All of these are from my pediatric nutritionist @dra.mafergastropedia
1. Start at 6months, when they don't have more reserves from the placenta, when they sit or hold up right, and, when their gut is ready. Unless your pediatric nutritionist allows before.
2. Babies should try all foods from 6-12months, even allergenic ones (the sooner the better for less allergic reaction, if any)
3. If you are breastfeeding, keep doing so for as long as you can since it will protect them against any bad allergy reactions.
4. Plus, milk will be their key source of nutrients for a while, until they slowly eat more solids and get more nutrients from there, so definitely nursing until at least 12-18 months will help bring as many nutrients, vitamins and antibodies to keep them healthier (my pediatric nutritionist recommends 2 years minimum). Remember that, the older they are the less they will nurse so it does get easier / less time consuming as they grow.
5. Feed 3 times/meals a day to set a schedule from the start. Remember a meal can be a teaspoon or two to begin with, it's not much, with time, meals become bigger too.
6. The last meal should be at least two hours before bed, the latest, to allow proper digestion before bed.
7. Feed the 5 nutritional groups every day: protein, vegetables, fruit, cereals and fats. I’ll show you how in the solid introduction chart!
8. Every time a new food is introduced, it goes first.
9. Each new food is given individually, never mixed, until tried at least 9 times on its own to allow their taste buds to get used to it and avoid picky eating. My pediatric nutritionist also recommends for the first 3 months (until 9 months) to not mix foods if possible, even when they have been tried 9 times individually. Read more about this here.
10. You introduce 1 new food a day except allergenic food, which are introduced every 3 days to make sure they can eat enough of that food exclusively, and catch any allergenic reaction, if any.
11. If they don't like something it is OK. Keep insisting. Their tastes buds get used to it!
12. Food must not contain sugar or salt. Until 2 years old. Their kidneys can't process it.
13. Doing a mix of puree + pieces provides many benefits. Check this post! But remember, the first few months purees will be predominant with about 80% of their food intake being purees, at about 8-9 months both will be 50/50, and at 12months pieces will be 90%.
14. Purees start very liquid and slowly gain consistency to end up with chunky pieces. You can make them more liquid adding water (this way, it does not alter the taste of the food like breast milk would) and, babies need water when they start solids so, it's a good way to start sneaking more water in, since at the very beginning it's hard for them to drink enough and it can cause more constipation.
15. When introducing pieces, they should be soft or steamed so they melt to the touch of your finger touch, until at least 8months, and slowly be less soft too as they grow.
16. Babies set the quantity: stop when they are done! Just like you, they can be more hungry in one meal than other, and one day than other! Start with the new food 1-2 spoons + go to the next group 1-2 spoons + go to the 3rd group 1-2 spoons... and when you are done with group 5 1-2 spoons, if baby still wants more, do another round, until done! This way, it will be balanced.
17. Water should be introduced with solids, offered during meals. Try different sippy cups (never bottle), keep insisting as they take a while to learn how to sip. 2oz of water between meals is an ideal goal at first, and increment it as they gain weight too (+1oz/day per every 2lbs). At the beginning, it's great to offer water from an open cup (hold it yourself), fill it 2/3 so it's easy for them to drink and not spill. Or try providing water from a spoon. This will be the easiest way for them to really drink at first!
18. Feeding them face to face to bond. No other distractions at the table.
19. If you can: eat when they eat, sets an example and makes them engage more.
20. Let them get dirty! Don't clean them with the spoon or a wipe which can cause a negative reaction to their feeding experience: either be done earlier (not because they are not hungry anymore but because they are annoyed/over it) and by letting them get dirty and experiment it allows their brain to develop better, expose censorial development, develop motor skills too, and avoid picky eating as well!
21.No bib, or just a very light weight one, check these approved ones. They should not notice they are wearing one, again, for better experience & movement. 22. The small/flat spoon goes in straight, and they come to "get" the food. Don't force it in their mouth or tilt the spoon up/down to help them. Check out approved spoons here.
23. It does not matter what food group you introduce first (veggies, fruit, etc) what maters is the flavor intensity of the food and the iron/folic acid/omega3/zinc and other vitamin properties of the food that allow and support proper brain development at these early stages!
24. Nursing sessions are at different times than meals. Check out this schedule.
25. All meat, fish & egg should always be very well cooked pieces or puréed
26. All nuts should be introduced as butter or puree, with no additives, never a full peace
27. I have this constipation support handy (non gmo, organic & no preservatives) because they tend to get constipated or have harder stools, so it helps them (when needed) tremendously. Code LAURA15 gets you 15% off!
Yes it may be more work now from 6 months to 12 months, through this introduction/rotation process, but this will help avoid picky eaters (which make it easier to feed them when they become toddlers) and provide them with the best nutrients for their development and neurological connections and an overall better future: give them their health! Less allergies, less illnesses.
For more info make sure to read the other posts