Tag Archives: Starting solids

Make sure you tell Grandma how things have changed!

As recent as 2000, it was commonly recommended that certain foods should be introduced “late” for infants at high risk for allergy (i.e. wait until one year of age to introduce cow’s milk protein, two years for eggs and three years for peanuts).   Since then, evidence has accumulated that suggests this approach has not decreased the development of allergies but may have actually promoted it.   In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that the evidence did not support delaying solid introduction for allergy protection.

As always, current evidence suggests that more research is needed.   Recommendations from the Canadian Pediatric Society and Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology are summarized below:

-continue to eat milk, egg, peanut or other allergens during pregnancy and while you are breastfeeding

-breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months (total duration may be more important that exclusivity)

-if you have to use formula, choose a hydrolyzed cow’s milk based one.  There is no evidence that choosing a soy based one will prevent allergies

-do not delay the introduction of any specific solid food beyond six months of age, even in infants who have a sibling or a parent with an allergy.  Once you introduce a food, present it regularly. 

Take a read of the current position statement if you’d like.

Otherwise, Caring for Kids has a great Food Allergies and Intolerance Handout.

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Mama’s Helper: Tool for starting solids

I recently came across this new product and totally love it!  In my opinion, it’s far superior to the mesh feeder bags.

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This tool is an alternative to the mesh bags for babies who are early in their eating careers.  Made by “Baby Cubes” and carried locally by Kacz Kids and West Coast Kids.

I love that it has two sizes of inserts, a narrower one with slightly smaller holes for early on, and the wider one for later.  You can put fresh fruit for your babe to munch on without the worry that she will get a big piece off.  I love it with watermelon, berries and even pieces of BBQ’d chicken.  Great for tasting new things, munching, and practicing hand to mouth.  I also love that it is easy to clean. I detest the wet mesh bag you are left with after washing.  I once found mould at the seam when I went to use it… into the garbage it went.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

 

 

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Learning to Eat: The importance of “HARD MUNCHABLES”

It seems that only feeding therapists understand the term “hard munchables” unequivocally.

Our parents offered hard munchables to us without thinking twice.  And they didn’t label them as a food category.  Now, our generation of parents has choking risk drilled into our heads and it seems far too scary to offer a baby hard foods willy nilly.

A “hard munchable” is a food item (stick) that a baby can hold independently and bring to her mouth for gumming and munching  without any risk of a piece breaking off.   The goal is NOT TO EAT the  food, only to explore it.  Babies can experience different tastes and textures without the risk!  Additionally, it helps the tongue learn how to move and strengthens the jaw to support chewing in the future.  It helps to move the gag reflex towards the back of the mouth.  Mouthing toys and hard munchable foods will help your baby learn to accommodate for the size and shape of the incoming object. She needs practice to learn how wide her jaw needs to open and how to move her tongue separately from her jaw.   Who knew drooling and eating toys was such an important stage?!

Hard munchables are ideal  to introduce when your baby:

  • loves to mouth toys independently
  • has had some experience with smooth purees, perhaps thicker purees and venturing into the lumpy realm
  • has trunk and head control to sit on her own or nearly sit on her own

The number of teeth your baby has will certainly  influence your hard munchable choice.  It is ideal when they have little to no teeth.

Hard munchables include things like:

  • raw carrot stick
  • raw celery stick (this will compress and if child has teeth, they may be able to pull shreds off after a prolonged period of munching)
  • beef jerky strip
  • hardened pizza crust
  • rib bone without meat on it
  • Healthy Times Teething Biscuits (I have found any other teething biscuit to break with a minimal amount of pressure.  Healthy Times will become soggy and break into larger pieces after prolonged munching and drooling but are the best commercial biscuit as a hard munchable)
  • Hardened Turkey Bites sausage  (not small pieces, but the whole sausage.  Leave one uncovered to harden)
  • Jicama spears
  • Large pretzel rods (not the skinny tiny ones)
  • frozen pancakes/waffles (these will become soggy as they thaw so watch carefully)

As with any eating, hard munchable practice is safest in a supported position.  Seat your baby on your lap or in a high chair.   Adult supervision is necessary.  Skills can change quickly; one day your baby may not have been able to gnaw a small strip off and after a few weeks of practice she’ll surprise you!

Offer hard munchables in the appropriate developmental stage.  Eventually your baby will be eating these same foods for consumption.  Hard munchables are typically no longer appropriate beyond 12 months, when your child has his/her molars and the jaw strength to bite into these things.

Have fun!

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Choosing your first spoons!

There are a few things to consider when buying spoons for the journey to table foods.  Spoon characteristics are easily overlooked.

Size!  Some spoons are very wide and flat.  Take a look and make sure it will be small enough to fit comfortably in your baby’s mouth.

Shape! Babies need to learn to bring their lips down to meet the spoon and clean the food off.  If the dip in the bowl of the spoon is deep, they will be unsuccessful at removing the food on their own.  Parents tend to “baby bird feed” with a wide spoon, or when a baby doesn’t use their lips to remove the food.  “Baby bird feeding” in when the spoon is tipped up and the food is either dumped in the mouth or scraped off the upper gums.  I shiver every time I see this.  It doesn’t give babies a chance to learn to use their lips!  Start off with a flatter, narrow spoon.  As your baby gains skill, move to a spoon with a deeper dip.

Material!   Spoons can be soft silicone, hard plastic, wood, or metal. Babies may have their own preference.   I tend to prefer the softer, coated spoons for the early days.

A sampling of spoons I like: 

These are have a nice flatter well and are narrow enough to fit in a baby's mouth.  They are also really nice for developing self-feeding spoon skills because the baby can just dip it into a sticky food (greek yogurt, oatmeal etc). It eliminates the need for scooping.

These are have a nice flatter well and are narrow enough to fit in a baby’s mouth. They are also really nice for developing self-feeding spoon skills.  The baby doesn’t need to scoop to get the food on.  He can dip it into a sticky food (greek yogurt, oatmeal, etc) and bring it to his mouth.

Tomee Tippe Spoon: These have a slightly deeper well compared to Playtex but still have one of the narrower styles.

Tomee Tippe Spoon: These have a slightly deeper well compared to Playtex but still have one of the narrower styles on the market.

Mealtime Notions Duo Spoon is a  soft, flexible, bumpy and ridged spoon that is fantastic for oral exploration and dipping. Not meant to facilitate development of self feeding feeding skills but it is a great dipper!

Mealtime Notions Duo Spoon is a soft, flexible, bumpy and ridged spoon that is fantastic for oral exploration and dipping. Not meant to facilitate development of self feeding feeding skills but it is a great dipper!

Munchkin Soft Tip Infant Spoons and First Years Disposable Infant Spoons are also on the narrower side.  Be wary of Nuby.  They tend to be too wide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Others to think carefully about:

Boon squeezable spoon apparatus.  I get the no mess perspective as a mom but the therapist in me thinks that the kids loose out on not getting messy.  Getting messy is a way of learning about the food and becoming comfortable with it before it gets to their mouth!

Boon squeezable spoon apparatus. I get the no mess perspective as a mom but the therapist in me thinks that the kids lose out on not getting messy. Getting messy is a way of learning about the food and becoming comfortable with it before it gets to their mouth!

 The Boon Mod Ware utensil set.  I am not a fan of these as a first spoon as I find the well of the spoon too wide to fit in baby’s mouth nicely.  This doesn’t facilitate the development of lip closure on the spoon.

The Boon Mod Ware utensil set. I am not a fan of these as a first spoon.  I find the well too wide to fit in baby’s mouth nicely. This doesn’t facilitate the development of lip closure on the spoon.

Happy Shopping!

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