If you walked around either Meeker or Rangely this summer in Rio Blanco County you noticed babies galore. There are definitely a lot of little ones around the county this year which is fun, fun, fun. The baby stage is a great time in a child’s life as they are so cute and cuddly and are learning new things every day. This stage can also leave a lot of questions for parents though as they wonder when and how to do a lot of things.
When a baby is born their food choices are pretty limited as a parent either chooses to breastfeed or formula feed or combine both. As they grow though their nutrition needs will change and at some point other foods will start being added into the mix. There are differing opinions on when is the appropriate time to start introducing food to babies. The standard answer that most doctors and books will give is anywhere from 4 to 6 months of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting no sooner then 4 months but leans towards waiting until 6 months of age and stresses that breastmilk is all that a baby needs during the first six months of life. The doctors in Meeker adhere to the AAP’s recommendations and will typically begin mentioning solids at the 4 month well child check giving you the option to wait until 6 months. Also, well known Dr. Sears who appears often on the Dr. Phil Show and the show The Doctors recommends delaying solids until closer to 6 months for many health reasons.
Now, it should be noted that as with everything in life there is no hard and fast rule and different circumstances can cause people to make different decisions. Say for instance that an infant was born prematurely. In this case doctors may recommend you start solids even later then six months of life as their systems may not be ready that soon.
There has been a more recent trend called baby led solids or baby led weaning that some parents are deciding to follow. This program has you waiting until your baby is able to pick up and eat foods on their own and skipping the baby food stage all together. This has a baby starting food usually around 6 months but may be longer depending on the child. As with any baby health decision be sure to let your doctor know of your plans so they can help you succeed in your choices.
There are a wide variety of choices on what foods to start baby on as well. Many doctors recommend starting with rice baby cereal mixed with either formula, breastmilk or water. You can also start them on jars of baby food usually vegetables or fruit first. If you are going with more of the baby led weaning you may want to start with something soft like mashed banana or avocados. Whatever food you choose to start with you will want to start with one food at a time and give it a few days to make sure they have no allergies to that food before introducing a new food. Baby needs very little in each sitting to start with so don’t be surprised if they only eat maybe a tablespoon or so of food at a time.
This is a fun time in a baby’s life and an exciting time for parents. If you have any questions be sure to call your doctor. If you do not have a doctor for your baby yet you can call Meeker Family Health at 970-878-4014 or Rangely Family Medicine at 970-675-2237.