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My Pediatric Nutritionists Respond To Your Top Questions

Updated: Aug 23, 2018

Please read the other two baby nutrition posts first:

- Top tips to Introduce baby solids

- Baby solids introductory chart

My Clinical pediatric Nutritionist & Pediatric Gastroenterologist respond to YOUR top 10 questions:

When to start giving animal / vegetable milk?

Starting at a year of age kids CAN (not must) drink milk twice a day, the rest of calories need to come from solids. Non-animal milk is not ideal for kids, they contain few calories but fill up their small bellies, and are made to supplement adults.

*The ideal milk for babies is breastmilk, not animal or vegetable. Humans make milk for a reason and that's to feed the little ones. Animals make milk for their babies.

When and why introduce allergenic foods like eggs, berries and nuts?

Before the year of age. The later, the higher chance for babies to develop BAD allergic reactions. Plus, breastmilk will also help reactions be more mild. So the younger, the more breastmilk they’ll be taking, which will help any reaction that may occur. 

❓ What to do if your baby refuses to eat solids?


- no distractions 

- correct posture

- appropriate schedule 

- adequate food texture 

- spoon is correct / introduced right

Overall, have patience. It can take time / tries for a baby to accept each food, accept their own rhythm. Keep insisting and never give up or try to mix up foods to hide flavors, because generally that’s when they’ll become picky eaters.

❓ Why is best to start solids at 6 months? 

Typically at 6 months (being exclusively breastfed) since they run out of its iron reserves and the calories from milk aren’t enough. But they can start solids between 4-6 months (depending on when they stop breastfeeding or, if they are formula fed, since they'll need more nutrients) if/when they achieve some milestones such as holding the head & sitting up on their own or with slight support.

How to recognize an allergic reaction?

On skin: round spots or redness. Nose: frequent sneezing. On chest: chest whistle or intense cough. Intestines: vomit, diarrhea, poop with small bloody spots.

What are the best foods to start with from each category? And which category is best to start with?

You should start with foods that are high in iron and zinc. Such as Beans, beef, dark leafy vegetables like spinach, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, eggs... The group does not matter, as long as you rotate groups to introduce a new category every three days (as shown on the chart).

❓ When to introduce salt and sugar?

A baby NEVER needs added salt or sugars. Each food needs to be introduced in its pure flavor, until at least until 2 years of age. 

What are the adequate portions and when to increase?

- 6&7 month olds should have 2 spoon bites of each nutritional group (2x5 = 10 total bites).

- 7&8 month olds should have 1/2 cup of each group (x5).

- 8-12 month olds should have 2/3 of a cup of each group (c5).

- 12 months 1 cup of each (x5).

The baby leads: if baby wants more after the first round you, can do another round.

❓ If you are not breastfeeding how do you know how much milk to give them each feeding?

Just like breastfeeding: let them guide you. Each feeding maybe different. As long as you have enough feedings through the day and they are spread around the three meal times (see schedule chart) they can drink as much as they need each feeding. Babies will regulate quantity as they grow. 

❓ What are the best healthy fats?

Avocado, peanut butter, almond butter, olive oil.

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