Our Scoop on Starting Solids blog series kicks off today with two questions from readers pertaining to introducing solids and cooking with spices. I’ve enlisted the help of one of our favorite guest bloggers, Dr. Julia Getzelman, founder of GetzWell Pediatrics, to provide her perspective on these topics.
A reminder to all readers – submit your baby food-related questions by posting a comment on our Great Baby Food Giveaway blog, and if we feature your question, you win a free pack of baby food from Little City Kitchen Co.!
Question from Lisa M: I have heard conflicting opinions on when the best time to start solid foods really is – is it early or is it later? I think this relates to allergies. So I am trying to understand what solid foods to start in addition to breast milk and when.
Dr G: My belief, and the research is beginning to support this, is that babies are good at deciding when they are ready to begin eating solids. Sometime between 4 and 6 months most infants will become interested in food. They will watch intently as mother eats, get excited when they smell food cooking, and may even mimic chewing as they observe others at meals.
When you see these signs, you may begin feeding your baby. A minority of babies won’t be interested in solid foods until later than 6 months and in those cases should continue to breast feed until they are ready.
Feeding should be a fun process of introducing solids to your baby. You may begin with any vegetable (or combination of vegetables—think lots of different colors!), steamed, pureed, and combined with a little breast milk or formula to get to a smoothie-type consistency. The first few times a baby eats, he/she may make funny faces, and may only take a bite or two of what you have prepared. Don’t let this discourage you. Just forge ahead and continue offering healthy, organic vegetables to which you might consider adding a little olive oil and fresh herbs. Most babies like flavor as much as we do!
Question from Jen A: I am curious about adding spices to my baby’s food, but I am worried that not all are safe for him. Are there some spices that I should avoid?
Dr. G: Spices contain important antioxidants and other benefits, and babies like flavor. The more variety you provide to your baby from the get-go, the more adventurous eater your baby will be in the long run. Other than salt, there is no spice, that your baby may not try. And keep in mind that a funny face doesn’t mean a rejection. Furthermore, some babies/kids need to try a certain flavor over a dozen times before liking it. So don’t give up!
Julia Getzelman is the founder of GetzWell Pediatrics, and is the only board certified, primary care, integrative pediatrician based in San Francisco. For more information on GetzWell Pediatrics, check out their website here.
Join Little City Kitchen Co. and GetzWell Pediatrics for free workshops at the San Francisco Birth & Baby Fair on Saturday, June 25th. Dr. Getzelman will be leading a Vaccines Q&A, and Jill will be leading a cooking demo for parents wishing to make their own organic baby food.