Baby massageCommonly babies start on solid foods between 4-6 months of age, when parents notice their child beginning to stare at or reach for food, or perhaps fussing or hungry after a feed. These are all signs that bub is ready to explore the world of solids! Interestingly, research suggests that formula babies are earlier weaners, in many cases studied.
Many parents visit me in clinic for advice on what best to feed their little one through the stages of their growth. Sometimes consults are prompted by initial issues with food responses, such as allergy reactions, skin flare ups or digestive issues.
Recent research suggests that wheat products & other gluten foods should only be introduced from 24 months of age, due to the need for a more developed digestive (and therefore immune) system. The wheat in Australia has a higher gluten content than anywhere in the world. Wheat also tends to be mucous forming, and can present or exacerbate problems in children with excess mucous production.
• Remember it can take 6-10 times for acceptance of a new flavour – persevere!
• Breast or bottle milk should still be given as requested to maintain nutrition intake
• Meal times are a time to ‘play’ and get to know foods, if meals are skipped don’t worry as milk will be ongoing (at least for the first year of life)
• Think colour! Babies are fascinated with colour and you will set up good eating habits later in life. EACH MEAL SHOULD INCLUDE ONE GREEN & ONE OTHER COLOUR (greens are hardest to enjoy, so introduce immediately. If resistant, try orange veg with one bite of greens, then build up regularly)
• Water is given with food for sipping when desired
4 months + Steamed green veg (peas or green beans if formula fed, all other greens if breast fed), orange veg – carrot, squash, sweet potato with milk (breast or formula). Avocado slices, small amount of fruit (not predominant portions to avoid creating the desire for sweetness). Small amount of rice and oats based cereals with milk added.
6 months + Cooked rice, oats, millet, vegetables (always a green with every meal). Strips of chicken, turkey, tofu, cucumber – baby can hold and chew on, play and explore.
8 months + Cooked beans/lentils, egg yolk, red meat, fish, cheeses, yoghurt
12 months + Whole milk, soft cheeses, whole eggs, nuts, honey (from 18 months).  Fruit & vegetable juices should be diluted. Small amount of salt (celtic or himalayan can be introduced)
Obviously there are potentially allergenic foods, which may be more likely if there is a family history. It is important to introduce one new food at a time to allow time to see if a reaction occurs. The most likely to cause reactions are cows milk & dairy products, eggs, peanuts, nuts, wheat, soy, fish & shellfish. Of course the quality of the product will also be a factor, so organic, wholefood versions of all foods is best. Other potentials are berries (except for blueberries and cranberries), chocolate, cinnamon, citrus fruits (acidic), coconut, corn, mustard, peas, pork, strawberries and yeast.
Mikaela is a Naturopath, Nutritionist and BodyTalk practitioner, with a special interest in women, children and babies’ health.