Starting Solids, eh?

Since my youngest babe has just started solids, I thought it might be fun to visit the topic, especially since Canada has released some innovative new “starting solids” guidelines in the last year. With our first, we started on purees at 6 months, but we are finding that our youngest child is doing a lot better with feeding when we let him take the lead, which, as it turns out, is right in line with Canada’s new recommendations!

Our first child, exploring blueberries!!!

Our first child, exploring blueberries!!!

These new guidelines are right in line with the latest research on infant health and development. The American Academy of Pediatrics is about halfway there with their guidelines, but Canada is much more clear about waiting to start solids and introducing them in a more natural form, rather than as messy (and let’s face it–unappetizing) goop.

Even though we are based in the US, it is important to know how other countries are responding to research for feeding babies. The US will not be far behind, so it’s not a bad idea to get a head start on upcoming changes. The new guidelines are very similar to the popular infant feeding method known as Baby-Led Weaning, which encourages independence and feeding when children are ready.

Both Canada and the AAP suggest your baby is ready to start solids when all of the following milestones are met:

  • Your baby is 6 months or older
  • Your baby is over 13 pounds or has doubled in weight since birth
  • Your baby can sit up on his or her own
  • Your baby can bring food to his or her mouth using hands or a spoon
  • The tongue-thrust reflex has disappeared
  • Baby is eager for mealtime and is grabbing at your food

What are Canada’s new recommendations?

  • As always, breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months, and continuing alongside solids for a year or longer (World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding alongside solids for 2 years and longer)
  • Starting solids around or after 6 months (best for baby’s gut, no matter how big your baby is!)
  • Starting with lumpy textures and soft finger foods, rather than purees
  • Also starting with iron-rich foods, including meat!
  • No cow’s milk until 9 months (formula fed babies) or after 12 months (breastfed babies)
  • No honey until 1 year of age
  • No sippee cups!  Use an open-mouth cup to introduce beverages
  • Not waiting on allergenic foods–introduce them alongside others, but space out the allergens (nuts, eggs, etc) by a couple days to monitor for reaction

These latest guidelines show an increased respect for the intelligence of our children. As it turns out, babies are a lot smarter than we think they are, and they find ways to explore and learn and grow all on their own!

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