Posted by: Admin | July 14, 2011

Dear LC, do I have to follow a preset order of solid food when I introduce them to my six-month-old baby?

The order in which you introduce solid foods is not important, but you should remember one thing: all through her first six months, your baby’s blood remained rich in iron because of your breastmilk. While breastmilk contains only a small quantity of iron, it is extremely well absorbed (49% of the iron is breastmilk is absorbed vs only 4% in iron-enriched baby artificial milk). When a baby is exclusively breastfed, we do not worry about the iron in her blood until she is six months old, as it takes about that time for her body’s iron stores to start to decrease. The exclusivity of breastfeeding is very important then: when other foods are introduced before six months, they decrease the absorption of the iron in breastmilk.

The first foods given to a baby usually vary according to your culture, but at six months of age, your baby needs iron-rich foods such as iron-fortified whole-grain cereals and baby cereals and meats. Some fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C will increase the absorption of the iron if eaten during the same meal as the iron-rich food (sweet potato has both iron and vitamin C).

It is important to avoid giving young children any foods that contain added sugar, fat or salt. Also, honey should be avoided until the baby is over one year old, as both pasteurized and unpasteurized honey may contain spores of the botulism bacteria. This can make your child very sick.

The rule to follow: introduce one food at a time and wait about three days before adding a new food. This way, if your baby shows signs of allergy or intolerance, it will be easier to identify the cause. If you need more details on solid food introduction, safety measures while eating, symptoms of allergy, or the specific nutritional value of each food, please contact the nutritionist of your local clinic or consult the book Tiny Tots to Toddlers.

Enjoy your meal  🙂

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