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Are you starting to think about introducing your baby to solid foods as the months pass post birth?
Or perhaps you’ve already embarked on this journey, but confused if you are nourishing your baby with adequate nutrition, or perhaps impacting their gut health.
When it was our turn to start thinking about solid food introductions for our baby, I had my thoughts on the topic and previous recommendations I had given for parent patients in clinic.
But I still continued to research and was continually shocked by the conventional recommendations of solid food introduction.
How could synthetic fortified foods be superior over home prepared foods cooked from whole foods?
Why wasn’t gut health of babies being considered?
What foods naturally contained the highest level & absorption of critical nutrients baby’s require for those health & development? Read or listen on to unpack some important considerations when it comes to introducing solids for your baby, to nourish them with age appropriate foods, support their gut health, immunity and overall long term health at the same time.
The future health of your baby begins with the preconception wellbeing of you (her parents), continues with the maternal nourishment she receives throughout pregnancy, but is also shaped by the environment she is exposed to within her first two-three years of life.
In addition to pregnancy health, the first 2- 3 years of life are a crucial time where microbiome (beneficial bacteria) and intestinal integrity is developing which becomes the foundation for her long-term health.
By encouraging the growth and maturity of her good bacteria throughout this critical period, you will be positively impacting important stages of her growth and development, function of their:
Baby’s Microbiome can also be a predictor to the development of the auto immune condition of coeliac disease - allergy to gluten exists with damage to the small intestine living & subsequent malabsorption if nutrients.
Within these 3 years factors such as:
Each can play a positive or negative role in manipulating your baby’s microbiome and gut health.
Why does this matter?
If we look at the increasing incidence of childhood illness, this is something that needs more focus and its such an opportunistic time, while we have control over majority of bubbas environment to nourish and nurture. It was a motivating reason for writing my book, Thriving Bubba.
When deciding first foods for your baby, consider these factors:
When To Consider Introducing Solid Foods For Your Baby?
Research has shown the time frame for introducing solids to reduce the risk of food allergies to be after 17 weeks, just before 6 months & whilst breastfeeding. However there are some important milestones your baby should be reaching to indicate their physical readyness for solids:
Every bubba is individual. Watch your baby closely and ensure they are showing signs before you start him on his solid food intro journey.
What signs & symptoms should we look out for when introducing solids to little ones?
Firstly, if you introduce new foods one at a time you will be able to pick up potential reactions and know if that food agrees with your baby at that time.
As you go, record foods introduced and how your baby enjoyed / dislikes, how you prepared it and any reactions that may have occurred.
Introduce each new food every 3 -4 days and best in the morning and look out for signs and symptoms of a reaction:
Types Of Reactions:
Discontinue for a few months before reintroducing.
As iron stores in breastmilk drop around 6 months, iron rich foods are required at this age.
Between 7-12 months the RDI of iron is 11mg. Which is high so we need to look at the absorption and availability of iron within food sources.
There are two forms of iron- heme (from animal sources) and non- heme (Plant sources). Heme sources are superior in absorption over non- heme plant sources and iron fortified foods such as rice cereal. Rice cereal is not only low absorption of iron, but also impacts the ability to absorb other important nutrients such as zinc.
Foods that naturally contain iron along with B12, Zinc are meats (slow cooked beef in broth), liver (esp chicken liver) and egg yolks. Eggs also contain choline - crucial for bubba's central nervous system, brain health and cognitive function.
To gain step by step support for what to introduce and when, to nourish your baby and support their gut and immune health, plus overall health, see my baby book, Thriving Bubba.
This is a holistic health guide to protect and support your baby’s health, from newborn and beyond.