Starting solids is one of the biggest milestones in your baby’s first year of life. It’s also an exciting time for new parents. You and your baby are about to set off on quite an adventure as you introduce them to a whole new world of flavors! For many parents, introducing solid foods can also be confusing and intimidating. Even though you may be eager to get your baby off to a good culinary start, you may be unsure of how to begin and most parents have a lot of questions.
Ideally, most babies should be started on solids around 6 months of age, when they are developmentally ready. This recommendation stems from the fact that most babies are born with enough iron stores to meet their nutritional needs for approximately their first 6 months of life. After that, your baby’s natural iron stores will be depleted, and they will need to get iron from solid foods (in addition to breast milk or formula). However, each child’s readiness depends on his own rate of development, so don’t rely solely on the calendar!
Complement, Don’t Replace
When you start solid food, it should not be seen as a replacement for breast milk; rather, it should complement it. Breast milk or formula will still be the mainstay of your baby’s diet for their first year. By introducing solids, you are helping your baby get used to the process of chewing and swallowing food, introducing them to new tastes and textures. Don’t worry if it seems like your baby is more interested in playing with their food rather than eating it; as long as you continue breast milk or formula feedings, you can rest assured that your baby is getting the proper nutrition. Slowly, over the course of the next year, you will wean your baby by gradually reducing the breast milk or formula feedings and increasing the solids.
Follow the 3-5 Day Rule
Introduce solid foods one at a time, for 3-5 days; that way, if your baby has an adverse reaction, you’ll be more likely to know which food caused it. You can also note which foods they seem to prefer and which ones they don’t. If your baby makes faces when you offer them a certain food, that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like it. It could just be that it’s new and different, and they need time to get used to it. Be persistent, and offer it again at another time. Research indicates that some babies need multiple exposures to a new taste before they learn to enjoy it. In fact, it can take as many as 10–15 tries before a baby accepts a new food!
Once your baby begins tolerating a few single ingredients, you can start giving food in combinations. This is when you can let your creative side shine, and the fun really begins! Have fun mixing and matching; while you may not necessarily think to combine fruits and vegetables like broccoli, peas and pears, it might just be a combination that your baby loves.
How Much and How Often Should I Feed My Baby?
There’s no mathematical formula to tell you how much food you should feed your baby. Your pediatrician may give you a sample feeding schedule to give you an idea of how much your baby should be eating, but every baby progresses at a different pace—you will need to follow their lead. Start with solids once a day while continuing to breastfeed or give formula. Increase to two solid meals a day and gradually work your way up until you’re giving your baby solids three times a day. Note that this can take a couple of months. By around 8–9 months, most babies will be eating three solid food meals per day. Also, slowly increase the amount of food you give at each feeding. Start with about 1–2 tablespoons of solids at each feeding and increase it over the next couple of months to ¼ cup, and then ½ cup (4 ounces) or more.
Throughout this whole process, it is important to continue to give breast milk or formula between or with feedings. After you introduce solids, babies still need about 24–32 ounces of breast milk or formula a day, divided into 4–5 feedings. While solids provide some nutrients and calories, the small amounts your baby will be starting with aren’t enough to sustain them. Remember, breast milk or formula is still going to be your baby’s primary source of nutrition. The amount of breast milk or formula your baby needs will decrease over time as your baby transitions fully to solids.
Summer is almost here! Soon you will be turning in your sweaters for bathing suits and cover ups. We all love the beach but if you don't prepare, it can quickly turn into temper tantrums, sunburns, and heat cramps!It is important that when planning a day at the beach with your little ones, you have everything you need to keep them safe from the harmful effects of the sun. Dr. Katie Friedman, board certified pediatrician and co-founder of foreverfreckled.com, is going to break down the must-haves for your family beach day.
Sun Protection. This should be every parents #1priority when heading to the beach. UVA and UVB rays not only cause cancer, but sunburns are horribly painful and uncomfortable. Although sunblocks and sticks are imperative, physical barriers such as SPF clothing, umbrellas, and shade are equally as important. Please remember that children under the age of 6 months cannot wear sunblock and if you take your infant to the beach, you must haveshade. I love the portable pop-up cabana. It is perfect for your child'snap and easy to carry and setup! Shade provides only partial protection against UV rays. Without sunscreen or other protection, an infant without protection can still get sunburned. Make sure to apply sunblock 15-30 minutes before getting to the beach and reapply every 45 minutes - 1 hour. Sometimes we can get caught up with building sandcastles and playing in the waves and forget to reapply sunblock. This can lead to serious sunburns and heat illness. An important tip is to set a timer on your phone every hour to remind you it is time to reapply.
Eye Protection- While many parents religiously slather on the sunscreen, very few remember the importance of protecting their child’s eyes. Sunglasses are just as important for a day in the sun as sunblock is. UVA and UVB rays can cause short term and long term damage to your little one’s eyes. I love BÉABA’s line of baby and toddler sunglasses. They have 100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays and are super comfortable. They have an ergonomic wrap around design which helps them to stay on your baby’s head.
Hydration, Hydration, Hydration.A day at the beach should be treated as if your child is participating in a sporting event. Itis recommended that a childdrinks 5 to 9 ounces of water (10 to 18 "gulps") every 20 minutes during activity depending on weight (teenagers should drink more). Younger children should be given water bottles with marks on the sides showing how much they should drink or be told how many "gulps" to drink. Bring a cooler filled with hydrating fruits like watermelon, strawberries, and cantaloupe. It is important to take breaks from the sun and rehydrate.
It’s another busy morning, just like any other, except it’s summertime. You have your satchel packed with all of your most important documents, folders, and your laptop. The diaper bag is full of anything and everything baby could possibly (so you think) and you’re walking out the door. You grab your keys and sitting right next to your keys are your sunglasses. You throw them on and you hit the road.
Your sunglasses are a staple for those summer mornings. They don’t just bring together that perfect outfit, they also help you drive safely and allow you to walk around with your head held high, protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.
So you continue your day, you run errands and walk around enjoying the weather, but baby starts to cry. You try changing, feeding and still the crying does not stop. One possibility is that it’s too bright outside. You don’t go anywhere in the summertime without your shades, but did you know that baby’s eyes are more susceptible to sun damage than your own?
Young eyes receive 3 times more UV exposure than those of adults. This is because babies and children have larger pupils and clearer lenses. Making sure your kids wear sunglasses is more important than just avoiding discomfort, but it could also protect them from skin cancer around their eyes, cataracts, and macular degeneration!
Despite all of these frightening facts, only 29% of parents make sure that their kids wear sunglasses frequently or always.
Protecting your baby’s eyes is as easy as leaving an additional pair of sunglasses next to your keys and throwing them on in the morning. Ensuring that baby wears sunglasses for 30 minutes a day when exposed to the sun can result in 3,000 hours of UV free time! Learn more about how you can protect your baby’s eyes here.