Soft foods to start baby on
Giving Baby Finger Foods at 7-8 Months
Written by Rebecca Felsenthal Stewart
Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on August 09, 2022
Month 7, Week 3feature
Once your baby is a pro at eating soft mashed foods, they may be ready to move on to finger foods around 8 months. They have the dexterity to pick the food up and release it or mash it, and will become more efficient and independent as they master the pincer grip around 9 months. At that point they'll be able to use their thumb and forefinger to pick up the small chunks of food.
Your baby may grab at everything on your plate, but follow these guidelines for healthy and safe feedings.
- Start with menu items like pieces of soft cheese; small pieces of pasta or bread; finely chopped soft vegetables; and fruits like bananas, avocado, and ripe peaches or nectarines. These foods should require minimal chewing, as your baby may not yet have teeth. Do NOT let them have hot dogs, raw vegetables, nuts, meats, hard candy, or sticky textures such as nut butters that have increased choking risks at this stage.
- Introduce new foods one at a time in case there are any concers about allergies.
- Chop all foods into soft, bite-sized pieces, 1/2 inch or smaller.
- Watch out for choking hazards: Avoid round, firm foods like carrots, grapes, and hot dogs and skip anything like raw veggies and peanuts. Raisins and popcorn are dangerous for babies.
- Keep up your formula or breastfeeding schedule, but as your baby eats more solids, they’ll naturally start to take less milk. Your baby needs to start eating more solids and drinking less milk for the nutritional value at this stage.
Your Baby's Development This Week
Your baby is getting stronger and may even be moving around, whether they are sliding around on their belly in reverse, scooting on their behind, or actually crawling forward. If you haven’t childproofed your house already, don’t wait any longer!
You may notice these growing signs of motor development:
- Your baby is probably now able to sit on their own for several minutes, without using their hands for support and they may be able to get up into a sitting position all by themselves.
- While you offer them support, they should be able to bounce up and down, and possibly even pull up to a stand.
- Their little hands are increasingly agile -- they are getting better at passing a toy back and forth from one to the other.
You might wonder about:
- Their vision. Your baby should be able to see nearly as far as an adult by now and can track moving objects with their eyes.
- Stranger anxiety. You’re not imagining it: They may fear new people and situations. So give them time to warm up and reassure them if they are upset.
- What they can understand. Your baby might comprehend more than you realize, so it’s important to keep talking to them about everything you’re doing and try to be consistent about the words you use for familiar objects.
Month 7 Week 3 Tipstips
- If food allergies run in the family, talk to your pediatrician about introducing highly allergenic foods like peanuts and eggs.
- Fried foods are not good choices for babies. If you offer them at all, do so rarely.
- Avoid feeding your baby juice unless it is fresh-squeezed.
- By now, your baby’s diet should include grains, fruits, vegetables, and meats, and they should be eating two to three meals a day.
- In addition to rice, barley, or oat cereal, you can introduce grain products your baby can grab, such as toast, crackers, and dry cereal. Avoid any colorful, sugary cereals.
- Sit baby in their high-chair for feeding time. If they eat finger foods while crawling around, they are more likely to choke.
- You’re not done with breast feeding or bottle feeding. Your baby is starting the transition, but breast milk and formula are still key.
- Pureeing or mashing vegetables may make them easier for your baby to eat when they are first transitioning from a liquid diet to solids.
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Best Early Finger Foods for Baby (With Tips, Visuals, and Recipes)
Use this list of safe, nutritious, and easy to eat finger foods for baby to help you know exactly what (and how) to offer at meals and snacks. Plus, find the best first finger foods, troubleshooting tips, and visuals of foods broken down by food group to keep things easy!
Finger Foods for Baby
After baby starts solids and is ready to move onto finger foods, you may feel a little confused by exactly what to serve and how to serve it. Which is totally normal because it can be scary to let baby feed themselves this way and we may not have any experience doing this—or we may have totally forgotten from our last kiddo!
This list of finger foods for baby will cover some great first finger foods to start with, then set you up with plenty of healthy options from each food group.
TIP: Find more info on starting solids here and the best foods to start with if doing baby led weaning or purees with baby.
Healthy Baby Food
I love sharing these ideas for baby food since they are easy to prepare and serve and because I know how hard it can be to continue to come up with flavorful and healthy meals and snacks for our little ones. Let me tell you, I’m on my third kiddo and it can be such a challenge to feed him during the chaos of parenting the rest of my crew! These foods are wholesome and nutritious—perfect for your baby.
TIP: I’m a big fan of SpoonfulONE, a company that offers the most complete way to introduce food allergens to our kids. They make mix-ins, puffs, and crackers that are yummy and easy for babies and toddlers to eat. Learn more about their pediatrician-approved baby foods here. (sponsored link)
Best First Finger Foods
When baby is around 9 months, you’ll notice that they’re able to pick up smaller pieces of food with two fingers. This is known as the “pincer grasp” and is a sign that they’re ready to start finger foods. To be clear, when I say “finger foods” I mean small pieces of food that a baby (or toddler) can feed themselves.
Here are some of my favorite ones to start with that are all super soft, safe to eat, and easy to pick up.
- Scrambled egg, broken up into small pieces
- Roasted sweet potato mashed and broken up into small pieces
- Fresh raspberries, broken up into smaller pieces
- Oatmeal, cooked according to package directions and allowed to cool
- Tofu, diced and sauteed lightly or steamed
- Ground beef, chicken, or turkey, broken up into small pieces or lightly mashed meatballs
- Shredded cheese or crumbled goat cheese
- Mashed sweet potato, in little pieces
- Peanut butter puffs
TIP: You can serve the tofu, ground meat, or meatballs in veggie puree from a pouch or a simple marinara sauce for extra moisture and flavor. Learn more about how and why to introduce peanut butter.
Finger Foods for Baby: Fruits and Veggies
Some of my favorite early fruits and veggies to serve babies are:
- Mashed roasted sweet potato, broken up into small pieces
- Warmed frozen peas, slightly mashed if desired
- Roasted Zucchini
- Diced Roasted Sweet Potato or Butternut Squash
- Fresh blueberries, cut in half or quarters
- Fresh raspberries, broken into small pieces
- Banana, broken into small segments (they are less slippery this way versus slicing them)
- Avocado, diced and mashed slightly (be sure it’s ripe and very soft)
TIP: A good rule of thumb is to serve pieces of food that are about the size of a pea to start and soft enough that they are easy to squish between your fingers. This will be easy for baby to pick up and eat and will also reduce chances of choking.
Finger Food Ideas: Carbohydrates
Offering complex carbohydrates can provide fiber, a variety of textures, B vitamins, and more. Try these with your baby.
- Spinach pancakes (moisten with applesauce or plain yogurt if needed; this recipe is particularly moist and great for babies)
- Oatmeal, cooked according to package directions and allowed to cool
- Baby Puffs
- Peanut Butter Puffs
- Rice (it’s easiest if it’s in little clumps so baby can pick it up; this Coconut Rice or this Cheesy Rice are both good options)
- Baby Banana Muffin
- O cereal (soften in nondairy unsweetened milk or yogurt as needed)
- Baked Oatmeal, diced
Finger Food Ideas: Proteins
Offering proteins will continue to expose baby to a range of nutrients. These are my go-tos for babies newer to finger foods—and toddlers too.
- Shredded cheese (thicker cuts are a little easier to pick up)
- Tofu, diced and sauteed lightly or steamed
- Flaked cooked wild salmon
- Lightly mashed meatballs
- Shredded chicken, cut up finely (we love this Butter Chicken to share with baby)
- Ground beef, turkey, or chicken, broken into smaller pieces
- Lightly mashed beans
- Scrambled eggs, broken up into small pieces
- Diced egg muffins
I’d love to hear any questions you may have, or if you have foods that your babies enjoy that I didn’t include here.Chime in below in the comments!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Author Amy Palanjian
Course Baby Food
First Finger Foods (choose 1-3 per meal)
- ▢ 1 Scrambled egg (broken up into small pieces)
- ▢ 1/4 cup Roasted sweet potato, mashed and broken up into small pieces
- ▢ 1/4 cup Fresh raspberries (broken up into smaller pieces)
- ▢ 1/4 cup Oatmeal (cooked according to package directions and allowed to cool)
- ▢ 2 tbsp Tofu (diced and sauteed lightly or steamed)
- ▢ 2 tbsp ground beef, chicken, or turkey, broken up into small pieces or lightly mashed meatballs
- ▢ 2 tbsp shredded cheese or crumbled goat cheese
- ▢ 1/4 cup Mashed sweet potato (broken into little pieces)
- ▢ 1/4 cup Peanut butter puffs
Fruits and Veggies
- ▢ 1/4 cup mashed roasted sweet potato (broken up into small pieces)
- ▢ 1/4 cup warmed frozen peas
- ▢ 1/4 cup Roasted Zucchini
- ▢ 1/4 cup diced Roasted Sweet Potato or Butternut Squash
- ▢ 1/4 cup blueberries (cut in half or quarters)
- ▢ 1/4 cup raspberries (broken into small pieces)
- ▢ 1/4 cup banana slices (broken into small segments—they are less slippery this way versus slicing them)
- ▢ 2 tbsp avocado (diced and mashed slightly—be sure it's ripe and very soft)
Whole Grains and Carbohydrates
- ▢ 1 Spinach pancakes (moisten with applesauce or plain yogurt if needed; this recipe is particularly moist and great for babies)
- ▢ 1/4 cup Oatmeal (cooked according to package directions and allowed to cool)
- ▢ 1/4 cup Baby Puffs
- ▢ 1/4 cup Peanut Butter Puffs
- ▢ 1/4 cup fully cooked rice (it's easiest if it's in little clumps so baby can pick it up; this Coconut Rice or this Cheesy Rice are both good options)
- ▢ 1 Baby Banana Muffin
- ▢ 1/4 cup O cereal (soften in nondairy unsweetened milk or yogurt as needed)
- ▢ 1/4 cup Baked Oatmeal (diced or regular oatmeal broken into little pieces)
- ▢ 2 tbsp Shredded cheese (such as mozzarella)
- ▢ 2 tbsp Tofu (diced and sauteed lightly or steamed)
- ▢ 2 tbsp flaked cooked wild salmon
- ▢ 1 lightly mashed meatballs
- ▢ 2 tbsp finely shredded chicken (we love this Butter Chicken to share with baby)
- ▢ 2 tbsp ground beef, turkey, or chicken (broken into smaller pieces)
- ▢ 2 tbsp lightly mashed beans
- ▢ 1 Scrambled egg (broken up into small pieces)
- ▢ 1 Diced Egg muffins
For each meal or snack, choose 2-3 foods from a mix of food groups. Aim to include some fat in most meals and protein in many too.
Prepare the food, cutting into small pieces and/or mashing as needed to make the food easy to eat.
Start with small portions and allow more as baby indicates according to their hunger.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-5 days in the fridge.
- Many foods you cook for your family will work as baby finger foods—just be sure they are easy to squish between your fingers and the pieces are small and easy to chew.
- Babies very normally make a lot of faces when they eat, so don't assume they don't like something just because they scrunch their nose!
- Flavors and textures can take time to learn to eat, so continue offering foods in small portions even if baby hasn't liked them in the past—and make sure they taste good to you!
Calories: 124kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 164mg, Sodium: 81mg, Potassium: 344mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 9857IU, Vitamin C: 18mg, Calcium: 51mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!
Prejudices related to breastfeeding
Instead of an introduction, I would like to say that the ideas of modern women about breastfeeding are a collection of prejudices. They are so common that in many books for expectant mothers and in magazines for parents, it is actions based on prejudice that are described as correct and necessary.
“Breastfeeding is something incredibly difficult, almost no one is able to feed for a long time, everyone always has a lot of problems and one sheer inconvenience”
There is nothing easier, more comfortable, more enjoyable for mother and baby, and, by the way, cheaper than properly organized breastfeeding. But for that to be the case, breastfeeding needs to be learned. The best teacher in this matter may not be a book or a magazine for parents, but a woman who has been breastfeeding her child for a long time, more than a year, and receiving positive emotions from this. There are women who breastfeed for a long time and perceived it as a punishment. For example, one mother fed a child for 1.5 years and for all these 1.5 years she pumped after each feeding, and when she decided that she was enough and decided to wean the child, she had mastitis due to wrong actions. Now she tells everyone that breastfeeding is hell. She didn't feed her baby properly for a single day.
"Breastfeeding spoils the shape of the breast"
It is true that breastfeeding does not improve the shape of the breast, but the breast changes during pregnancy. It is then that it increases and becomes heavier, and, if its shape contributes to this, it “sags”.
Breast changes during lactation. Approximately 1-1.5 months after birth, with stable lactation, it becomes soft, produces milk almost only when the baby suckles. After the end of breastfeeding, 1.5-3 or more years after the birth of the baby, involution of the mammary gland occurs, lactation stops. Iron "falls asleep" until the next time. Under natural conditions, the end of breastfeeding always coincides with a decrease in the baby's need for breastfeeding. The chest remains soft, inelastic. The shape of the breast largely depends on the presence of adipose tissue in it, the amount of which decreases during prolonged breastfeeding. After the end of breastfeeding, adipose tissue is gradually restored. If a woman does not feed a child, the involution of the mammary gland occurs within the first month after childbirth. The shape of the breast still does not return to its pre-pregnancy state. And if you think about it and figure out why a woman has breasts at all? It's for breastfeeding.
"Breastfeeding spoils the figure"
Many women are afraid to gain weight while breastfeeding. But usually a woman gains weight mainly during pregnancy, and not when she is nursing. Moreover, if before pregnancy she tried to meet certain fashionable standards, for example, 90-60-90, during pregnancy she returns to her weight, her genetically incorporated physiological norm (and it may be far from fashionable standards) + the well-known 7-10kg per uterus, fetus, amniotic fluid, increased volume of circulating blood and a little bit more for various little things. Weight gain during pregnancy can be significant. Many women begin to lose weight after 6-8 months of feeding, and gradually, in the second, third year of feeding, she “drops” everything that she has accumulated. It turns out that the figure from breastfeeding often just improves.
Very often it turns out that a woman, having stopped breastfeeding 1.5-2 months after giving birth, begins to gain weight. Perhaps this is due to the resulting hormonal imbalance, tk. no woman is designed for such a rapid cessation of lactation.
"You have to prepare the breast for feeding." And then various recommendations follow, from sewing hard rags into the bra to advice to the husband at the end of pregnancy to “dissolve the ducts” of his wife
There is no need to prepare the breast for feeding, it is so arranged by nature that by the time of birth it is quite ready to feed the child. Cloths, for example, can cause skin irritation. Any manipulation of the nipple at the end of pregnancy can lead to very undesirable consequences due to the stimulation of the oxytocin reflex: stimulation of the nipple - release of oxytocin - contraction of the muscles of the uterus under the influence of oxytocin - the uterus is "in good shape" - and, as the worst option, stimulation of premature labor. And in general, has anyone seen a cat with a rag in a bra, or a monkey doing a hardening shower massage?
“With a flat, let alone inverted nipple, breastfeeding is impossible”
Strange as it may seem to people who have never breastfed, a baby's nipple is just a point from which milk flows. If the child sucks in the correct position, then the nipple is located at the level of the soft palate and does not participate in the actual sucking. The child sucks not the nipple, but the areola, massaging, decanting it with the tongue. A breast with a flat or inverted nipple is difficult for a baby to hold in his mouth while suckling and it is more difficult for him to suck on it. Mom should show patience and perseverance in the first days after the birth of a child. Any child is perfectly trained to suck even the most uncomfortable, from our point of view, breast.
The nipple changes shape during sucking, stretches and takes on a more comfortable shape for the baby, usually in 3-4 weeks. There are also various devices called "nipple formers". They are put on immediately after feeding, when the nipple is slightly extended by the efforts of the child and worn until the next application. The nipple formers hold the nipple in an extended position. But even without these things it is quite possible to do.
It is very important for a mother with flat or inverted nipples to ensure that her baby never suckles anything but her mother's breast after birth. The child of such a mother, having sucked on a bottle or a pacifier, quickly realizes that this is a more convenient object for sucking and begins to refuse the breast. In this situation, mom will need even more patience and perseverance.
"You can't keep a newborn at the breast for more than 5 minutes, otherwise there will be cracks"
The child should be kept at the breast for as long as he needs. Feeding ends when the baby himself releases the breast.
If we talk about cracks, then there are only three groups of causes that lead to their formation.
- Mom washes her breasts before each feeding. If she does this (and even with soap, and even anoints with brilliant green after feeding - a favorite pastime in Russian maternity hospitals, for example) - she constantly washes off the protective layer from the areola, which is produced by special glands located around the nipple, and dries the skin. This protective lubricant exists just to prevent the loss of moisture in the delicate skin of the nipple, it has bactericidal properties and inhibits the growth of pathogenic microorganisms and, which is especially important for the child, smells about the same as amniotic fluid. The sensitive skin of some women cannot tolerate such exposure for a long time and begins to crack, even with proper attachment of the baby.
Causes related to the incorrect position and behavior of the baby at the breast: the baby is not properly attached and sucks in the wrong position. And if this is true, then 5 minutes after 3 hours is enough for the formation of abrasions, and then cracks. The baby may latch on correctly, but in the process of suckling, he may perform various actions that can lead to cracking if the mother does not know that these actions need to be corrected and not allowed to behave like this. It must be remembered that the child has not suckled before, and does not know how to do it (he knows only the general principle of sucking). Unfortunately, most mothers also do not know how a baby should behave at the breast; they have never, or almost never seen it. What shouldn't a child be allowed to do? "Move out" to the tip of the nipple. This happens especially often if, during sucking, the child does not stick his nose into his mother's breast. If the mother feels that the grip is changing, she should try to press the baby with her nose to her chest. Very often this is enough for the child to “put on” correctly.
If this does not help, the nipple must be removed and re-inserted correctly. The baby should not suckle the breast incorrectly for a single minute. He doesn’t care how to suck, he doesn’t know that he hurts his mother, he doesn’t know that the wrong position does not allow him to suck out enough milk, he doesn’t know that with the wrong position there is not enough stimulation of his mother’s breast and there will not be enough milk production. You can not let the child play with the nipple. A child who has learned to slide down on the tip of the nipple sometimes begins to pass the nipple back and forth through the parted jaws. Mom, of course, it hurts or is unpleasant, but in most cases, mothers allow this to be done “If only he sucked ...” they say ... Why? It often happens that children who do not feel the touch of the breast with their nose during sucking, or do not feel it very well, begin to make search movements with the nipple in their mouth. Here you need to gently press the baby to your chest so that he understands that he is already in place and there is nothing more to look for. Sometimes, especially if the mother has long and large nipples, the baby grabs the breast in several steps, “climbing” up in several movements. This also happens in cases where the child has already sucked on the pacifier and does not open his mouth well. The nipple is injured so very quickly. To avoid this, it is necessary to properly insert the nipple into the wide-open mouth, bringing the nipple itself past the jaws, as deep as possible. Moms don't know how to breastfeed properly.
A typical picture for maternity hospitals with separate stay is as follows: a baby was brought to the mother for 30 minutes, the baby held everything correctly and sucked well for these 30 minutes, he would still suck, but they came to pick him up and the mother pulls (slowly or quickly) his nipple from mouth. Six such pulls per day is enough for the development of abrasions. You can take the nipple only after opening the jaw with the little finger (quickly insert the tip of the finger into the corner of the mouth and turn it - it does not hurt at all and no one suffers).
Diseases of the skin of the nipples. Most often, mothers are faced with a fungal infection of the skin of the nipples - "thrush". In this situation, the skin most often looks "irritated", it can peel off, itch, cracks may appear, even despite proper application, there may be pain during and after sucking, piercing pains along the milk ducts. This problem is usually solved with the use of specific treatment and also has nothing to do with the topic of preparing the breast for feeding or the time the baby is at the breast.
“While there is no milk, it is necessary to drink more water”
The first day after childbirth, liquid colostrum forms in the breast of a woman, on the second day it becomes thick, on 3-4 days transitional milk may appear, 7-10-18 days - milk become mature. Colostrum is scarce and thicker than milk. This is the main argument in most Russian maternity hospitals in favor of supplementing and feeding the child (otherwise he allegedly suffers from hunger and thirst).
If a child needed large volumes of liquid immediately after birth, then nature would arrange the woman in such a way that she would be flooded with colostrum immediately after childbirth. But the child does not need extra water at all. All he needs he gets from colostrum and milk! The water that is given to the child while the mother has colostrum literally “washes away” the colostrum from the gastrointestinal tract, depriving the baby of the action of colostrum necessary for him. Water is given from a bottle, which leads to "tangled nipples" in the baby and may lead to refusal of the breast. Water causes a false feeling of fullness and reduces the need for suckling in a child. If we give a child 100 g of water per day, he sucks 100 g less milk (this applies not only to a newborn). The kidneys of a newborn are not ready for a large load of water and begin to work with overload. The list of arguments against can be continued, but these are enough.
“While there is no milk, it is necessary to supplement the child with formula, otherwise he will lose weight, starve”
The child is not designed to receive anything other than colostrum and milk. In the first days after birth, one colostrum is enough for him. Weight loss in the first day of life is a physiological norm. Newborns lose up to 6-8% of their birth weight in the first two days of their lives. Most children regain their weight or begin to put on weight by 5-7 days of life. Supplementary feeding with a mixture in the first days of a child's life is nothing more than a gross interference in the functioning of the baby's body. You can call this intervention a metabolic catastrophe. But in most Russian maternity hospitals, this is completely ignored!
In addition, the introduction of supplementary feeding is carried out through a bottle, which very quickly leads to "tangled nipples" and the baby refuses the breast. Sometimes one or two bottle feedings are enough to stop a baby from breastfeeding! The mixture causes a feeling of fullness, lingers in the stomach for a long time, the child has a reduced need to suckle the breast, which leads to a decrease in breast stimulation and a decrease in milk production.
“I feed my baby on demand! He demands from me in 3. 5 hours!”
Feeding on demand means putting the baby to the breast for every disturbance or search. The baby needs breastfeeding around every sleep, he falls asleep at the breast and when he wakes up, he is given the breast. A newborn child in the first week of his life can indeed be applied relatively rarely - 7-8 times a day, but in the second week of life, the intervals between applications are always reduced. During wakefulness, the child can ask for a breast up to 4 times per hour, i.e. every 15 minutes! Usually a child fed on demand is applied in the first month of life 12 or more times a day, usually 16-20 times. If a child in the first months of life is applied less than 12 times, then the mother either does not notice his modest requests, or ignores them (meaning a healthy, physiologically mature child).
In the overwhelming majority of cases, at the moment when the child begins to ask for a breast more often, the mother decides that the child is starving and introduces supplementary feeding. And the child asks for breasts not at all because he is hungry. He constantly needs a sense of confirmation of physical contact with his mother. During his life in his mother's belly, he is very used to the following: warm, crowded, I hear my heart beating, my lungs breathe, my intestines growl, I smell and taste amniotic fluid (filling the baby's nose and mouth), almost all the time I suck a fist (studies suck). Only in these conditions the baby feels comfortable and safe. After childbirth, he can get into such conditions only if his mother takes him in her arms, puts him on her breast, and then he will again feel cramped, warm, he will hear familiar rhythms, start sucking and feel the familiar smell and taste (the smell and taste of milk are similar to the taste and smell of amniotic fluid). And a newborn child wants to get into such conditions as often as possible. And a modern mother is waiting, she can’t wait, when the intervals between feedings will increase, when will the child start eating in 3. 5-4 hours, when will he stop waking up at night ??? Hurry!!! And, usually, to the timid attempts of the child to ask for a breast, he answers with a pacifier, a rattle, gives some water, talks, entertains. The child is most often applied to the breast only when he wakes up. And he quickly agrees with this position. The child always takes the mother's position. But here a “pitfall” awaits mother and baby - insufficient breast stimulation and, as a result, a decrease in the amount of milk.
“Feeding on demand is a nightmare! It is impossible to sit and feed the child for days!”
That's what mothers who can't breastfeed say. With properly organized feeding, mom is resting! She lies, relaxed, hugs the baby, the baby sucks. What could be better? Most women cannot find a comfortable position, they sit, they hold the child awkwardly, their back or arm numbs, if they feed lying down, it usually “hangs” over the child on the elbow, the elbow and back become numb. Moreover, if the child does not take the breast well, it hurts the mother . .. What kind of pleasure can we talk about here? In the first month - one and a half after childbirth, when the child is applied chaotically, without a pronounced regimen, sucks often and for a long time, the mother can feel good only if breastfeeding is organized correctly, it is convenient for the mother to feed, she knows how to do it standing, lying down and sitting, and even moving.
“After each feeding, you must express the rest of the milk, otherwise the milk will be wasted”
No, you do not need to express after each feeding if breastfeeding is properly organized. If you feed your baby 6 times a day and do not express, indeed, milk can disappear very quickly. If you express after each feeding, then you can support lactation for some time. The terms are different, but rarely it is more than six months, cases of feeding on such behavior for more than a year are isolated.
When feeding a baby on demand, the mother always has as much milk as the baby needs and there is no need to pump after each application. In order for the newborn to completely suck out the breast, it is applied to one breast for 2-3 hours, and to the other for the next 2-3 hours. Somewhere after 3 months, when the child is already applied relatively rarely, he may need a second breast in one attachment, then the next time he is applied to the one that was last.
There is one unpleasant “pitfall” in regular pumping after feeding, which even most doctors are not aware of. It's called lactase deficiency. When a mother expresses after a feed, she expresses just the “hind” fatty milk, which is relatively poor in milk sugar, lactose. She feeds the child mainly with the anterior portion, which accumulates in the breast between rare feedings. There is a lot of lactose in the anterior portion. The child is fed "only lactose", the gastrointestinal tract of the child after some time ceases to cope with such volumes of lactose. Lactase deficiency develops (Lactase is an enzyme that breaks down lactose - milk sugar, it begins to be missed). This is one of the reasons for the development of lactase deficiency; the second, for example, is this: the mother gives the child two breasts in one feeding. But about this separately.
“You should give your baby two breasts at one feeding.”
No, it is not necessary to give two breasts. A newborn baby can be applied for 1.5-3 hours to one breast. Then 1.5-3 hours to another (for example, the baby woke up, sucked a little and didn’t want to anymore, but after 30 minutes he wanted to suck a little more. After 20 minutes, he sucked longer and fell asleep; all these attachments were from one breast; when the baby wakes up, you can offer him another breast). We need this so that the baby sucks the breast to the end, and receives "front" and "hind" milk in a balanced amount. If the baby is transferred to the other breast in the middle of feeding, he will receive less fat-rich hind milk. He will suck mainly the front portion from one breast and add the same from the other. Foremilk is rich in lactose, and after a while the baby can no longer cope with the load of lactose. Lactose intolerance develops.
Transferring a baby from one breast to another can cause hyperlactation in some women, and if the mother also expresses both breasts after each feeding ... There are such mothers. Curtailing excess milk is sometimes more difficult than adding missing ... In some cases, feeding at one feeding from two breasts is necessary to stimulate lactation when there is a shortage of milk. A growing baby, most often after 3-4 months, may need two breasts in one feeding. Then the next application begins with the breast that was last.
“The more liquid you drink, the more milk”
There are mothers who try to drink as much as possible, sometimes up to 5 liters of liquid per day. And a nursing mother should drink only as much as she wants. By thirst. Mom shouldn't be thirsty. And if water is drunk on purpose, and even more than 3-3.5 liters per day, lactation can begin to be suppressed.
“Sucking the fist is very harmful”
The whole end of pregnancy the child sucked the fist, so he learned to suck. Fist sucking is one of the inborn habits of a newborn. After childbirth, the baby begins to suck on the fist as soon as it enters his mouth. At 3-4 months, the fist is the first thing that the baby can put into his mouth on his own. He can do things on his own!!! This is amazing! And at this age, many babies begin to actively suck their fingers and fists. There is nothing wrong with that. Mom only needs to watch the baby a little. If a baby plays with a fist, then he sucks, then he stops, he can not be distracted from this activity. If the baby begins to actively suck the fist, then the baby wants to suck for real, offer him a breast. If the need to suckle the baby is fully satisfied by the breast, then the baby stops sucking the fist by 5-6 months. (Then, at 6-7 months, he begins to “look for teeth”, but this is a completely different behavior). The cam baby sucks almost the same as the breast, opening its mouth wide. Some babies have a very funny behavior when, having stuck to the chest, the baby tries to put his fist in his mouth . ..
"My baby needs a pacifier"
The baby is not designed by nature to suckle anything other than the breast (and the fist, in a pinch). A child is always taught to use a pacifier. There are children who immediately push out the pacifier with their tongue. And there are those who begin to suck it. There are mothers who hold the pacifier with their finger so that her child does not push it out. Usually, the first time a baby gets a dummy is when he showed concern and the mother does not know how to calm him down. To calm down, the child needs to suck on the breast, well, they didn’t give him a breast, they gave him something else, he will have to suck what they give ...
“A child often asks for breasts, which means that he is hungry, there is not enough milk for him”
As mentioned above, a newborn child asks to be breastfed often, not at all because he is hungry. He wants to suck, he wants to mom. He constantly needs confirmation of psycho-emotional and physical contact with his mother.
“Sufficient milk or not, we will find out on control feeding”
We will not learn anything on control feeding (the child is weighed before and after feeding, the difference is calculated and find out how much he sucked for feeding). Because:
- A baby who feeds on demand constantly sucks different portions of milk. In one application 5 ml, in another - 50, in the third - 150. You can get 5 ml. (Once I weighed my daughter after 30 minutes of suckling. She gained 14 g. In the first month of her life, she gained 1200 g - and what would the district pediatrician tell me if this was control feeding in the clinic?)
- The newborn is designed to receive small portions of milk, but often. The vast majority of newborns in the conditions of feeding 6-7 times a day still suck out small portions of milk, and not 6 times 120 ml. And of course they don't eat. They start gaining poorly or stop gaining weight, or lose weight altogether.
Whether or not enough milk is available can be determined in two ways:
Wet diaper test. (This is a test for wet diapers, not for used diapers, because you need to know exactly the number of urination). If a child older than 7 days pees more than 6-8 times a day, his urine is light, transparent, odorless, then he receives a sufficient amount of milk. Usually the child pees during wakefulness every 15-30 minutes. If a mother uses diapers, but wants to find out if there is enough milk or not, she needs to remove the diapers from the child for three hours. If the baby pees 3-4 times or more in three hours, then you can not count further. If you peed 3 times or less, we count for 6 hours. If in six hours he peed 4-5 times or more, you can not count further, if less than 4, we count further. And so on… Weekly weight gain (for a child older than 7 days) should be between 125 and 500 g.
“If applied frequently, the baby will suck everything out quickly, the breast is soft all the time – there is no milk. It is necessary to “save” milk for feeding”
When feeding a child on demand, the breast becomes soft about a month after the start of feeding, when lactation becomes stable. Milk begins to be produced only when the baby suckles. The breast is never “empty”, in response to the sucking of the child, milk is constantly produced in it. If the mother is trying to fill her breasts for feeding, waiting for the breasts to “fill up”, she gradually reduces the amount of milk by such actions. The more mother attaches the child, the more milk, and not vice versa.
“The stomach needs to rest”
But the child's stomach doesn't work very well. Milk there only curdles and is quickly evacuated to the intestines, where the actual digestion and absorption takes place. This is the prejudice from the old song about feeding according to the schedule after 3 hours. The newborn does not have a clock. No mammal makes even intervals in feeding its newborns. The body of the child is adapted to the continuous flow of mother's milk, and he does not need to rest at all.
“After each feeding, keep the baby upright for 20 minutes”
Do not hold the baby upright after each feeding, especially if the baby has fallen asleep. Most of the time the baby lies on its side. If he burps a little, then the diaper just changes under his cheek. It is necessary to hold the artificial man vertically so that he does not spill the 120g poured into him. And we are talking about babies who are fed on demand and receive small portions of mother's milk. In addition, the cardiac sphincter of the stomach needs training, which it can only receive if the child is lying down.
“You need to sleep at night”
At night, you need to not only sleep, but suck your breast. Most newborn children are so arranged that they sleep from 10-11 pm to 3-4 am, then they begin to wake up and ask for breasts. In a child of the first month of life, applications in the morning hours (from 3 to 8) are usually 4-6. Night feedings with properly organized breastfeeding look something like this: the baby got worried, the mother put it to the breast, the baby sleeps sucking and the mother also sleeps, after a while he lets go of the breast and sleeps more soundly. And such episodes happen in a night 4-6. All this is easy to organize if the mother sleeps with her child, and for this she needs to be able to feed lying down in a comfortable position.
If the baby sleeps separately from the mother, in his own bed, then he stops waking up for morning feedings, sometimes already a week after birth, sometimes by 1.5-2 months. Most modern mothers take this with relief, because. for them, finally, the night running back and forth, nodding while sitting in a chair or on a bed over a sucking child, and some also pumped at night ... And here they are waiting for a pitfall called insufficient stimulation of prolactin and, as a result, a decrease in the amount of milk . A mother and her child are a wonderful self-regulating system. While the baby has a need to suck in the morning, his mother produces the maximum amount of prolactin, just from about 3 to 8 in the morning.
Prolactin is always present in the female body in small amounts, its concentration in the blood increases significantly after the baby begins to breastfeed, most of all it is obtained in the morning hours from 3 to 8 in the morning. Prolactin, which appeared in the morning, is engaged in the production of milk during the day. It turns out who sucks at night, stimulates his mother's prolactin and provides himself with a decent amount of milk during the day. And whoever fails to suckle at night, he can quite quickly be left without milk during the day. No mammal takes a nightly break from feeding its young.
“I lost my milk because of my “nerves””
Milk production depends on the hormone prolactin, the amount of which depends on the number of times the baby is latched on and nothing else. The experiences of the mother on any occasion do not affect him. But the release of milk from the breast depends on the hormone oxytocin, which is engaged in the fact that it contributes to the contraction of muscle cells around the lobules of the gland and thereby contributes to the flow of milk. The amount of this hormone is very dependent on the psychological state of the woman. If she is frightened, tired, in pain or in any other discomfort during feeding, oxytocin stops working and milk stops flowing from the breast. A child cannot suck it out, a breast pump does not express it, and it cannot come out with its hands ...
The manifestation of the “oxytocin reflex” was observed by every breastfeeding woman: when a mother hears the crying of a child (and not necessarily her own), her milk begins to leak. The body tells the mother that it is time to apply the baby. In a situation of stress or fear, nothing like this is observed. (Relationship to the ancient instinct of self-preservation: if a woman runs from a tiger and she smells of leaking milk, the tiger will find and eat her faster, so while she runs in fear through the jungle with a child under her arm, the milk will not leak when she gets to the safety of the cave - and calmly settle down to feed the child, the milk will come again.)
Modern stressful situations work like those tigers. In order for milk to flow out again, you must try to relax during feeding, think only about the child. You can drink soothing herbs, shoulder massage, calm conversation helps well. Anything to help you relax. And most modern mothers are not able to relax during feeding, it is uncomfortable for them to sit or lie down, it can be painful to feed - all this prevents the manifestation of the oxytocin reflex - milk remains in the breast, which leads to a decrease in lactation.
"The baby is too fat, it is necessary to limit the number of feedings and give water"
A breastfed child gains 125 to 500 g per week, or 500 to 2000 g per month. Usually, by 6 months, a child born with a weight of 3-3.5 kg weighs about 8 kg. The rate of gain is very individual, there is never any talk of "overfeeding", children who are actively gaining weight grow rapidly in length and look proportionate. Children who gain 1.5-2 kg per month in the first half of life, usually sharply reduce weight gain in the second half of the year and can weigh 12-14 kg by the year. There is never a need to limit the number of feedings, much less to give water.
“Baby lacks nutrients, from the age of 4 months he needs complementary foods”
The need for other food manifests itself in a child of about 6 months of age, when he begins to be actively interested in what everyone eats there. And if a mother takes a baby to the table with her, he begins to actively take an interest in the contents of his plate. This behavior is called active food interest, and it indicates that the child is ready to get acquainted with new food and can begin it. Nevertheless, breast milk remains the main food of the child in the first year of life, and in many cases even at the beginning of the second, contains absolutely all the nutrients the child needs and much more.
"A nursing mother should have a strict diet"
Food should be habitual. It is preferable not to use exotic foods in the diet that are not characteristic of the "native" climatic zone. A breastfeeding mother may have interesting nutritional needs, and they must be met in the same way as the desires of a pregnant woman. A woman should eat according to her appetite, and not stick food for two into herself. And, of course, you need to try to eat healthy food. Do not use products containing preservatives, dyes and other unhealthy substances.
“A child should be fed for no more than a year, then there is nothing useful in milk anyway”
After a year of lactation, the quality of milk does not deteriorate at all. Milk continues to be a source of all the necessary nutrients for the child, and in addition, it supplies enzymes that help the child absorb food, contains the baby's immune defenses, and a lot of other substances that are not found in artificial mixtures, or in baby food, or in food. adults (hormones, tissue growth factors, biologically active substances and much, much more).
And don't forget that breastfeeding is not only nutrition, it is a special way of communication between mother and baby. Breastfeeding is necessary not only to eat, but also, for example, to sleep peacefully, or to receive comfort, support in difficult times. All this is necessary not only in the first year of life.
Lilia Kazakova, pediatrician,
Head of Breastfeeding and Child Care Consultants.
Russian Union of Pediatricians
Home > Information for Parents > Advice to Parents > Diets for Different Ages
Introduction of complementary foods
How to introduce complementary foods correctly is one of the most pressing issues that concern parents.
In the first months of life, the main food for the baby is breast milk or an adapted milk formula, however, as the child grows and develops, this becomes insufficient and it is necessary to think about the introduction of complementary foods.
Your baby is over 4 months old. He has noticeably grown up, become more active, is interested in objects that fall into his field of vision, carefully examines them and reaches for them. The child's emotional reactions have become much richer: he smiles happily at all people, makes various sounds. Perhaps you notice that the child looks into your plate with interest, closely monitors what and how you eat, does this mean that it is time to introduce complementary foods? And where is the best place to start? Let's figure it out!
When should complementary foods be started?
According to the Program for optimizing the feeding of infants in the first year of life in the Russian Federation (2019), the recommended age for the introduction of complementary foods is in the range from 4 to 6 months.
The following points will help determine the readiness of the baby for the introduction of complementary foods:
1. Food interest - you can check its presence as follows: during your meal, give the baby an empty spoon or fork, and if he plays with it, licks it, then there is no food interest yet; but if the child is dissatisfied with the fact that the spoon is empty, food interest has probably appeared. “But how does a child understand that there should be food in a spoon?” Parents often ask. The answer is quite simple: take your baby to the table with you so that he can see how you eat!
2. The child can sit alone or with support. It is unacceptable to feed the child lying down, because he may choke.
3. Extinction of the “pushing out” reflex - when the baby pushes out of the mouth both the offered food and the pacifier, etc.
Why is it not recommended to introduce complementary foods before 4 and after 6 months of life?
Before 4 months of life, the baby is not yet ready to digest food other than breast milk or infant formula. By this age, a number of digestive enzymes mature, a sufficient level of local immunity is formed, which reduces the risk of developing allergic reactions, the child acquires the ability to swallow semi-liquid and thicker food, which is due to the extinction of the “spoon ejection reflex”. The introduction of complementary foods after 6 months can cause a pronounced deficiency of micronutrients (iron, zinc, etc.) and lead to a delay in the formation of chewing skills for thick foods. Too late the introduction of a variety of products increases the risk of allergic reactions. Remember that the timing of the introduction of complementary foods is set individually, taking into account the readiness of the child to accept new foods.
Complementary feeding guidelines:
1. introduce a new product in the first half of the day to track possible reactions to it;
2. cereals, vegetable / fruit / meat purees should be introduced, starting with monocomponent ones, gradually adding other products of this group;
3. start giving a new product with 1/2 teaspoon, gradually increasing the volume to the age norm within a week;
4. It is not recommended to introduce new products during acute infectious diseases or at some special moments (moving to another apartment, leaving the city, on vacation, illness of parents, etc.).
What is the best way to start complementary foods?
The first complementary food can be anything. Often parents worry that if the child first tries the fruit, then because of its sweet taste, he will refuse other foods. We hasten to reassure you: breast milk is also sweet, so babies may like sweet fruits / berries more, but this does not mean at all that he will refuse vegetables or cereal. Traditionally, they begin to introduce complementary foods in the form of mashed potatoes, but if the child shows interest in “pieces”, then, observing the safety rules, you can give them. Also, along with the introduction of complementary foods, you can offer the child water.
With the start of the introduction of complementary foods, the child is gradually transferred to a 5-time feeding regimen. If the baby shows that he is full and no longer wants to eat (for example, leaning back or turning away from food), then you should not continue to force him to feed, because this can lead to eating disorders in the future. Also, do not force the child to eat as much as possible before bedtime in the hope that he will not wake up for nightly feedings.
Traditionally, in our country, complementary foods begin with vegetables or cereals.
Vegetables: zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, etc. If the child did not like the dish, for example, broccoli, do not give up on your plan and continue to offer this vegetable in small quantities daily, you can even not once, but 2-3 times, and after a while (7-14 days) the baby will get used to the new taste. This diversifies his diet, will help form the right taste habits in the child.
As for cereals, it is worth starting with dairy-free gluten-free ones - buckwheat, corn, rice. You can use commercial baby food porridge, which is enriched primarily with iron. In addition, such porridge is already ready to eat, you just need to dilute it with water, which will save you a lot of time.
It is also recommended to add oil to food, for example, vegetable puree to vegetable puree, and butter to porridge.
Of meat products, lean meats, such as mashed turkey or rabbit, are most preferred to start complementary foods. Meat puree contains iron, which is easily absorbed, and adding meat to vegetables improves the absorption of this micronutrient from them. Subsequently, the daily use of children's enriched porridge and mashed meat allows you to meet the needs of babies for iron, zinc and other micronutrients.
When introducing fruit purees (apple, pear, peach, prunes, etc.) into your baby's diet, you should pay special attention to the composition of the product - it is important that it does not contain added sugar.
Fish is a source of easily digestible protein and contains a large amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including the omega-3 class, as well as vitamins B2, B12, and minerals. Preference should be given to oceanic fish, preferably white (cod, hake, pollock, sea bass, etc.), salmon can be recommended from red, and pike perch from river.
Fermented milk products are prepared using a special starter culture that breaks down milk protein, so that the baby can get an indispensable set of amino acids in a well-available form. Some foods have added prebiotics, certain vitamins and minerals. Their regular use favorably affects the functioning of the intestines, increases appetite and the absorption of micronutrients.
Recommendations and timing of the introduction of complementary foods for children at risk of developing food allergies and suffering from food allergies are the same as for healthy children. Delayed introduction of highly allergenic foods has previously been recommended to prevent the development of allergic diseases in children at risk. There is now evidence that this practice may lead to an increase rather than a decrease in the incidence of food allergies. The most common highly allergenic foods include cow's milk, chicken eggs, soybeans, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and fish. If a child has a high risk of developing allergies or an existing allergic disease, it is recommended to consult a pediatrician, an allergist-immunologist before introducing highly allergenic products.
By the age of 8 months, when all the main food groups have already been introduced and your baby is improving his skills to eat on his own, special attention should be paid to the diversity of the composition of dishes and the change in food consistency - from puree to finely and coarsely ground. Soft foods cut into small pieces (fruits, vegetables, meat, etc.) are perfect for a little gourmet, which diversifies his diet and will contribute to the formation of chewing skills.
By 9-12 months, most babies have the dexterity to drink from a cup (holding with both hands) and to eat foods prepared for other family members. This behavior needs to be encouraged, but combined with regular feeding to meet energy and nutrient requirements.
It is advisable to use industrial products that are designed specifically for young children after a year.
What should not be given to the baby?
It is not recommended to add salt or sugar to food to enhance the taste.
Drinks that should be avoided include fruit juices, whole cow and goat milk (whole milk is not recommended for children under one year old, and even longer, due to a high risk of developing iron deficiency and increased kidney stress), sweet fruit drinks, compotes and carbonated drinks.
Also, some foods should be excluded from the diet of infants: solid round foods (for example, nuts, grapes, raw carrots, raisins, peas, etc.), due to the fact that the child can choke on them.
It is not recommended to eat products with added sugar, for example, confectionery (marshmallow, marshmallow, marmalade, jam, jam, cookies, waffles, etc.), etc.
You should not give your child the meat of large predatory fish (shark, bigeye tuna, king mackerel, swordfish): these types of fish accumulate more harmful substances than others.
It is forbidden to give honey to children under one year old due to the fact that it may contain spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which in the still immature digestive system of babies are able to multiply, produce toxins directly inside the intestines and, thus, cause infant botulism, which can be fatal. outcome.
Do not give babies raw meat, fish, eggs, caviar, salted fish, soft pickled cheeses because of the risk of intestinal infections.
If you follow all these simple rules, your baby will grow up healthy and happy!
Diets for different ages
1. Methodological recommendations. The program for optimizing the feeding of children in the first year of life in the Russian Federation. [Internet]. - M.: Union of Pediatricians of Russia, 2019. [Methodicheskie rekomendaczii. Programma optimizaczii vskarmlivaniya detej pervogo goda zhizni v Rossijskoj Federaczii. [Internet]. – Moscow: Soyuz pediatrov Rossii, 2019.