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The DOs and DON’Ts of First Foods for your Baby

Bundoo Pediatric Nutritionist
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The DOs and DON’Ts of First Foods for your Baby

Hi Everyone! Join me as I answer your questions about WHAT and HOW to introduce first foods to your baby. From spoon-feeding to baby-led weaning and everything in between (which foods, how much, choking, etc), I will give feedback on your most pressing questions and concerns. I look forward to chatting with you!

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  1. I’m throwing an early question into the chat since I won’t be able to make it this evening, but here’s my question for you Jill! My son turned 6 months today and just 2 days ago we started solids via the baby-led weaning method, which I really theoretically like because I like the idea of feeding my baby real food and letting him take the lead on eating. Twice now, however, he’s had episodes of gagging and throwing up, once with sweet potato and once with banana. It happens when he breaks off a big mushy piece and then doesn’t know what to do with it. I don’t want to give up and do just purees, but I’m also not sure what the next step is – he tries to grab food off our plates so I know he is interested, and he even imitates us chewing! Any ideas??

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    1. Jennifer–it’s pretty normal for babies starting with solid food (in sold form) to gag and even choke–babies don’t know how to eat! At this age, they really only know how to suck and swallow. So…hang in there, take it slow, and make sure food is very soft and mushy–even meltable in the mouth so that baby doesn’t have to chew or work too hard to move it around. Try some very ripe banana, very ripe avocado…and if it happens again, take a day or two off. You don’t want a negative association from choking or gagging to develop. You could also do a combination of spoon feeding and BLW just to make sure you cover those biggie nutrients of iron and zinc!

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      1. Thanks! We dabbed a little banana on a spoon tonight and let him play with it and it worked much better, so we’ll keep trying to see what he likes!

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        1. Great! Getting used to it!

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  2. I just started introducing purées to my 6mo and he’s doing great. We weren’t comfortable starting with rice cereal so went straight to fruits and vegetables with permission from our pediatrician. My question is what are the best grains to introduce to baby and when? I’ve read that holding out on introducing grains may increase a chance of an allergy to wheat?! So many conflicting articles. Thank you for the help.

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    1. Your baby can start with grains now…most commonly at this stage it’s oats, barley and mixed grains–all of them should be fortified with iron, and they are usually pulverized so they digest easily. I would wait on things like quinoa and brown rice until your baby is a bit older and has tried a few foods and tolerates them well.

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      1. Thank you so much for the guidance!

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        1. You bet!

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  3. What can I give my bby first food and what I don’t give him. And when can I start him his juice

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    1. Hi Lory-
      If your baby is 6 months old, you can get started with pureed food such as baby cereal (rice, oats, barley or mixed grain, fortified with iron), fruit or veggies and even pureed meats. Some moms start with whole foods using the Baby Led Weaning approach like banana, avocado, soft, dissolvable breads/puffs, and cooked veggies. Avoid honey, raw food such as sushi, and other foods that can cause choking. Of course, your baby can have juice (preferable diluted) around 6-8 months with a maximum of 4-6 ounces a day. I think these two articles will be helpful to you: http://www.bundoo.com/articles/a-guide-to-starting-finger-foods/ and http://www.bundoo.com/articles/6-dangerous-foods-for-your-baby/

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  4. Ok one more for you – I know the new way of thinking is there’s no need to delay foods that might be at risk for allergy, but what if youve got a sibling with an allergy (my oldest has a peanut allergy) – do the same rules apply?

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    1. No, they don’t. Your child with a peanut allergy makes your other child a higher risk for food allergy development, so currently, best advice is to discuss with your pediatrician or allergist. There was one study recently (LEAP study) that saw a significant reduction in peanut allergy in children who were already sensitive to peanut. Some kids during this study did have a peanut reaction, so the AAP recommends discussing the intro of peanuts in kids who may have a high risk for developing peanut allergy. I wrote about this here: http://jillcastle.com/2015/09/peanut-allergy-guidelines/

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      1. Great, I’ll take a look – thanks!

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  5. My 11 month old likes to eat pretty much anything she can put in her mouth, which makes feeding time easy. My question is related to choking hazards. At about one year old, what size pieces should I cut the food to, and does it matter if its solid or mushy? What about pasta noodles? Finally, her older sister makes her laugh a lot at the dinner table, and I tell her not to because I don’t want her to choke while laughing. Is that a serious threat or am I falling victim to a myth?

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  6. My 9 months old has been a very good eater. She started ‘solid’ food at 6 months and i have been giving her chicken, turkey and beef with other vegetables and fruits and she eat everything like a champ! However, after she turned 9 months (a few days after) she suddenly decided that she hates all food (including the ones she has previously with the same recipe and consistency) and starts gagging it and spitting/vomiting it out. She is still drinking her milk (breastmilk and formula) but somehow 20% less then the normal that she would take. She has not started finger foods yet or yogurt bites because i tried before and it got me scared when she looked like she was about to choke. What can I do with the gagging? and how do i start to introduce finger foods and yogurt bites safely without being concerned about her choking?

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