What Do I Feed My Baby? Feeding FAQs

19 Mar

One of the primary concerns about parenting a baby if figuring out how to feed him…Parents stress over this stage of life and put way too much pressure on themselves to get it right.  It’s also a very fun stage of growth and development and seeing the ugly faces they make can be very entertaining.

Remember, there are lots of different ways for doing this but this is the information I give my parents with some significant flexibility for their personal desires…

Here are some the most frequently asked questions I get about baby feedings:

When should I start solid feeds?

Pediatricians used to recommend waiting until a baby was 6 months prior to starting solid foods.  The primary reason behind this was a concern that starting solid feedings early could cause children to have more problems with allergies.  However, the studies that have come out most recently put this concern to rest and this doesn’t seem to be a problem.  Because of this, most of my families do start their solid feedings a 4 months.  However, if a family does want to wait, I don’t have a problem with it.  Here’s the way it usually goes…my first time parents are itching to start feeds asap and have usually started before their 4 mo check up.  My parents of 3 usually ask, “Do we really have to start this so soon?”

What food do I feed first?

The standard teaching for the first food is rice cereal but I have begun to recommend either whole wheat or oatmeal for that first feeding.  My thinking is that we are trying to get our teenagers and adults to eat whole grain breads so why is the first food we shove in our baby’s mouth a refined white grain.  You can mix the cereal with breast milk, formula or just water.  If you start to see some problems with thickening of the stool or constipation, you can mix your cereal with pear juice.

Start with the cereal feeds once a day.  This doesn’t really take the place of a formula or breastfeeding but can be given in-between feeds.  Once the baby gets the hang of it, you can increase the feeds to twice a day or start to progress along the other baby foods.

What do I feed next?

Something pureed and thin…I have families that really want me to prescribe for them what food should be next.  Grandparents will tell you that if you give them fruits first they’ll never eat their vegetables, no studies support this.

So, I basically don’t care what you feed first but the main guideline I want you to follow is to only give one new food every 2-3 days.  This way, if the baby is allergic to something, we’ll know exactly what it is.

Some easy things to start with are your sweeter vegetables like sweet potatoes or squash.  These happen to be some of the easier things to make if you plan to make your own food as well.  Stay tuned later this week for a guest post from my wife about making your own baby food.  I’m sure that some of her major points will be how easy it actually is and how much money it can save you.

What do I do after 6 months?

There are 3 basic goals to feeding between 6-12 months…

1) Transitioning to 3 meals a day-you can work towards and begin introduce new meals as you see fit but most children by 1 year will require 3 meals a day and a snack or two

2) Working towards table food-You can begin to place some solid foods that will soften in the mouth between 6-9 months.  Some babies will take this well and some will be slower.  If you try something and it scares you, put it away for a few weeks.

3) Transitioning to a sippy cup-Begin to offer water at 6 months in a sippy cup along with your solid meals.  This gives the baby time to learn to use the sippy cup so that we can dump the bottles completely at 1 year.

What do I do if this doesn’t work?

Remember that most of the feedings at this age are to help with the baby’s development.  Even the best solid food eaters are only getting a small percentage of their overall calories from solid feeds at the beginning.  If the baby has a bad day, it’s not the end of the world…

So, good luck and happy feeding!

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2 Responses to “What Do I Feed My Baby? Feeding FAQs”

  1. Jen July 23, 2013 at 6:16 am #

    I’m a big fan of this website when patients want to talk about rice cereal (admittedly oatmeal isn’t much better): http://www.drgreene.com/whiteout/ I tell parents (whenever they do ask me – I’m an OB and sometimes field these questions!) that avocado thinned with breastmilk/formula is a perfect first food b/c of all the vitamins and minerals – way better than rice/oatmeal. Babyled weaning is great too and makes feeding even more simple for the baby who is into it (and many are). Considering that kids who are formula fed get 30,000 more calories in their first year when compared to breastfed kids – I definitely voice my opinion in support of waiting until 6 mths to start food.

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  1. Top 3 Posts for March 2013 | DoctorJSmith - April 2, 2013

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