Well, it’s my baby’s 2nd birthday on Monday. Not quite sure if I can still call him my “baby”.
At what point does the reference change from “baby” to “son, or child or kid”? If it’s when they turn 2 I don’t think I’m ready. :-)
Here we all are a mere 12 months ago at Carter’s 1st. birthday party.
Oh how excited we were to think he had reached that magical age where we could put away the formula and bring on the cow’s milk!
It seems like just yesterday he was starting on solids and I was researching everything that he should and shouldn’t be eating at each point in time of his precious little existence.
As the baby vs. kid clock has been ticking over the past few months there have been very few baby food rules left to govern his menu.
There is one last criterion that I’m holding onto for dear life…full fat whole milk.
Once Monday arrives, my mission is complete…I’ve reached the summit of the baby food commandments.
He won’t even need to drink full fat whole milk anymore…say it ain’t so!
I suppose I’ll have to rely on all you fellow parents out there with wee ones just starting on your journeys to share stories, concerns and questions with me so I can live vicariously through all of you and hopefully help out some in the process.
All this reminiscing is triggering a walk down “the stages of solid food introduction” memory lane…
Baby, are you ready?
Baby’s 4 month mark is usually the time when they are ready to take on solids beginning with iron fortified rice baby cereal.
The Hospital for Sick Children’s book, “Better Baby Food”, written by Daina Kalnins, RD CNSD and Joanne Saab, RD suggests that baby’s digestive tract is mature enough to digest complex proteins, fats and carbs by 4 months.
This is the age when the majority of babies can sit if supported, and are physically able to swallow non-liquid foods.
Younger babies have an extrusion reflex so they aren’t able to swallow solids.
6 months + -
Solid Food Apprentice
The 6 month mark is very exciting.
Baby is now ready for some new tastes and textures beyond baby cereal and is developing the ability to chew.
This is the time to introduce fruits, veggies and even some proteins as long as the consistency of the meals are a thin, smooth and liquidy puree.
Make sure to try one new food at a time and leave approx. 3 days in between the introduction of the next to watch out for any allergic reactions.
Some great first foods for your Solid Food Apprentice are, bananas, apples, pears, papayas, mangos, peaches, plums and blueberries.
As far as veggies go, begin with all root veggies including carrots, sweet potato, parsnips, rutabaga then go for butternut squash, zucchini, pumpkin, avocado, peas, green beans, broccoli and cauliflower.
Once your apprentice is accomplished with fruits and veggies you can begin adding a protein like chicken or beef to some veggie purees as long as they are minced very tiny and the puree you add them to is still very smooth and liquid.
Foods to avoid at this age include strawberries, raspberries, cow’s milk, egg whites, wheat, citrus, shell fish, pork and nuts due to potential allergic reactions.
It’s best to leave most of the introductions of these foods until 12 + months of age, except for strawberries and wheat which should be fine to try at 8 months, especially if there are no family history of allergic reactions to these foods.
8 Months + -
Solid Food Intermediate
At 8 months baby is ready for a bit more texture in their food.
You can allow more of a thick cream consistency as they become more and more efficient at going through the chewing motions.
You can even add some herbs and spices to get baby used to some of the family favourites so that down the road when they truly join in and share in family meals they enjoy them just as much as you do.
Still stay away from salt…there is no need to add sodium to boost flavour when you can add spices such as cinnamon, cumin or coriander, or herbs like thyme, basil or oregano.
They are also able to experiment with picking up food with their fingers like small pieces of toast, crackers, dry cereal snacks (o’s) and teething biscuits.
Cheese and yogurt are great options for this stage.
Scrambled egg yolks and cheese were my son’s favourite, and still is although he can have the whole egg including the white now.
12 Months + -
Solid Food Professional
The 12 month mark is that magical age when there’s not much that baby can’t eat.
They can now have full fat cow’s milk in place of formula or breast milk.
I can still remember the cheerful celebration my husband and I had at the $ savings of switching from formula to cow’s milk!
The earlier avoided foods can now be introduced such as egg white along with the yolk, and peanut butter on bread or crackers…but I would suggest adding a bit of jam with it so it’s not so sticky and dry making it tough for them to swallow.
If there are nut allergies in the family however, it is recommended to hold off longer.
In this case, you should check with your paediatrician just to be safe.
Baby is getting more and more dextrous and deft at using a spoon and picking up finger food at this stage making meal time a lot more messy for mom and dad, but a heck of a lot more fun for the little one.
At 12 months, baby is well on his/her way to becoming a participating member of the family at the dinner table.
My son got through all these stages with flying colours and now at 2 yrs. would rather have fruits and veggies over some of the more popular toddler fare.
It’s not uncommon to hear “eat some of your pizza and then you can have more carrots” at our dinner table.
Although I’ll miss all the food stages and milestones I suppose we still have many others to look forward to like school Christmas concerts, the first year he believes in Santa and the Easter Bunny,
lots of self-induced hugs and I love you’s and if he’s anything like his big brother Eric, highlight reel glove saves during the big game.
O.K. I feel a bit better now.
Happy Birthday Baby…Son…Child…Kid…Carter!