegetables if either their mothers did not consume them or they identified their children as being picky eaters. This shows us the importance of modeling healthy eating behavior and not labeling our children. So show your toddler your love of greens and surround him with healthy eaters. Offer him a bite of what you are having or describe the taste. Let him get curious – play with him and set a plate of soft carrots and dip on the side. Who knows, chances are he might try it out!
  • Choices galore: If your toddler does not want to eat strawberries on their own, why not try a smoothie and strain it if necessary. As stated by Dr. Sears, there are lots of ways to help make mealtime more fun and delicious. Offer dips (yogurt, cottage cheese, nut butters) for fruit and veggies. Teach them to spread these same dips on apple slices, toast or crackers. Top food with cheese or guacamole or sprinkle cinnamon onto baked apples. Be creative and let your child “decorate” his food his own way.

Finally, remember to be patient and take introduction to new foods one step at a time. Toddlers are learning to interpret and control their world as they grow, and this might include food rejection. But don’t give in, keep offering a wide variety of healthy choices, set scheduled routines, don’t bargain or bribe with desserts, and get your toddler involved. Remember to make eating fun and keep mealtime stress to a minimum. On the other hand, if you fear your toddler is not growing appropriately or gags and vomits constantly when introduced to a new food, talk to your pediatrician. He will help identify any underlying medical condition or give you a specific feeding plan for your child.

Let us know how these tips work out and keep a look out for more tips and tricks to combat picky eating coming soon in our App!

For further information check out:

Picky/fussy eating in children: Review of definitions, assessment, prevalence and dietary intakes.

Child Nutrition and Cooking Coursera course (its free! All you need to do is sign up)

Prevalence of picky eaters among infants and toddlers and their caregivers’ decisions about offering a new food.

Switching to solid foods: FAQ answered!

Introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet can come with a whole lot of questions and concerns because it’s a big step! Hopefully this information will help guide you through this exciting time!

When can my baby begin eating solid foods?

Experts recommend gradually introducing solid foods when a baby is around 6 months old, depending on each child’s readiness and rate of development. The American Academy of Pediatrics uses these guidelines:

  • Head control – Can your baby hold his head up and sit up in a high chair or feeding seat with good head control?
  • Eagerness – Does your baby seem eager to be fed? Does he open his mouth when food comes his way or does he reach for you food?
  • Weight – Typically, when babies double their birth weight around 4 months, and weigh about 13 pounds or more, they may be ready!

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How to: First aid for choking

Since choking can be a life-threatening emergency, staying calm is essential — and the best way to ensure that you keep your cool is knowing what to do!

Hopefully you will never be in a situation where you’ll have to give first aid to your little one, but babies tend to bring everything into their mouths. This is a normal part of his development and exploration, but also might putting him at an increased risk for choking! At this age, babies tend to choke on food, little toys, and get caught in drawstrings and curtain cords. Basically everything that surrounds them may be life treating!

We give you some tips and steps to follow if you find yourself in this situation.

How do you know that your baby is choking?

Be alert to signs, something may be blocking your child’s airway if your baby …

  • Is suddenly unable to cry or cough
  • Makes odd noises or no sound all while opening his mouth
  • Skin turns bright red or blue

What to do if your baby is choking? Continue reading