Introducing Solid Foods To Your Baby

Dr. Anna Wolak, MBBS, MCFP, discusses tips on how to introduce solid foods to your baby.

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Dr. Anna Wolak, MBBS, MCFP, discusses tips on how to introduce solid foods to your baby.
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Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Anna Wolak, MBBS, MCFP, Family Doctor

Duration: 3 minutes

For the first six months of life, breastfed babies get what they need from their mother’s milk. If breastfeeding is not an option or is not something that the mother chooses to do, certainly babies will get their nutrition from store-bought, iron-fortified infant formula for the first nine to twelve months of life.

All babies are different, but most babies are ready for solid food at six months of life, give or take a few weeks earlier or later. And you know when your baby is ready for solid food when they see six signs.

The first one is that they are hungrier earlier than usual, and you find that you’re feeding them more milk. The second one is they’re able to sit up and have good control over their neck muscles.

The third one is they’ll actually open their mouth when they see food coming. Fourth one is they will show interest in food; at the dinner table, they’re sitting there and they will look at the food that mom or dad are eating.

The fifth one is they are going to be able to turn their head around and turn their head away if they don’t want food that you offer to them. And finally, if you give them food, they don’t push it out with their tongue immediately, and they can actually keep it in their mouth when you offer them the solid food.

When we do introduce solid food, we want to start with foods that contain iron, and store-bought cereals – the rice cereal, the barley cereal, the oatmeal cereals – are all fortified with iron, so they’re a great food to start off with.

However, we’re now leaning towards introducing table food and food that mom and dad would eat, so we start with the meat, the cooked egg yolk, the cooked legumes – the beans, the chickpeas – and tofu, all very good sources of iron.

Once upon a time, we used to say, “Delay introducing the eggs and the fish,” because we were worried about allergic reactions, but now, studies have shown that this is not the case, and there is no reason to delay the introduction of this iron-rich food, especially if you’re concerned about allergies.

When we look at food that we’re offering your baby, we want to make sure that it’s safe for baby to eat, and by which point we mean how it’s prepared. So, make sure that food is chopped up into small pieces that your baby can swallow or gnaw easily because baby does not have teeth to chop them up smaller yet.

We also want to make sure that we avoid sugary drinks and candies for children. They should not be getting sugary drinks or pop or juice. Make sure that you do not give honey to children under the age of one, because we worry about infant botulism, which is a form of food poisoning.

If you have any concerns about introducing solid food to your baby, whether you’re concerned about starting solids, or what you should feed your baby, or even any questions about allergic reactions, make sure you speak with your health care professional.

Presenter: Dr. Anna Wolak, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.