Babies and solids: What I learned as a first-time mum

The Young Mummy Sophie Cachia talks about her "constant doubt" as a parent and the mixed advice she got about solids.

You grow into your role as a parent, but the constant doubt and questioning never seems to go away.

I’ve just gone through what I call the ‘ugly newborn’ stage - those first 12 weeks of complete uncertainty.

Thankfully second time around with baby Florence, I came out relatively unscathed. But now, as my bottle sucking babe has grown into a porky and super hungry 5-month-old, I am facing the next challenge - introducing solids.

I’ll never forget starting solids with Bobby. Picture this. 23 years of age. First time mum. Living in a foggy cloud of deliriousness.

My maternal health nurse says, "Go for it" and suggested getting him tucking right into food at 4 months because he was a big boy.



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My GP scoffed at that information and told me I could cause serious damage to my baby’s tummy by introducing food prior to the "recommended" 6-month mark.

Two highly experienced professionals that I hold in the highest regard giving me completely opposite information.

My mum said start, but only on rice cereal because "all babies must start on rice cereal". My sister said nope, head straight to the steamed veggies.

Whose advice should I take? My mum, a woman with four kids, or my ‘modern mum’ of a sister living and raising children in the 21st century?



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Then we introduce social media and the more-often-than-not unrealistic depictions of everyday life that are plastered in our feeds.

Exhibit A. New mum, steaming up some organic pumpkin home grown in her grandfather’s yard. I’d bought a pumpkin too to steam for Bob, but mine was on sale for $1.49 a kilo and wrapped in plastic.

Did that make her a better mum than me? Should I be doing a better job at sourcing the very best product for my baby?

While at times my foggy baby brain causes me some grief in remembering a lot of things, diving into solids a second time with Florence I have slightly more confidence and knowledge.

With my first born, I felt so much pressure to cook everything from scratch. I truly did.



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I’m openly prepping Flossy’s food now. I am shopping for good produce, both fruit & vegetables, to steam and freeze for future use.

This time I am going in with more of an idea of what foods are good to start, what a baby’s palate may or may not like, what to avoid with allergies.

But sometimes I just can’t be bothered standing over my sink peeling carrots! And I’ll own that!

Parents are now faced with more commitments, and while I know for a fact there are parents out there who cook everything from scratch for their children, there are some parents like me, who do not.

If I can trust that the ingredients in pre-packaged infant food are nutritious, that's okay too!

This article is brought to you by Heinz Infant.

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Posted by LizsieReport
Yes it can be confusing for new mums. Look at the "generation" of the advice - when I had my babies in the early seventies we were told to introduce watered down orange juice at 3 months - hand squeezed and strained and thinned with sterile water. What nonsense. Then came the baby cereal at 4 months and an "educational" diet thereafter. Of course by the eighties and my fourth baby, the advice had changed to nothing but breast milk till 6 months, and then fruit or veggies were preferred. Since the quantities were not that great and therefore not very nutritional, it was recommended that breastfeeding always came first and solids later. The signs that your baby is ready for solids are these - s/he has lost the tongue thrust reflex, s/he can sit upright with little support, s/he is starting to teethe and s/he shows interest in trying the food around her/him. As for convenience foods, they have their place, such as when out shopping , travelling or visiting friends. Or even after a sleepless night! But just the same as it is for adults and older children, the best food is the fresh food you prepare yourself and it should form the mainstay of your baby's diet. There is no need to make special food for babies as long as there is no allergy. Whatever you prepare for the family can be modified by blending it fine and thinning it down a bit with milk or water. This is a good time to re-evaluate the family diet to make sure salt and sugar are not too high and lots of different veggies are used. However, the most important food for babies under twelve months is milk - human or otherwise - and no amount of solids should reduce the intake of that premium food.