Yesterday’s Infant Nutrition Workshop with Kristen Yarker of Vitamin K Nutrition Consulting was geared toward babies aged 4-9 months, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn tons of new information that I can use for feeding my 10-month old as well!
Things I didn’t know (or had forgotten) and myths that Kristin debunked for us included the following:
- Signs of readiness for solid foods (usually around 6 months of age) include your baby holding his head up, watching and opening his mouth for the spoon, and not pushing food out of his mouth with his tongue.
- Around 6 months of age, your baby needs more nutrients than he or she gets from breastmilk or formula, especially iron. Food with the highest sources of iron include lentils, beans, meat, tofu, poultry, fish and eggs. All of these can be given to babies right from the start!
- While choking on pieces of food is obviously a serious risk to try to avoid (by making sure pieces of food are small and soft enough), gagging is actually an important reflex for babies to practice and perfectly normal as they begin to try a variety of solid foods (who knew? I always panic when this happens to my daughter).
- Offer foods to your baby multiple times a day, and always let him or her decide how much to eat. The amount of food a baby consumes in one sitting can vary tremendously based on mood, health (colds), stage of teething and plain old hunger (just as it can with drinking breastmilk or formula).
- Purees can be a great way to start introducing solid foods to your baby, but this is not necessary. From as early as 6 months, babies can be fed a variety of foods with a fork-mashed consistency (with much more texture and lumps that I ever would have guessed!).
Up until this workshop, I admit that I hadn’t been giving my 10-month old very much other than purees and a few basic finger foods (mostly avocado and banana chunks, because they’re so soft), nor had I been focusing too much on including iron-rich foods in her diet.
After yesterday’s workshop, I marched out to our local grocery store and picked up a bunch of iron-rich foods, including lentils and salmon. She ate a handful of lentils herself right off her tray for lunch (they were small and easy for her to pick up), and I mashed up another batch & mixed in some pureed pears to feed her with a spoon (she loved it!). Then for dinner I mashed up a piece of salmon into small flakes and made a batch of risotto, and she devoured both foods right off the tray. I’m excited to be branching out from the straight purees (and getting some time to actually eat meals myself while my daughter plays with her food!).
And if you’ve got kids that are a bit older, be sure to register early for one of our other upcoming workshops with Kristen:
- Taste & Texture Transition (9-18 months) on April 24th
- Toddler at the Table (19-36 months) on May 7th