FAQ about solid foods - nutrition 6-12 months by Mirna Sabbagh - Adult and Child Nutritionist Dubai

FAQ ABOUT STARTING SOLIDS 6-12 MONTHS COURSE

By Mirna Sabbagh, Dietitian and IBCLC

Mirna Sabbagh, an adult and child dietitian, nutritionist, and lactation consultant sees patients physically in Dubai, and also does online consultations for weight loss for adults and children, pick eating and  other services. In addition, she also has several digital courses: breastfeeding course,  starting solids 6-12 months course, child nutrition for all children including picky eaters, and also a weight loss course for adults that you can sign up for from the comfort of your home. You can also e-mail Mirna for questions on info@mirnaelsabbagh.com

 

What do I answer below?:

1. I don’t know how to cook, can you send me recipe ideas?

2. My baby is not eating what I am cooking, how do I help my baby eat more?

3. When should I move from purees into more advanced textures?

4. When and how can I offer finger foods?

5. Do I have to cook the fruits or vegetables inside the food teether?

6. How much water shall I give my baby?

7. Can I give kiwis, strawberries, tomatoes and lemon? What fruits are not allowed?

8. Any meat, chicken, and fish is okay? How do I cook it?

9. Which oats shall I buy? How do I cook it?

10. Which cheese or yogurt can I give babies?

11. How can I give bread?

12. How do I know if my baby's growth is normal?

13. Can I give my baby frozen vegetables or can I freeze food?

14. What spices can I offer my baby?

15. How can I offer nuts for my baby.

1. I don’t know how to cook, can you send me recipe ideas?

 

I didn’t know how to cook either when I had Karim. I learned bit by bit. We all start somewhere. Ask your mom or mother in law how to make a few stews and try them out for you and your baby. An adventurous baby should be eating home made food similar to their parents but without the salt. You can add the salt in the end.

 

Recommendations:

1. My recipe book is found in your case. It has many easy recipe ideas for the family. Remember you can offer ALL family foods without the salt, sugar, honey and fresh dairy.

2. I recommend @rana_cooks on Instagram. She makes amazing healthy recipes for children

3. You can always go for Annabel Karmel books, she makes simple recipes. I wouldn’t recommend that the Annabel Karmel books are all you cook because then your baby wouldn’t get used to our middle eastern flavors.

5. I would recommend Joe Wicks books for cooking as well. He makes simple and easy recipes

 

No woman started cooking as an expert.  If you’re interested in me giving you cooking training, I am more than happy to help you with my private cooking program which is a weekly phone call over 4 weeks so you can cook the major dishes.

Do you want a recipe idea? Try the following peas stew recipe or this lentil soup recipe for your baby today. Skip the salt.

 

2. My baby is not eating what I am cooking

 

Well, this can be a struggle for many moms and it makes them really upset. Please remember that children are moody and it’s normal for them to want something and not want it the next day.

 

Whenever you offer food especially if it’s new, don’t have high expectations of how much they’ll eat.

 

Here is what you should ask yourself if your baby is not eating

 

  1. Does my food have flavor? Many babies do not eat because the food is too bland. Try to sauté in a little bit of olive oil, some spices, and garlic instead of steaming food. Or try offering them home made foods that you have without the salt.
  2. Is my baby too full? Offering food for a baby who just had breastmilk or formula of course will end in disappointment because the baby is already full. Try to give them 1-1.5 hours after milk to offer food again
  3. Do I keep repeating the same foods? Babies get bored too! If we keep offering them the same food, of course they may reject it out of boredom.
  4. Am I being too pushy? When offering food please allow your baby to have fun and explore. If they feel like they are being pushed to eat they will probably not eat.
  5. Is my baby sitting comfortably? Make sure your baby is sitting comfortably and their feet have somewhere to rest so they can eat better. Also, please check the following few posts on the correct spoon and positioning
    1. Small spoon is more comfortable for the baby to self feed
    2. The baby's chest should be above the table and not below the table.
    3. The baby's legs should be comfortable
  6. Is my baby too sleepy or too stimulated? Babies will naturally say no to food when they are too sleepy or too tired. Avoid giving food around those times.
  7. Is my baby teething? Babies often eat much less when they are teething. On those days try giving them more pureed food that is more comfortable for their gums.

 

Always remember, your baby may be eating well even if it was a few spoons. It can be just a phase. If it continues to go on, I recommend you get in touch with me for a consultation so we can figure out why this is happening and develop a solution.

 

3. When should I move from purees?

 

You can move from purees to fork mashed within the same month. Babies do have this ability. You can even give VERY soft finger foods for your baby. Ofcourse, please make sure you attend a first aid class to know what to do in case of choking. 

Afraid from choking, listen to this video 

Mirna Sabbagh adult and child nutritionist in Dubai

4. When and how can I offer finger foods?

 

Finger foods are okay from 8-9 months. They should be very soft as for the baby to be able to gum them. Options are:

  1. Fruits: Sliced thin Mangoes, Sliced thin Kiwis, Sliced thin Bananas, sliced avocados are just a few examples
  2. Vegetables: Steamed carrots, steamed asparagus, steamed peas, steamed sweet potato
  3. Proteins: cooked eggs cut very small, very thin shredded chicken, minced meat, tuna, steamed salmon shredded, shredded cheese, steamed edamame cut in half, steamed chickpeas cut in half
Mirna Sabbagh adult and child nutritionist in Dubai

 

5. Do I have to cook the fruits or vegetables inside the food teether?

 

The food teether or feeder is a great way to get children to try foods without worrying about choking. You do NOT have to cook the fruits inside it or the vegetables. It can be a great way to sooth gums during teething especially if you add cold or frozen fruits inside it like grapes.

Mirna Sabbagh adult and child nutritionist In dubai

 

I have all my product recommendations on this link on Amazon

 

6. How much water shall I give my baby?

 

The official recommendation is to give 0.5 cups to 1 cup of water(240 ml) a day . If your baby does not like the water, it’s okay. Keep offering it after meals in a few sips and they will eventually pick up the habit.

 

Try giving your baby an open cup if they do not like their bottle for water. It works like a charm for many moms.

 

7. Can I give kiwis, strawberries, tomatoes and lemon? What fruits are not allowed?

 

No fruits are not allowed. You would only stop a fruit if your baby has a reaction to it.

 

8. Any meat, chicken, eggs and fish is okay? How do I cook it?

 

Proteins are okay for babies such as chicken, meat, and fish. When it comes down to babies, it is better if we can give the best quality we can find, however it Is not necessary.

 

Meat: Organic is best. If not organic then grass fed beef is amazing. Any beef cut is fine. Fatty cuts may be too strong in flavor for babies. I would opt for lean meat.

Chicken: Organic free range chicken is the best. If not then least free range chicken or antibiotic and hormone free chicken

Fish: Wild salmon is amazing, however, if you don’t find any salmon is okay. Tuna is also fine, try to look for tuna brands that are in glass storage or a can that says BPA free.

Steaming foods is not the most delicious thing on the planet, thus many babies don’t like it! Cook the meat the way you would do it for your family!

For your little ones, cook the meat and chicken until they are very soft and shredded. Minced meat is generally safe for babies.

Eggs: Eggs are given scrambled, boiled, sunny side up or in any way! As long as it's cooked well. If your baby has had olive oil with no reaction (as most don't have a reaction) feel free to add olive oil and herbs.

As long as the yellow is not runny, it is fine to offer eggs anyway you like.

If you’re looking for a consultation to help you with cooking I am more than happy to help you with a weekly phone call over 4 weeks so you can cook the major dishes. Let me know if you are interested send me message on info@mirnaelsabbagh.com

 

 

9. Which oats shall I buy? How do I cook it?

 

Plain oats are all great for our bodies. In the market it may seem like there’s 7000 kinds.  Steel cut oats, rolled oats, and instant oats are all made from the same oat! I usually get rolled oats and cook them. 

 

The most important thing is to read the ingredients. Some brands have oat products for babies but those oat products include sugars. You want to avoid them. Some packs are pre-mixed with fruits. Again, please read the ingredients. It may be better to mix your fruits at home.

 

You can cook oats in formula, breastmilk, or even water. You can mash a banana on the side and add crushed almonds and walnuts.

Oats do not have to be soaked. Simply cook them until they are soft. If it's not that soft and you are more comfortable blending it. Feel free to do so.

Are you looking for a more detailed answer, check this video

10. Which cheese or yogurt can I give babies?

Dairy is high in calcium and can affect iron absorption which is what babies really need. I suggest not giving dairy (yogurt or cheese) more than once a day.

 

 In addition, cheeses tend to be very high in sodium and babies should not have more than 200-400 mg of sodium (salt) all day. The baby’s kidneys are not equipped to handle salt yet and it may be dangerous for them.

 

When you do give yogurt or cheese it is important that they are low on sodium. Some good options are:

  1. Goat cheese (if there is a pack please check the sodium levels)
  2. Ricotta cheese
  3. Swiss cheese
  4. Fresh mozzarella (not shredded)

How about yogurt?

 

When choosing yogurt I prefer organic and definitely unsweetened yogurt. It can be greek or not. The most important part is that you do not get one with salt added! You can give 1/2 a cup to 1 cup a day.

 

How about labneh?

As with the above recommendations please make sure babies are not having labneh without you checking the salt content. Babies don’t need more than a tbsp of labneh and when you do offer Labneh please make sure you do not offer any other source of yogurt or cheese that day to avoid excess sodium intake.

You can also make your own homemade cheese. It's actually quite easy!! Check my homemade cheese recipe here.

Do you have any other questions? E-mail us on info@mirnaelsabbagh.com

 

11. How can I give bread?

 

You can give babies bread but not more than once a day because most bread options do tend to be high in salt. When making toast make sure it is soft for babies, if it’s not soft you can add milk or water to it to make it easier to eat. When offering toast make sure it’s thinly cut or cut really small for babies to eat.

You can add on top of it avocadoes, hummus, ect.

Want to listen to a podcast episode that discusses tricky food labels on bread? Click on "5 tricky food labels"

12. How do I know if my baby's growth is normal?

You can input your baby's details in this link if you need support with your baby's weight or you have concerns, please talk to your pediatrician and exclude any medical reasons and then you can book an online consultation with me and I can help you with the foods to help your baby with their weight gain.

13. Can I give my baby frozen vegetables or can I freeze food?

Yes, you definitely can! Frozen food many times has more nutrients than the vegetables at the supermarket. As for freezing food after cooking, yes you can as long as you freeze it on the same day of cooking or next day. The reason is cooked food loses nutritional value quickly in the fridge and much slower in the freezer. 

Want to listen to a  free podcast episode about food safety? Click on "Common food mistakes women make that may cause food poisoning"

14. What spices can I give my baby?

Research shows that spices for babies are okay! Cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, garlic powder, even black pepper is okay for babies. Just be careful that the spice mix does not include salt or sugar.

15. How do I offer nuts to my baby?

Nuts are safe for babies who do not have food allergies. The best way to offer them is to crush them until they are in powder format and then add a small amount over porridges or in food.