Experts give contradictory advice on when
what, and how to offer solid food to your baby. Who do
Chances are that you were given solid
foods way too early, and you may still be suffering from
the effects. Current evidence suggests that most food
allergies and digestive problems stem from the first year
of life, and I'm quite sure that excessively early solids
are connected. Unfortunately some people have heard about
this and gone too far the other way.
Before 3 months of age a baby is
totally unable to digest anything except milk. Anything
else you give him will go straight through him, so don't
waste your time.
If you wait much past 8 months to
introduce your baby to solid foods you will miss a
"window of opportunity". There is a chewing
reflex which hits a peak at 7 months and then subsides.
This is a survival instinct much like the suckling reflex
at birth. It coincides with a babies natural desire to
eat solid food, and if your child sits with you when you
eat, he will probably steal from your plate around this
The wisest mothers let their child tell
them when he is ready, and "go with the flow".
A child who has a chewing reflex, the ability and
inclination to grab a handful of mashed potato and enjoy
Many mothers will tell you that they
are proud of their ability to provide all their child's
needs from breast milk until their baby is a year old or
more. I commend this, but they miss the point of the
first solid foods. They are not designed to replace the
milk nutritionally but to practice on, so that when the
child DOES need to get his nutrition from solid food, he
is able to do so safely.
Babies who are given formula milk
definitely do need other nutrition from about 6 months
onwards, and many babies are simply so hungry that milk
does not satisfy them no matter how often it is given.
Then you will have to step in before they are able to
help themselves, and provide something suitable on a
If your baby, who has previously been
contented with his milk, suddenly starts wanting more
milk, more often, is waking at night more instead of
less, yet seems still fussy after a milk feed, he may
need something more. If your baby is formula fed and
takes more than 8oz of milk at one feed, it is definitely
time to offer solid food.
It is considered normal to offer baby
cereal, known in North America as Pablum, as a first
weaning food. It is totally unnecessary. The
manufacturers claim that it is nutritionally perfect. As
we have established, the object of these first offerings
has nothing to do with nutrition, and everything to do
with keeping it in the mouth, and swallowing it without
choking. By the time your baby is eating a bowlful of
solid food, he will want something far more interesting
than Pablum. I never bought it. Have you tasted
it? I've heard two theories about the effect of the bland
taste, by the way. One is that it causes your baby to eat
far more than he needs, and two is that it encourages him
to desire bland food later on. Neither is desirable.
My children were first offered plain
mashed potato mixed with milk to get the thickness right.
When they were used to this I mixed in a little pureed
carrot. After a while I added pureed green veggies, and
eventually meat. Slowly and gradually is the key. Don't
I couldn't use the jars of baby food. I
tried all the free samples I was given, but none of my
children would ever touch the stuff. I even wrote to
Heinz very frustrated once, when I wanted to take some on
holiday with me to make things easier, but the little
monkey just spat it at me. Heinz told me it was normal
for children raised on home-cooking to dislike the taste
of commercial baby food, so be warned. Frankly this was a
small inconvenience for ending up with six children who
eat anything. I believe that commercial babyfood is the
cause of almost all picky eaters.