I often get asked why my son hasn’t started solids yet, or what foods I want to start him on. So in this post, I’ll be going over why we haven’t started solids, when we plan to, and what foods we’ll start with. Enjoy!
WHY WE WAITED
My partner and I decided before Walter was even born that we were going to wait until he showed true signs of food readiness before we gave him anything other than breast milk. There are a thousand and one reasons why parents delay introducing solid into their babies diet. The most simple being babies only need breast milk ( or formula) to thrive. I know, it’s shocking! I’m sure someone’s mother in law just fell out of her seat. Unfortunately today it’s not uncommon for mothers and fathers to be encouraged by their doctor, or family to start solid food long before baby’s digestive system is ready. Introducing solids before baby is ready (especially grains) has been linked to food allergies later on in life. If you have a history of allergies in your family, the longer you wait the better.
WHY WE’LL NEVER GIVE OUR SON BABY CEREAL
We chose not to give our son baby cereals for two main reasons. Number one being that babies can’t digest grains before the age of one, and two because rice cereal has been known to contain arsenic! Parents are often encouraged to give their baby cereal to held them sleep better. There is no scientific evidence that supports that theory, in fact, many recent studies have disproved it altogether. The reason people think it helps babies sleep is because it binds their tummies. The main reason babies wake up at night is to poop. If you give them a bottle filled with cereal, they’ll theoretically sleep longer. Not because their tummy is full, and they’re satisfied but because they’re constipated. As for the arsenic, I won’t go into too much detail about why I don’t want my son eating that. I’m sure most people will agree we shouldn’t be feeding our children a deadly poison. If you’d like to read more about it on your own here is a link to the FDA website.
WHEN WILL WE FEED OUR SON SOLIDS
The short answer is when he’s ready. I know that’s not the answer you guys are looking for so I’ll elaborate. I believe no baby should receive solid food before the age of six months. the AAP even states for optimal health and wellness babies should be breastfed for the first six months of their life. With that being said we obviously weren’t going to feed our son anything other than breast milk before he was six months old. Along with that, we chose to wait until he showed other signs of food readiness. For example:
- A desire for something other than milk. Babies often show a desire to play with food before they are actually ready to eat it. I’ll just take a second to mention my usual disclaimer, of course, every baby is different, use your intuition when it comes to feeding your baby. Your little on may show signs of food readiness long another. Always do what YOU think is best.
- An ability to pick up small objects. I believe it’s important to allow our little ones to feed themselves, in order for them to do so they’ll need to have developed their pincher grasp. This is when baby uses his thumb and forefinger to pick things up.
- The ability to sit on their own. This is extremely important because this skill is needed to allow baby to swallow properly. Wait until your little one can sit on his own for several minutes before introducing solids.
- Last but not least baby should have lost his tongue thrust reflex. This is the reflex that causes a baby to immediately push anything thicker than milk out of their mouth. I’m sure you’ve all seen a mom feeding their baby a jar of baby food and the little one immediately pushes it out of their mouth and mom scoops it up with a spoon and shoves it back in. All for the baby to spit it right back out again. If your little one does this, it may be a sign he isn’t ready for solids yet.
WHAT FOODS WILL WE START WITH
Mostly likely we will start with avocado. Mainly because when it’s ripe is soft enough for Walter to chew without it having to be cooked first. Plus it’s high in fat which is fantastic for brain development. We plan on offering him other soft ripe fruits such as bananas, mango, and peaches. I often hear parents talk about how they are afraid of offering their baby too many sweet fruits, fearing they will only eat sugary foods and no crave the savory taste of vegetables. I’m not worried about this but to debunk this theory let discuss the natural craving for sugar. We are by nature fruit eaters. I know this comes as a surprise to most but just stick with me. Breast milk is naturally sweet, whereas cow’s milk isn’t. This is because humans are designed to have a diet high in sugars (natural sugars of course). Humans thrive in the tropics, where natural tree ripened fruit is the most abundant source of calories. In our natural environment, we would be drawn to fruits because it’s much easier to sit under a mango tree and eat until your heart’s delight than it is the hunt, kill, skin, and eat an animal.
whatever food your choose to start with is up to you. However, I do want to stress the importance of seeking out the highest quality, organic food possible. It is incredibly important to feed our little one’s food free of pesticides and chemicals, not only is it better for their bodies it’s also better for our environment. Shop at farmers markets whenever you can. This is the best way to get organic, nutrient dense foods. Plus you’ll be supporting a local small business 😉
I do want to stress that before the age of one breast milk should be your child’s primary source of calories. I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying “food before one is just for fun.”
However, you choose to feed your child always remember they are a reflection of ourselves. If you want your child to love fruits and vegetables YOU have to love them! One of my favorite bloggers once said “If you are a mom or dad who is trying to feed your kids healthy whole plant foods, and are surrounded by negativity and discouragement to do so, I encourage you to press forward. You are not alone. You will never influence the world by trying to be like it.” -Ellen Fisher.
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