to Introduce solids
You should not introduce solids to baby before six month of
Reason: To minimize
the risk of allergic reaction.
This is especially important for parents who have family history
of eczema, food allergies, asthma. My family has no history
of food allergies but being a concerned mother, I was especially
careful on what solids to introduce to my son.
The following are some salient points as to why you should
delay introducing solids to your baby.
“Delay introduction of solid foods.
Mature intestines are better able to screen out potential
allergens and keep them from entering the bloodstream. If
you feed your infant solid foods (especially those containing
protein, such as wheat, soy, and dairy) before the intestinal
lining is mature, food allergens can seep into the bloodstream,
causing baby to build up antibodies to those allergens and
later become allergic to those foods. “ quote from
“ To prevent potentially-allergenic foods from entering
the bloodstream, the maturing intestines secrete IgA , a
protein immunoglobulin that acts like a protective paint,
coating the intestines and preventing the passage of harmful
allergens. In the early months, infant IgA production is
low (although there is lots of IgA in human milk), and it
is easier for potentially-allergenic food molecules to enter
the baby's system. Once food molecules are in the blood,
the immune system may produce antibodies to that food, creating
a food allergy .” quote from Dr
William Sears www.askdrsears.com
Some parents may have problems digesting
the information above. So the following are the explanation
(in my own words) of some “technical” terms.
things that will cause allergies.
Mature intestines and blood stream.
What is the relationship? – Food are
digested by our digestive tract which comprise of the mouth,
esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine and
The food that we swallow is digested (broken down into nutrients
so that it can be absorbed into our body) in the stomach and
small intestine. Once it is broken down into suitable form
it is then absorbed by our small intestine where it enters
the bloodstream. The intestines are the body's filtering system,
screening out potentially harmful substances and letting in
healthy nutrients. Once, the nutrients are in the bloodstream,
the nutrients are then transported to various parts of our
Part of our immune system to fight against infection
Ig A –
One of the 4 type of antibodies.
Food allergies --
Our immune system is supposed to treat any foreign particles
as dangerous. In an allergic reaction, the immune system overreacts
and treats non-harmful particles in this case food particles
as dangerous and thus launch an immune response against the
Good first food to introduce to babies.
Grains: Rice, brown rice, millet. You should
introduce wheat and mixed grain last as they might trigger
an allergic reactions in some babies.
Fruits and vegetables: Avocado, Broccoli,
Banana, Apple, Caixin and Kale, pears and papaya
Fruit Juices: Please note the AAP caution
on introduction of juices to baby. See link
Meat: should be introduced when baby reaches
8 months. In the mean time, you can provide green vegetables
esp caixin and kale as a source of iron.
To minimize the risk of allergies, the following are list
of food that should NOT be introduced before the baby turns
1yr. This is especially so if there is any history of food
allergies in the family:
1. Nuts especially peanuts (avoid this up to 3 years of
2. Egg white
5. cow’s milk
Warning: Some commercial packaged food has hidden
ingredients like eggs and milk. So read the labels carefully.
Till now, I have not found a brand of teething biscuits without
eggs and milk. However, if anyone of you manage to find teething
biscuits without milk and eggs, please inform me.
WHAT EQUIPMENT that you will need.
• Blender. Click
here to see
• Slow rice cooker. Click
here to see
• Chopping board just for baby’s food( use one
for chopping vegetables and one for meat)
• Steamer. Steaming vegetables retains more nutrients
than boiling. Click here to see
• Strainer (for the first few times when you are trying
to prepare baby food, it is good to strain the food to ensure
the food is ultra fine before giving to your baby)
to prepare first foods
My survival guide to preparing solids.
I don’t buy commercially prepared food for my baby.
In my opinion, commercially prepared food might contain preservatives
or other ingredients that might trigger an allergic reaction
in the baby (worse of all, you might not find out what triggered
the reaction) All the food, even the rice cereal my baby eats
As the recipes are endless, I will only include some basic
recipes and tips as to how you can start solids for your baby.
- Preparation of rice, brown
rice, millet cereal or porridge
It is so simple to prepare rice cereal, I do not know why
some parents spend so much many buying plain rice cereal.
Other than the fact that it is economical to prepare your
own rice, there are other added advantages. Commercial packed
rice cereal contains additives and otehr hidden ingredients
some babies might be allergic to which would make it difficult
for parents to identify which food baby is allergic to. You
can use the rice cereal as a base to blend with other food.
Types of rice
Plain rice: I suggest that you start with
this. Although rice allergies are uncommon, they do exist.
Brown rice: Some studies have shown that
it is more nutritious than white rice. But please note that
brown rice may cause constipation in some babies. So make
sure you feed your baby more water with brown rice cereal.
Or you can actually add equal proportion of brown and white
rice. To my knowledge there are two main types of brown
rice grains. The long and short type. The shorter type is
better for making porridge as it gives the porridge a thicker
and chunkier consistency.
Millet: A super nutritious grain that is
high in protein. You can get this from organic stores. As
the millet grain is smaller in size as compared to rice,
you might need to add more water.Click
here to see.
Step 1: Wash the rice
Step 2: Dry the rice. As we are going to
grind the rice into powder it is essential that you remove
all moisture so moulds will not grow.
Tip 1: You can either sun the rice or dry it in
the oven. Check the settings of the oven so as not to burn
Tip 2: Use as little rice as possible otherwise
you will have problem drying it. For the first few times,
try by drying one tablespoon of rice or millet each time.
click here to
see amount of rice use for sunning.
Step 3: Grind the dried rice or millet
into fine powder using the blender. You can keep the powdered
rice up to a week.
Step 4: Boil the powdered rice in water
until the right consistency is achieved. For babies tying
out their first solids, it should be as watery as possible.
here to see powdered rice.
Cooking instructions for making rice porridge
(for 1 meal)
Add one dessertspoon (use for eating rice) of rice powder
with 6 oz of water. You can boil the rice in the slow cooker
or microwave. With this quantity, you can have about 1 and
½ tablespoon (Chinese soup spoon) of rice. Please
note that you will need to add more water for brown rice
as well as millet.
Tip: Add the powdered rice in cool water otherwise
the rice will become lumpy. Millet is more sticky so add
Tip: If I run short of time, I usually use the
microwave to cook the rice.
Tip: Cool the porridge down first before putting
it in the blender with other food.
Preserving the nutrients is a must and this is how
you can do it:
A) Steam or microwave: There are many ways to cook vegetables
but to preserve the nutrients it is important to either steam
or microwave your vegetables. Avoid boiling vegetables as
boiling will results in the lost of nutrients. For example,
water-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin C and B leach into
B) Cut the vegetables or fruits in largest pieces possible
for steaming. As large pieces of vegetable have smaller surface
area compared to smaller pieces of vegetables, this will minimize
the lost of nutrient via oxidation. This way of food preparation
is especially important to fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin
C) Cut the vegetables or fruits in similar sizes to ensure
D) Prepare the solid food only when you need it.
E) If possible, do NOT remove the skin: For some vegetables
like carrots, I would try to leave the skin on during steaming
but you have to make sure that it is washed thoroughly and
you remove the skin as much as possible before blending.
F) Don’t discard the water used for cooking the vegetables
or fruits as it contains lots of nutrients. You can even use
it for pureeing baby’s food.
Step 1: Wash the vegetable or fruits.
You can use detergent meant for washing vegetables.
• Tip: you can actually use baby bottle detergent.
They contain edible vegetable soaps and it is cheaper than
Step 2: Bring the water to boil before
placing the vegetables in the steamer.
Step3: Steam or microwave the vegetables
or fruits. Cook until it is soft.
• Tip: Ensure the cover fits well on the
pot to minimize the escape of steam. Loss of steams impedes
Step 3: blend in the blender with rice.
My favorite fruit is avocado. It is one of the best foods
to start baby with. The best part is that there is no need
to cook it.
Tip: Avocado and rice make blending of other food
To minimize the risk of food poisoning, feed the baby as
soon as the food is prepared and also the leftover food should
not be refrigerated.
Step 1. Cut the meat into small pieces.
For me, once I buy the meat form the market, I slice the
meat into thumb size and put them in small plastic bags
for freezing. It makes thawing easier and safer. With big
amounts, you end up have to thaw and refreeze which is dangerous.
Tip:from my mom-in-law” To make differentiation of
different meat easier, use different colored plastic bags.
Step 2: Steam or microwave the meat. If
your meat is thinly sliced it should be done in 5 minutes.
Ensure that the meat is thoroughly cooked.
Step 3: Blend the meat with porridge until
the meat “disappears”
Tip: To make blending easier, add porridge and
I was quite worried initially that the meat will be too chunky
for my son but to my surprise, the meat really disappeared
into the porridge completely.Click
here to see
to Introduce first foods
• You should introduce a new food one at a time. You
should feed the new food for one week and observe to see any
allergic reaction like rash, eczema, hives, runny nose and
cough (with no fever), stomach pain, fussiness.
I use the 7 days wait rule1. Feed one food for seven days
and wait for any reaction. This is recommended by American
Academy of Pediatricians2.
• Feed the baby the new food early in the morning so
that any discomfort can be detected in the day.
• Feed to baby solids only after breast milk or formula.
It should be noted that giving baby solids at the early stage
is to satisfy their curiosity and not so much for nutritional
value and thus it is essential that babies should take their
staple food first.
• Have a routine. For my son, when I place him on the
high chair he knows it is time for food.
much to introduce
Every baby is different. My son could finish half a bowl
of porridge during his first encounters with solids. So I
would say take the cue from the baby and increase slowly.
Please note that there will be days when the baby can eat
a lot and some days he or she will just refuse to open the
James first food
I use rice and avocado as a food base
Avocado is his favorite food. It makes fantastic first food
as it is soft and easy to prepare as no cooking is required.
Step 1: Boil the rice as mentioned above.
Step 2: Scrap the avocado and congee and blend it..
Tip: Avocado oxidizes (turns brown) very fast so
you have to prepare and feed the baby as soon as possible.
For vegetables, I used hydroponically grown Caixin and kale
For meat, I used Beef (I only introduced this when my son
reach 8 month)
the nutritious rice+avocado+beef+caixin smoothie
Some pointers on nutrition
1. Do not mix milk with food as calcium in milk will affect
the iron absorption from meat and vegetables.
2. Iron should be taken with vitamin C. You should choose
food that is high in vitamin C with meat.
food cube method to store prepared food
With this method, you just take what you need and thaw it
as and when the food is needed.
Some mothers use this method for baby food preparation.
Pros: This method makes food preparation
easier especially when it comes to blending. Moreover, baby
does not eat much initially.
Cons: Although it is convenient, mothers
should be wary of the chance of food poisoning especially
food with meat. This kind of food preparation should only
be used for vegetables, tofu, fruits or rice.
If you intend to use this method, you must observe proper
food hygiene during preparation.
Warning: Freezing DOES NOT kill bacteria.
Don’t assume that frozen food are safe. Do not thaw
baby food more than once.
From a microbiologist point of view, I don’t want
to take the chance, I would rather prepare the food fresh.
More work but it is a lot safer.
To find out more on Food cube method of storing food, read
Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron
Contributed by Jenny Wee, mother
of Baby James
Compiled from the following sources: ·
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