Saturday, July 21, 2012

Starting Solids With My Twins

My daughter Em's first food was home made rice cereal. (You can find the recipe I used here). Why did I feed her that? Well because that's what you're supposed to feed babies right? At least that was what I thought at the time. It's a cultural thing here in the states. It's what we do because it's what we have always done. That's why doctor's recommend it. Not because they have had a lot of nutritional training, sadly most have not. The good thing about rice cereal is that your baby isn't likely to have an allergy to it. The bad news about rice cereal is that there isn't a lot of nutrition in it at all. Sure there are some chemically processed vitamins that are thrown in there, iron being the one everyone seems to be worried about.

If iron is something that you are concerned about then I highly recommend reading Kelly Mom's "Is Iron Supplementation Necessary". Remember that while breast milk is lower in iron than formula, the iron in breast milk is more easily absorbed (50-70% of iron in breast milk is absorbed compared to 3-12% in regular cow milk formula). If your baby is not yet born please consider delayed cord clamping as it will help protect your baby's iron reserves and prevent anemia (as well as a list of other benefits).

There are studies now that suggest iron supplementation (when not needed) could actually cause more problems than prevent. See Food Renegade's "Should You Feed Your Baby Iron Fortified Foods".

I was really pleased when our pediatrician this time around suggested nutrient rich foods to be the twins first. His suggestions were bananas, sweet potatoes, and avocados. I started my boys just like I started my daughter on home made pureed baby foods. I have a little hand grinder that I would just carry around with us and grind up (after she had been introduced to a good variety) whatever we were having. There is really no need to buy jars of baby food. Making your own can be just as convenient not to mention healthier, and money saving.

But after I tried a few purees with my boys I started reading about the Baby Led Weaning style of feeding solids. I am so thankful that I did because it has made feeding them so incredibly easy. Because of baby led weaning I actually have time to eat at meal times and sometimes clean up a bit while they are taking care of themselves. My main fear with this style of feeding was choking but I have found that the boys actually have choked less eating this way than Em did on purees. The worst part of BLW? The mess! But it's worth it and my boys eat so well. Everyone is always so impressed.

If you are a twin mama thinking about starting solids I urge you to read in to Baby Led Weaning. I know for me & my family it has been a huge blessing.

Here is the best article I have read on the baby led weaning style of eating in general. And here is a great blog post by a fellow twin mama on the subject.

The last thing I want to bring up in this post is the importance of delaying solids. One thing that The World Health Organization, UNICEF, The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Academy of Family Physicians, The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, and Health Canada all agree on is that babies should not start solids until 6 months. Not before. I'm putting this in bold because there are a lot of pediatricians still encouraging moms to start earlier.. commonly 4-6. But there is a good reason behind this.

"From birth until somewhere between four and six months of age, babies possess what is often referred to as an “open gut.” his means that the spaces between the cells of the small intestines will readily allow intact macromolecules, including whole proteins and pathogens, to pass directly into the bloodstream.This is great for your breastfed baby as it allows beneficial antibodies in breastmilk to pass more directly into baby’s bloodstream, but it also means that large proteins from other foods (which may predispose baby to allergies) and disease-causing pathogens can pass right through, too. During baby’s first 4-6 months, while the gut is still “open,” antibodies (sIgA) from breastmilk coat baby’s digestive tract and provide passive immunity, reducing the likelihood of illness and allergic reactions before gut closure occurs. Baby starts producing these antibodies on his own at around 6 months, and gut closure should have occurred by this time also." 
from Kelly Mom

If you haven't started solids yet please take a look at the entire Kelly Mom article entitled "Why Delay Solids?"

Don't forget "Food before one is just for fun!"

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