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Factors To Consider When Introducing Solids To Your Baby

Jun 28, 2021

 

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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. 

Why is it important to address gut health for babies? 

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:

  • Immune system eg. Baby’s gut health can influence immune tolerance and reduce development of atopy (hay fever, asthma, eczema). 
  • Impact early brain development, mental health outcomes, cognitive programming and development later in life.
  • Metabolic programming
  • Healthy gene expression heading into adulthood.

 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:

  • Mode of birth
  • Skin to skin 
  • Milk feeding
  • Introduction of solids 
  • Medications
  • Supplementation 
  • Environmental factors 

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

 

What factors should be considered when introducing solids? 

When deciding first foods for your baby, consider these factors:

  1. How You can encourage a healthy microbiome and gut development 
  • To avoid leaky gut, food intolerances, immune challenges in later weeks, months & years
  • To enhance nutrient absorption 
  1. How to optimise nutrition to reduce toxicity & support detoxification in your baby
  • By focusing on nutrient dense, pure superfoods with an easy assimilation of nutrients instead nutrient poor “fillers” full of synthetic fortified nutrients. 
  • This reduces exposure to toxins & naturally boosts your baby’s detoxification from toxins in environment out of your control 
  1. How to enhance digestion, absorption & utilisation of food and nutrients for you baby
  • Purposeful sourcing of foods, preparation and cooking methods.
  1. How yo can consider your baby’s wellbeing 
  • Creating a loving, happy meal time experience  

 

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: 

  1. Has good head and neck control
  2. Can sit upright unassisted 
  3. Curiously watching your food from plate to mouth 
  4. Showing interest by reaching out for your food and opening her mouth to mimic eating 
  5. Able to hold onto and close his mouth around a spoon 
  6. Opening his mouth when offered food on a spoon 
  7. Moving food from the front of his mouth, to the back of his tongue. Allowing swallowing from a spoon. 
  8. Free from colic symptoms 
  9. Able to indicate lack of interest by turning her head away or holding her hand up to say no 

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:

  1. Anaphylaxis (swelling of eyes, lips or face, difficulty breathing, pale colour or becomes floppy). This is a medical emergency, call for the ambulance immediately.
  2. Mild reactions. These are still important as they are signs your baby is not ready for this food just yet. Mild reaction could include: 
  • Bowel changes
  • Skin breakouts such as rashes, eczema
  • Hives, welts
  • Excessive crying
  • Irritability
  • Nasal congestion
  • Vomiting
  • Dark circles under eyes 

 Discontinue for a few months before reintroducing.

 

What are examples of important nutrients for a Mumma to ensure are included in baby’s first foods? 

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. 

 

Examples to enhance the absorption of nutrients for their little ones? 

  1. Choose Quality Produce. For example, eggs from chooks that have been raised on pastures and in sunlight will have brighter orange coloured yoks which is an indication richer in fat soluble vitamins such as vit A.
  2. Choose ripe avocados as they contain more lipase to predigest fats. Bananas that are brown spotted are also easier to digest for to their higher amylase enzyme content. 
  3. Add fats to vegetables to enhance absorption of their fat soluble nutrients.  example pumpkin, adding ghee. 

 

What is the next step for supporting you and your baby through solid food introduction?

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.  

Chapters include:

  • The First 1000 Days- how to nurture your baby right from birth. 
  • Mumma Milk Support- ways to support you to initiate breastfeeding, support your healing and supply for baby. Plus options when you decide to wean or your breastmilk supply runs low. 
  • Soothing An Irritable Babyhelping you to address the underlying cause of your baby's irritability and holistic treatment options. 
  • Nourishing Your Little One – including an age appropriate solid food introductory plan to support your baby's gut and immune health.
  • Recipes To Nourish Your Bubba that follow the introductory plan and were created by Nutritionist & Mumma Diana Krinsanski.
  • A Nurturing Environment- addressing how to create an environment to nurture and protect your baby. 
  • Natural Medicine- Foundation supplements for your baby, with baby specific protocols to support your baby. Be equipped with this natural medicine to offer protection against toxins, enhance your baby's natural detoxification processes, prevent illness, overcome health ailments and encourage optimal health in your little one.
  • Specific Supplements To Support You as Mumma, plus other Holistic Health support such as using Essential Oils safely For Your Baby
  • Extensive Resources to support you on your baby Mum journey + special reader discounts. 

You can get a special podcast discount by using code BUBBAHEALTH at ThrivingBubba.Com

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