Before I tell you about Musa’s solid foods experience, I would like to remind you an important thing: please don’t judge the choice made by the other parents in raising their children even though it goes against your beliefs. As some “peace campaign” has been sounded recently, we all know that when it comes to the parenthood, there’s no the most correct way for parenting and every parent, either blood or foster parent, knows the best for his / her own children. Here I’d like to share our opinion as new parents, which is, in many ways, book oriented 😛
I want to say here that, in case of feeding, we’ve been choosing ‘experimental’ path 😀 We welcomed pacifier and bottle for Musa since he was born. Some institutions, including WIC program I’m joining, count both as things not to offer for exclusive breastfeeding (you may say that I’m not exclusively breastfeeding.. it’s fine :P). However, pacifier worked extremely well to soothe our baby. Super helpful for the first two months (after 2 mo, Musa refused to suck on a pacifier and chose his fingers instead :D). Newborn baby has strong instinct in sucking.. all the time! even when his tummy is full, so pacifier is the answer 🙂
Meanwhile, the bottle is necessary for feeding my expressed breast milk and we’ve used it since Musa was three day olds because he got jaundice and I had to boost his intake of milk both from breast milk and formula. Formula milk was given to him only for one and half day at that time, but it meant a lot to solve his poop problem. Alhamdulillah, he’s a very easy baby on this matter. He’d be able to drink milk from the bottle since then.. masha Allah! And we continue giving him bottle-feeding each time we go out. I usually pump my breast milk in the night before or once we arrived home from outing, when the breasts are full because baby isn’t drinking a lot. I’m a happy Mama who doesn’t always need to be bothered for public breastfeeding. Hahaha.. 😉
Time flies.. Musa grew up fast and passed his “newborn age”, then we did another ‘experiment’ (buat anak kok coba-coba? wkwk) by introducing solid foods to him early. Yes, only introduction. It means we were not seriously giving him solids as meal to test his reaction and it was never everyday. We agree to belief that baby should be trained to swallow or at least to taste new sensation of food. His very first encounter to the solid foods was just few days before he’s three month old by licking a little bit of carrot puree :D. During third month of age, such experience of licking fruits / vegetable puree happened to him 3-4 times in total. In the next month, after four month old, the “real meal” has begun.
There is pro and cons regarding giving solid foods to the baby less than 6 month old. The cons side actually isn’t too strict or could be said just “not recommended” advice based on recent studies that it likely causes allergy due to probability that baby’s gut closure has not done before six months. It’s also noted that minimum age to introduce solid foods is at least four month old because baby’s gut doesn’t produce enzymes to aid in digestion until 3-4 months.
In USA, American Academy of Pediatrics limits the foods intake for younger babies to only rice cereal (see picture in the left side), but some references allow fruits and vegetables too. In Japan, starting solid foods since five months is more common as it is written on the guide issued by hospitals (see picture in the right side) or baby food companies over there. In Indonesia, nowadays parents usually feed their babies solids since six months, but old generations, who experienced giving babies solids whenever they want, even in the very young age (NOTE: It’s dangerous and sometimes we can still hear infant death cases due to eating solid foods). They sometimes still have influence to the new generations anyway, especially to the parents who are not updated on new information, they will repeat the way their parents feed them. Formally, Indonesia follows WHO rule in this area (we call it MPASI – Makanan Pendamping ASI / complementary foods to a baby’s diet of breast milk or formula).
Anyway, as I do, whichever guide you follow, check the list of signs below to determine that your baby is ready to start solid foods:
- can control his head and neck in a steady, upright position >> I stop supporting Musa’s neck since 2 mo
- can sit up with support >> Musa still keeps practicing to not tip over when sitting unsupported by the time we introduced solid foods
- seems hungry between regular feeding >> Musa = super hungry baby.. somehow I feel Musa wants to nurse every an hour -_-
- shows interest in food when you eat >> Musa is “mouthing” (move the lips as if eating something) since 2.5 mo.. 😆
Another thing to note before introducing solids earlier than six month is ask your doctor first. We asked Musa’s pediatrician at his four-months check up (at that time he’s 4.5 mo), told her what we’ve done so far, and lucky us.. she gave ‘green light’, even suggested me to spare little veggies for him when cooking. Yey!
Four month old: Hello, bowl and spoon!
Actually, although guides to feed baby between four and six month of age are available, I wasn’t brave enough to give my baby solids too much before six months, whereas in the other sides I’m curious about his interest. I only fed him in a small portion and once for every 3-4 days. Here is my notes about feeding Musa solid foods since four month old:
- single ingredient per serving
- all ingredients are blended with or without water / milk using regular blender into semi-liquid texture like glue
- no more than one tablespoon per serving, even most of the time only one teaspoon (after blended) and Musa wasn’t always be able to finish it
- introducing fruits limited to banana and avocado, vegetables limited to carrot and green peas
- using strainer to refine the puree
- offering drinking after eating >> I usually prepare some extra breast milk in the bottle
In this month, Musa was not only “tasting” by licking, but also really “eating” haha.. the video below illustrates how it went.
To be honest, I was surprised that we can start weaning baby with rice cereal since 4 mo. I knew it for the first time in a baby class I joined when I was about six months pregnant. Why rice cereal? because it’s bland yet nourishing and usually fortified with iron. Basically, what makes solid foods important for baby besides milk is a significant increased need of iron. Look at the following table (based on book “Baby and Child Your Questions Answered ed. 2007“). I hear from friends of mine that some pediatricians prescribe iron supplement for their babies, but Musa only got prescription for consuming vitamin D (breast milk has not enough vitamin D) because iron supplement gives bad side effects such as heartburn or nausea.
|Up to 3 months||530 Cals||13 g||4 g||2 mg|
|3-6 months||700 Cals||13 g||4 g||4 mg|
|6-9 months||800 Cals||14 g||4 g||8 mg|
|9-12 months||1200 Cals||20 g||4 g||9 mg|
Five month old: I want more foods, Mama!
When he’s five month old (by Oct 27, 2015 when this post was published), there are some improvement in his eating such as follows:
- increasing portion per serving until two tablespoon for familiar foods (the foods that are already given in the past)
- puree is thicker like yogurt texture, less liquid, sometimes mashed without adding water or milk
- introducing more fruits: pear, peach, papaya
- introducing more vegetables: sweet potato, butternut squash, broccoli
- training BLW (baby led weaning) with banana, pear, carrot >> BLW actually is a method which is not to be mixed into ‘conventional’ method, so what I talked here is about letting baby eats by himself, or perhaps self-feeding / baby-feeding is the more suitable term
In this stage, I find that website Wholesome Baby Food is very helpful. I haven’t given Musa protein just because I still worry his digestion isn’t ready yet. The first month of trying foods was a success. Musa never spitted out every food we gave. His excrement amount and color were also normal. One day, I stopped giving him foods for three days due to excessive amounts of poop which made his diaper always leaked and his clothes dirty. Yet, we were sure that it wasn’t diarrhea because the frequency was normal, even less than usual, but once he pooped.. eueeeh.. like a boom!!! The texture was unusual, similar to whipped cream :roll:. I suspected sweet potato or pear as the trigger, but it can be other factors.
Time to eat?
So far, I never give my baby solid foods more than once serving per day and the time varies depending on his mood. He still nurses a lot all day long and wakes up for 2-4 feedings at night.
Plan for 6 months and up
After observing my baby’s reactions to foods in the first and second months of tasting solids, these are some plans I wanna apply for his eating journey:
- combining spoon-feeding and baby-feeding method by adapting baby led weaning (BLW) method which gives foods in its whole form / original texture
- separating foods based on food groups (grain, protein, vegetable, fruit, dairy) from the beginning in serving
- purchasing organics as much as we can (it has risk to make my baby weak when he’s not in ideal condition anyway)
- snacking moderately
- encouraging baby to love vegetables and fruits by preparing it in fun shapes
- no salt, sugar, and honey until 1 year old
- making him becomes accustomed to mealtime manners, such as sitting in a high chair / booster seat, wearing bib, washing hands before and after eating, and finishing meals >> currently, he eats wherever we want to feed him 😛
That’s all my sharing.. see you in the next story!