Tuesday, April 12, 2011

One more reason not to start solids too early...

I saw this article on the HealthyChildren.org website recently.  So in case you haven't been given enough reason to at least wait until 4 months (if not longer) to introduce solids to your kiddo here is another:  Starting Solids too Early May Increase Risks of Obesity.  Yeah...I'd say that's a pretty good reason to hold off.  As always seek advice of your pediatrician when it comes to the care of your kids...including when to start feeding them solid foods.

Can you make homemade baby cereal?

Single grain cereal (ie rice cereal) is generally the first starter food that most parents go with.  Many professional resources also state that foods such as sweet potatoes, avocados and bananas also make great starters.  So although I am not ambitious enough to make baby cereal, it can be done.  Here is a link to a helpful site with instructions on how to go about it if you do decide to go this route.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

When to start solids

I admit it.  I'm preparing and starting this blog prematurely.  My kiddos are only a week over 3 months old.  So I know I won't be introducing solids for at least a month or more.  I also plan on consulting with our pediatrician before making the decision on when to start.  I feel that 4 months is a safe starting age (I plan on starting with rice cereal as a simple and hopefully non-offending choice) but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendation is now to wait until 6 months of age.  AAP like the Starting Solids book also talks about the need for children to start solids by 6 months based on the fact that baby's iron reserves begin to deplete around 6 months of age and introducing solids allow for this to be replaced.  Starting Solids also talks about the 4 to 6 month window being a time when baby is open to experiencing new tastes and textures.  It does state that solids should definitely not be given before 17 weeks (or approximately 4 months) of age.  Starting solids does not help baby eat less often and doesn't get them to sleep better and can in fact cause tummy issues leading to worse sleep.  Baby's digestive system needs to mature and be ready for solids as much as baby does in order to not produce set backs.  So basically take baby's lead on this one and with the advice of your pediatrician work out the appropriate time individually for your child.

So when is baby ready for solids.  Experts say some classic indicators are:

* tongue thrusting reflex is gone or diminished
* baby is able to hold their head up and control movement
* showing interest in the food you eat
* putting or attempting to put objects in their mouth
* baby's birth weight has doubled (or increased greatly)
* baby makes chewing motions

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Baby steps...

I started off my adventure into making baby food for my twin girls with all the prep I could.  I researched online (of course).  There are several websites that provide baby food recipes, ideas and guidelines.  I also asked the advice of baby food veterans I knew.  Here is what I've come to so far: 

This is half the point of making it for me.  Twins equal more food and more expense.  I figure it also means I can make baby food in bulk and not worry about it going to waste (especially if I'm able to freeze it) not to mention convenience (hopefully) and knowing exactly what is going into it.  The advice I got for storage was this...ice cube trays and freezer bags.  Simple enough.  So I'm steering clear of expensive tubs and storage containers unless this method fails me.  

Next I decided to buy a couple of books.  Annabel Karmel is a name that apparently becomes pretty well known in infant and child nutrition circles.  She offers books on how to make baby food and meal planning for children of all ages.  Once we get out of this stage perhaps we'll move onto her other editions.  I ended up going with Starting Solids and Healthy Baby Meal Planner based on the reviews I read.  Be advised to always check with your pediatrician if you are concerned about food allergies and when to introduce certain foods.  Some reviews I read on other books stated that recipes called for such things as honey, strawberries and other things that were inappropriate for the age group.  Also a recipe book isn't really necessary.  Mostly you are steaming or cooking fruits and veggies and then pureeing them with breast milk, water or formula.  As your child ages you change the texture and way you cook things, and add in more and more selection. 

Then it was time for gear.  Where to start?  I was told that a hand blender, small food processor or even a full-size blender would work just fine for my first few months.  Later I would need to add in a food mill or ricer in order to get different textures and mouth feel as my twins aged.  I decided to start with the following:  microwave steamer, a mashing utensil, a Cooks 5-in-1 power blender (thanks to my parents from Christmas...not intended for this use so we'll see how it goes), freezer bags and regular ice cube trays (after some debate over lidded ones and a Wilton silicone brownie pan).
*as a side note I have not tried any of the items that are linked.  I linked them based on the reviews I have read and interest in them myself.  I will review items that I do try during my adventures*