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November 15, 2020

Feeding Baby : Introduction to Solids & Useful Tools

Raj and I are huge foodies, so it was important for me to expose Amyra to different flavours and textures early, in hopes that in the future she won't be a picky-eater. 

When to Introduce Solids
I introduced solids to her at 6 and a half months, but every baby is different. She was showing interest in food at 5 months, but she wasn't able to sit up by herself, so I was waiting for that to happen before I introduced to her.

Check out this article by Kelly Mom, it outlines things to look for when you are deciding whether your baby is ready for solids. Most health experts suggest to wait till the baby is minimum 6 months old before you start feeding solids.

With any major milestone it is important to do your own research and consult a pediatrician / baby nutrition consultant. I consulted with my sister-in-law Sanchita Daswani who is a baby nutritionist over any questions or concerns I had.


Weaning Shopping Essentials

- Beaba Baby Cook (Steamer & Food Processor in one)
I use the Beaba Baby Cook and absolutely love it! I love that I can just press 1 button and walk away while it steams, and then grind it after in that SAME container. I chose the Beaba Baby Cook because its small and compact but I also really loved the Neo Beaba Baby Cook as it can steam Rice & Pasta too. If you don’t want to buy a dedicated cooker, you can steam food in a basket over a boiling pot or rice cooker, then use a blender or food processor to puree it. 

- Freezer Silicone Tray
When weaning, you can either choose to make fresh food everyday or if you plan on serving the same food for your baby for several days, a great way to store it is using a silicone freezer tray. Silicone Freezer Trays are free from harmful toxins - free bacteria, odour and stain resistant too making them completely safe for your baby. I use the Beaba Freezer Silicone Tray to store Chicken Bone Broth, but you can also use it to store : Breastmilk, Purees, Muffins or Cupcakes.


- Early Soft Spoon
I used this soft, pliable option from ChooMee Baby as Amyra's first spoon, and the Beaba spoon for a firmer option (my current favorite). You’ll want to start each meal with a few spoons since one (or all) will inevitably end up on the floor! 

- Baby Suction Bowls & Plates
It is important for your baby to have their own bowl and spoon to practice feeding themselves. Suction Plates and Bowls are literally the best, as your baby will try and fling the bowl off. I got 3-4 different types of bowls and plates to experiment with. My favourites are; Avanchy Wooden Suction Bowl, Beaba Silicone Dinner Set, Beaba Glasswear Set & Milk it Baby bowl and spoon set. You don't need to have so many, but since I've gotten quite passionate about Amyra's meals I've tried all the options above and all are great in their own respective ways.

- Food Dispensing Spoon for on-the-go
I got the Boon Squirt Dispensing food if I needed to feed Amyra on the go. It dispenses baby food one bite at a time and minimizes mess. It is only great for completely pureed food. I didn't end up using this much as I always chose to feed her at home.


- Sleeved Bibs or Silicone Bibs
Feeding can get MESSY! In order to minimize clean up, you can get the Sleeved Bibs that cover the baby completely. I started using the Silicone Bibs from Milk It Baby to catch the food - I love it and I love how aesthetic it looks too. Now that Amyra is having 3 meals a day, I feel like shes changing 4 times a day which is a lot! Hence why I use the Bumpkins Sleeved Bib for one of the feeds to avoid a complete outfit change for that feed. 

- High Chair
So I really wanted to get the Stokke Tripp Trapp because it has an ergonomic adjustable footrest, looks visually nice, and can “grow” with Amyra as you can use the chair till their 8 years old. I plan to get it when I eventually do make it back to Bahrain, but for now since Im in Hong Kong staying with my parents I wanted an affordable chair as I know once I leave will give it away. I opted for the Ikea High Chair and it was too good for the price and so easy to clean. When I first put Amyra in it she was around 6 and a half months, and it was perfect as she could sit up by then.


Useful Books
- Baby-Led Feeding: A Natural Way to Raise Happy, Independent Eaters
- Annabel Karmel's New Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner 
- Wean in 15 : Up-to-date Advice and 100 Quick Recipes 

Baby Led Weaning (BLW) Vs Spoon Feeding

As a new mom, I kept seeing the acronym “BLW” all over internet, and didn't know what it meant! Basically, baby led weaning is just the concept of letting your child self-feed regular (non pureed) pieces of food at their own pace. It supposedly teaches babies good eating habits, and encourages motor development with chewing and hand dexterity. 

I like the concept of this but I also wanted to know how much Amyra would be really eating too, which is why I decided to go with a combination approach finger foods at the start of each meal, and then spoon feed her the pureed or mashed up foods. Whilst spoon feeding her, I try to encourage her to grip the spoon and help her to guide it in her mouth.



Favourite First Food

I wouldn't say Amyra particularly had a favourite first food, as the flavours were all new and she was reacting to that. It was so exciting and entertaining to watch her eat. I've saved it in on my Instagram story highlights so you can see it there.

I kept food log and re-introduce her to things multiple times if she doesn’t like it on the first try. I mix the offending new food with something she’s already familiar with and loves, and gradually increase the ratio of the new food in the mix.

6-7 months (Stage 1 Weaning)
Broccolli 
Avocado
Butternut Squash
Carrot    
Zucchini
Sweet Potato 
Potato
Pumpkin
Apricot
Apple
Pear
Banana
Beetroot
Beans
Asparagus

7-8 (Stage 2 Weaning - High Allergens & Mixing Combinations) 
Boiled Egg Yolk + Avocado
Banana + Peanut butter /Almond butter / Pistachios 
Apple with Cinnamon
Yellow Lentils
Chicken
Cod Fish + Mixed Herbs
Broccoli + Kale
Avocado + Sesame Seeds
Red Lentils + Sweet Potato
Rice + Bone Broth
Baked Sweet Potato with herbs mashed up
Kiwi
Mango
Baked Cauliflower with Tumeric + Herbs

8 + (Stage 3 Weaning - Adventurous) - saved in Highlights on my Instagram
Salmon with Tomato & Carrot
Chia Seed pudding variations
French Toast with Date Syrup
Poke Bowl
Avocado Toast
Baked Salmon with Cauliflower, Red Pepper & Corn Mash
Spinach, Kale & Peas Puree topped with Sesame Seeds
Cooked Oats or Overnight Oats Variations
Smoothie Bowls variations
Omelette
Avocado Dosa
Apricot & Pear Semolina Pudding
Carrot Cake Oats Fingers
Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Rolls
Yellow Moong Daal
Cod Fish with Kale Pesto Sauce
Beetroot Sushi Balls
Broccoli Poha
Banana Sushi
Apple & Cinammon Wedges
CousCous Cups
Salmon Cakes
Zucchini Fritters
Strawberry Porridge

I found that Amyra was very receptive towards food, it has made me want to be adventurous and want her to explore meals that are healthy and delicious as well. I also believe that it is a myth that baby food needs to be bland. Research suggests that introducing babies to a wide variety of flavours early on will promote greater acceptance of different foods later on. 

Drinking Water
When you start feeding solids, it’s also recommended to start giving your baby a little bit of water to help wash down the food. Many guides suggested to start feeding with an open cup, so I helped her with using the cup in from the Beaba silicone meal set. I ordered the Munchkin 360 sippy cup for her to try and to see whether it gives her more independence as she LOVES water and always tries to chug it.

Bone Broth 
For those who don't know what Bone Broth is, it is made up of simmering bones and connective tissue of animals. I am obsessed with this soup and have been drinking this everyday with lunch and dinner since I delivered Amyra. I offer her, Chicken Bone Broth, Fish Head Soup, Pork Bone Broth, Lamb Bone Broth & Vegetable Broth. When cooking the Non-veg broth, I make sure to incorporate vegetables to.  

Benefits:
- Boosts Immunity - Amino acids in bone broth have been shown to boost immunity.
- Alleviates the common Cold and Bronchitis - provides easily digested nutrition
- Strengthens Bones & Teeth 
- Promotes Weight Loss - consuming soup before a meal promotes weight loss as you end up eating less during the meal itself as your full.
- Improves Hydration - it is known that Bone Broth is actually more hydrating then water alone due to the electrolytes
- Stimulates Collagen

With all these nourishing benefits, I knew I wanted to incorporate it into Amyra's diet as soon as possible. So both of us drink this everyday and she loves it! Chicken Bone Broth recipe is in my Instagram highlights.

Food Allergies 
Talk to your pediatrician, but it seems like most are on board these days with introducing major food allergens early to help lower the risk of allergies. That is, unless you have family history of allergies.  Research shows its best to offer high allergen foods regularly starting 6 months onwards and when your baby is ready. How you can introduce how allergen food is by rubbing a small amount of the food on the inside of your baby's lip as a starting point. If there is no reaction after a few minutes, you can start giving small amounts.

I introduced new allergen foods one at a time, two days apart to easily identify if any foods cause a reaction. Once the allergen was introduced, I keep offering and incorporating it in Amyra's diet at least twice a week to maintain tolerance.


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