Starting your baby on solids can be a fun and exciting experience for both you and your baby. The kind mamas of Healthy Baby Hawaii share a few tips to help ease the transition towards feeding your babe tasty, healthful solid food...
How do I know when my baby is ready to start solids?
Most health agencies, such as the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), suggest starting solids around 6 months of age. But a babies readiness for solids is usually on an individual level, no two babies are the same! Some key things to look for before starting are:
• Sit and hold their head up unassisted
• Communicate to you when they are full (closing their mouth or turning away)
• Lost their tongue thrust reflux (stop pushing things out, can swallow)
It’s important to remember to watch your baby and NOT the calendar. Some babies are early to the eating party and some are late, but they’ll all get there eventually! Always consult with your pediatrician.
What food do I feed to my baby first?
Traditionally, in our society, we use rice or oatmeal cereal as a first food for baby. While it is an excellent of iron, easy to digest and low on the allergen list, it’s not necessarily the only option anymore! Certain foods such as banana, avocado, and POI (a local favorite) are now being recognized as great first foods for babies as well. These make amazing first foods because they’re smooth & creamy, lightly sweet, and packed with nutrients. Only YOU can decide what’s best for YOUR baby!
What makes poi the best first food?
Taro/Kalo is high in calories, very easily digestible, naturally hypoallergenic and a great source of iron and calcium. Best of all, it is real food that is minimally processed. It has a mellow flavor and can easily be mixed with breast milk or formula to thin out. You can mix poi in with other introductory solids for an extra nutrient dense blend.
How much food does my baby need?
When you’re transitioning to solids, you’re just introducing new food, not replacing their milk/formula. You’re just getting them started on their exploration of flavors and textures! Which ever food you start with, be it rice cereal or poi, make sure it’s thin and a little runny. If it’s too thick, use a little breastmilk or formula to thin it out. Start out offering “meals” 2 to 3 times a day and use about 1 to 2 tablespoons of food per feeding.
Store Bought Vs. Homemade
Shelved baby food (even organic brands) are intended to have a shelf life of around 2 years. TWO YEARS!!! That’s older than your baby that’s actually eating the food! In order for the foods to be shelf stable they have to go through a rigorous process that requires the food to be heated multiple times at extremely high temperatures. Heating the food to such high temperatures removes most of the nutrients, vitamins, flavor and textures that would naturally occur in that food. Some of the baby food companies then add back in flavor, artificially modifying the taste and adding unnecessary ingredients into your child's food.
When you’re making your own baby food (or buying from Healthy Baby Hawaii *wink wink*) , you will know EXACTLY what you are feeding your keiki. You can also have fun experimenting with flavors and textures that you won’t find in stores.
Making your baby’s every meal can become a bit more tedious and time consuming once they require more solids than milk/formula. And that’s why we’re here!!! We can do all the work for you so you can spend those precious (and few!) extra hours you have lovin’ up on your little ones.
Poi-fect Overnight Oats
1/4 C oats
1 TB chia seeds
1 TB hemp seeds
2 TB poi
1/4 C coconut milk
Agave or coconut nectar, sweeten to taste
1. Bloom chia in separate container with 1TB of coconut milk.
2. Add poi to bottom of mason jar.
3. Add oats.
4. Pour in bloomed chia and press down a bit.
5. Add the rest of the coconut milk.
6. Sprinkle hemp seeds and cinnamon on top.
7. Add sweetener of choice
8. Place in refrigerator over night.
When we take it out in the morning, we like to top ours with fresh papaya, a bit more coconut milk, and granola for a little crunch!
5-minute Papaya Chia Jam
Chia seed jam is a healthy, low-sugar alternative to regular jam. You can whip this up in a couple of minutes and have a delicious healthy jam in your fridge in minutes!
1 jars of 4 oz fruit/veggie puree (We used Papaya)
1 TB chia seeds
1 TB warm water
1 TB coconut nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
Add all ingredients to a bowl, mix well and pour into an airtight container. Place in fridge and let set for 30 mins. Voila!