John is in town after his cross country (China) trip with his students, I can’t wait to see all his pictures from the trip and I am so happy he brought the book I wanted – Super Baby Food (by Ruth Yaron). Michael and I have been thinking about this important topic for a while: when to start solids, what first foods we should give to our babies, etc.
I already started reading the book and it’s quite good. I was surprised to find out that Ruth had twin boys as well and she gave a lot of great information on many questions we had previously. We know we should not start solids early, at least till they complete six months of age (for six reasons that I totally agree with such as diminishing milk supply, and damaging digestive system from lacking enzymes that helps with digesting complex carbohydrates, triggering allergies, etc.) but it looks like it’s not too good to wait too long either, even though some parents feel very strongly about not giving their children solids until they had their first birthdays. The negative impact of waiting past 8 months to give them solids is that lack of certain vitamins may delay their growth. So it looks like the magic time to start solids is at 7th month, so we will start after our trip to Xiamen, which is the beginning of 2011.
Regarding the choices of first foods, we will probably start with millet porridge, avocado, and raw vegetables, of course over a period of time, each first food should be introduced separately and then we will follow a four-day rule to see if they have any allergic reaction to it. We are a bit concerned of giving them rice cereal, even though rice is easy to digest but it does raise the sugar level and we want to be very cautious about carbohydrates. Also fruits like mashed banana is a concern for us that it may give them a “sweet tooth”, as Ruth stated, “Bland is the Best”, which I agree, no sugary or salty foods, at least at the very beginning. Everything we need we already have them in the organic form, however, avocado is the exception, and it is an excellent choice, it doesn’t need to be cooked (cooking greatly decreases the nutritional value of foods), and it has ton of fatty acids that helps with the brain development and it’s easy to digest. The trick is to find organic avocado since it’s not a common food in China. I’ve tried making mashed spinach already, using a blender to puree raw leafy vegetables works but I want to start with bok choy (leafy parts only) first since it’s a easier choice for their tender stomach and it’s nutritionally more valuable.
We found out that our boys do have a minor allergic reaction to dairy products, once I stopped taking yoghurt, even though it is the best thing for them, the rashes on their faces were gone. The bacteria in yoghurt cleanse the intestines and promotes the growth of many beneficial enzymes, therefore improving one’s immunity in general. I can get the organic milk and organic pure yoghurt (no sugar added), but usually the optimum time to consume yoghurt is within 3 days, which means the commercially made yoghurt lost most of its live cultures already when they reach us, so I bought a yoghurt maker (for only 7 US dollars, hooray!!!), because the cow milk based yoghurt will still be a problem for its protein and salt content, I am thinking about using breast milk to get home-made yoghurt. This way, I will be able to maintain my milk supply as well once we start supplementing solids. My aunt and I tried making yoghurt yesterday with regular milk, it was so easy – all we need to do is to add 5% volume of tyoghurt into the milk, then place it in the machine, add some water, plug it in and leave it for 5~8 hours, take it out let it sit for 24 hours in the fridge.