Transitioning to Solid Foods

Trust your intuition and always error on the side of moderation. A go slow approach is generally best while always maintaining a relaxed environment during feeding times. Choosing a small initial portion and only adding one new food per week is best.

After age 1 year try to keep milk intake under 24ozs per day. This allows your child to have “room” for other foods. A good approach is to aim for 3 or 4 food groups at every meal. Variety is the spice of life. I would consider yogurt to be part of the milk products administered and would decrease the amount of milk given. Solids should be given prior to or in conjunction with milk or water and avoiding sweetened drinks is always best. Milk and water are the best choices. Eat the fruit not drink the juice. This is also a great time to transition to “sippy” cups and eliminate most of the bottles.

When adding new foods always look for GI symptoms such a diarrhea, gas and vomiting or skin rashes. A reaction may take hours or longer to be evident. You know your child best so you are the best person to challenge your child to a new food exposure. Always wait a few days between new food exposures. Most parents wait until 6 months to add fish, peanuts and egg to a child’s diet. New guidelines suggest exposure between 4 and 6 months is safe and may help prevent dangerous food allergies. Always start with a taste and advance slowly. Be cautious about home prepared spinach, green beans, beets, squash and carrots during the first year of life since these vegetables can contain large amounts of nitrates that can lead to anemia. Peas, corn and sweet potatoes are safe choices for home prepared vegetables. Commercially prepared baby foods test for nitrates and are safe. Although the egg yolk is less allergenic than an egg white there is cross contamination so I generally suggest a small amount of scrambled egg being reasonable rather than straining off and discarding the egg white. I also feel a taste of chocolate is reasonable but remember infants have very sensitive taste and new tastes may need to be acquired slowly.

A well balance breakfast should include carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein. A 60/20/20 ratio is reasonable as is frequent small meals since an infant’s stomach is quite small. Rather than counting calories allow your child to tell you how hungry he or she is. When your child slows down allow the meal to end rather than encouraging all prepared food to be eaten. You know your child has been drinking enough when your child’s urine is clear and copious. Remember that vegetables and fruit contain a large amount of water. Do not fear if your child does not seem to be as thirsty as you would expect.

Bon Appetit!