7 Signs Your Baby is Ready for Solids
Ready for Solids?
As beautiful (and portable, and inexpensive and simple...) as nursing was, eventually I knew there'd come a time when my little ones would be ready for solid foods! I’d like to share a few queues to watch for, so that when your baby is showing signs, you'll be ready to read them.
The World Health Organization1,2, the American Academy of Paediatric's3 and many other medical and scientific experts4,5,6 recommend feeding babies only breast milk until 6 months. However, the AAP suggests delaying until4–6 months for infants who are formula-fed.7 There are typically two camps: they either recommend starting between 4 and 6 months OR at 6 months. As you see, there is no solid consensus between public health and professional organizations when it comes to the timing of food introduction.
Why delay solids?
Research shows that being ready for solids is dependant on both the maturity of baby’s GI tract, and baby’s developmental readiness for solids. I know we can’t really take a peek inside to see how our little ones’ digestive tracts are maturing, but research indicates that holding off on solids until 4-6 months appears to be ideal for avoiding increased illness and other health risks of too-early solids.8,9 In fact, studies show that introducing solids before 3-4 months can increase the risk of eczema at age 10, celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, and increase the risk for obesity in childhood.10,11,12,13 It can also cause poor digestion, which results in gas, constipation or other unwanted symptoms.
Keep in mind, during the 4-6 month window, babies are ready for solids at different times. Said best by British pediatrician Martin Ward Platt: “The weaning debate has been largely predicated on the notion that there is some magic age at which, or from which, it is in some sense ‘‘safe’’ or ‘‘optimal’’ to introduce solids. Yet it is highly counterintuitive that such an age exists. In what other area of developmental biology is there any such rigid age threshold for anything? We all recognize that age thresholds are legal inventions to create workable rules and definitions, and have no meaning in physiology or development, yet when we talk about weaning we seem to forget this".14
At the end of the day, it really depends on the individual child. At Superfood Babies we recommend looking out for Signs Of Readiness as a better indication of when to start solids, instead of using a specific age.
From our experience, the sweet spot when babies are ready tends to be close to the 6 month mark, although some kids may be ready sooner. That being said, based on the current research, we would not suggest solids before 4 months and we wouldn’t suggest waiting much longer than 6 months. Waiting longer than 6 months for a breastfed baby could be detrimental. This is because breast milk is not a great source of iron. Babies before 6 months of age thrive off of the iron stores they saved up from birth. Babies who benefited from delayed cord clamping will have even more iron stores to benefit from. Sometime around the 6 month mark, this critical nutrient needs to start coming from their food.15
Now let’s talk Signs Of Readiness so you know what to look out for and when your baby is ready.
Signs Of Readiness
Key developmental signs to watch for, to know your baby is ready to unleash their inner foodie.
1) They can sit up on their own, with minimal support and hold their head up.16,17
2) When something comes towards their face, they open their mouths (sounds like a no brainer, right?!).
3) Seems interested in what you're eating, and will watch the food travel from your plate to your mouth, may even make chewing gestures.
4) They can communicate with you when they're all done by turning their head away from food.
5) Continues to be hungry despite more frequent nursing (not related to illness or teething).
6) Your baby has the oral motor skills to handle solid foods. Baby doesn't push solids out of their mouth - they've lost their tongue thrust.18 (Note: Some baby's are still learning this skill when they start solids, however, if you start solids earlier than 6 months and notice them struggling with this, wait a little longer and try again)
7) They can pincer grasp - pick up foods with their finger and thumb. (optional)
In conclusion, when to start feeding solids is your choice and depends on your little one! It has to feel right to you, and your baby. I was pressured to start earlier, but knowing the Signs Of Readiness helped me stay strong and wait until my little ones were truly ready.
Join me at the Live And Learn Stage [check the schedule here!] where I share the latest research for growing a healthy child. I’ll tell you about the 3 most commonly missed but critical nutrients in your little’s diet. And share my best meal prep tips to make the feeding journey a simple yet fun adventure. Looking forward to seeing you there. In the meantime, feel free to join our tribe of parents in our private Facebook group called “Superfood Babies”.
Tips from busy moms on how to juggle the struggle from pregnancy to toddlers this fall
With Contributions by Lisa Caning, Jenn Pike and Samantha Montpetit-Huynh
Not sure how to handle it all? Want to know how other moms seem to have “it” all together? Here are tips from three moms who have a combo of 11 children between them! They all balance work, kids and even squeeze in some much sought after “me” time once in while!
From balancing your calendar, to body image pre and post pregnancy to managing your raging hormones these three moms have strategies to help the busiest of parents create more calm and balance in their lives.
Want to delve deeper into each topic? Join each of them on stage at the Babytime show from Friday, November 16-Sunday, November 18 – visit www.babytimeshows.ca where you can find times to see each of them present.
Lisa Canning, https://lisacanning.ca/, mom of seven children ages nine and under, is an interior design expert, life-balance coach, and an advocate for good mental health. Want to know how this busy mom of seven stays sane in a house full of children and is still able to run a successful business? Here are Lisa’s top tips to live a balanced life:
· Invest time rather than spend it. In the whirlwind of life, it can feel so easy to feel like time is slipping from away from us, sometimes it feels like time is slipping out right from under us! So just like money, think about creating boundaries on your time that allow you to invest it, rather than spend it! Invest in a regular date night with your spouse, invest in aimless time with your kids, invest in time for yourself, and protect it, fight for it.
· Automate as much of your life as you can. Take advantage of a click and collect grocery service every week. Have toilet paper delivered to the house on a monthly basis. Plan your outfits on Sunday night in advance of the week. The less decisions you need to make in the everyday things allows you to offer more energy to the truly important things.
· Declutter. When our spaces feel overwhelming, it’s really easy for us to get overwhelmed. Commit to decluttering regularly.
Jenn Pike, https://jennpike.com/ is an RHN (registered holistic nutritionist) specializing in Women's Health and Hormones, yoga instructor, and mother of two who talks and teaches about all things hormones. Here are Jenn’s top three tips for balancing hormones.
· Ensure each meal and snack has a balance of fibre, fat and protein to help keep your blood sugar in check, your energy supported, adrenals balanced and you feeling satiated. Without the right balance of nutrientsyour blood sugar will drop leaving you tired, cranky, nauseous, light-headed and feeling like "I need to eat something, anything right now or else!" Try this Wonder Woman smoothie recipe as a great start to your day or quick meal on the go
· Prioritize your sleep. I know that sounds crazy BUT lack of proper sleep and rest will increase your stress hormone cortisol and inflammation throughout your body, decrease your resiliency and immune system. The most optimal time for sleep as a women for hormonal health is bed no later than 10/10:30pm and to sleep for at least 7.5 -9hrs.
· Hydrate!! It sounds so simple and completely un-sexy so how could it possibly help your hormones so much? If you are not hydrated right out of the gates in the morning and throughout your day your digestion will slow, energy will slow, cravings will be up and your bowel transit time will slow (yup, I mean pooping. Aim for one full glass, about 500ml of water when you wake and an extra 1.5-2 litres throughout the rest of your day. Omit your plastic water bottles and choose glass or stainless steel instead.
Samantha Montpetit-Huynh, https://www.belliesinc.com/directory/samantha-montpetit-huynh-co-founder/ is a mother of two beautiful girls, a pre and postnatal core and pelvic floor rehab coach with over 15 years in the industry has a mission to help moms re-connect, feel strong and love their bodies again. Here is are her simple tips for "keeping it together" during pregnancy, after birth and throughout motherhood.
· Stay moving as much as possible during pregnancy. Think “preparing your body for recovery while still pregnant”! The W.H.O. (World Health Organization) recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week and this does not change during pregnancy if you are having a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy. Moderate intensity means getting your heart rate up and working at about 12-14 out of 20. This is more than walking your dog or going to prenatal yoga. Think about training for the biggest event of your life. Labour and birth is a marathon and should be treated as such.
· After birth, focus on re-training before training. Learn to connect to your deep system (your Core 4); which has been significantly impacted from pregnancy and birth. This is important to ensure that you are safely returning back to exercise with a strong foundation. Be sure to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist at 6 weeks postpartum before returning to high impact exercise.
· Be realistic. Pregnancy and birth is a BIG deal and requires patience and time to fully recover. No two pregnancies are the same so try not to compare yourself with “the Jone’s” when it comes down to exercise. Follow your instincts and do what feels good – not what you think (or someone told you) that you “should” be doing. Set realistic goals and be easy on yourself. Giving birth is probably the most physically demanding thing you will ever do so take it slow and don’t push yourself. You will get there when you are ready.
Top 5 Misconceptions About Birth
By Helping Hands Doula
1. Water breaking is the start of labour
Whaaaaat! In every movie you’ve ever seen, this happens either before or soon after the first contraction. Water breaking, the amniotic sac surrounding baby in the uterus, only breaks first in about 5-10% of births. In most cases, a woman experiences many hours or contractions and the water breaks spontaneously in active labour at the hospital or during the pushing phase. Even more so, most women have their water broken by their doctor or midwife at some point in their labour.
2. Pushing is the hardest part
The most intense time during labour is the period known as transition. This is the ending of the first stage, as the cervix is between 7-10 cm dilated. Contractions at this stage, tend to be the strongest, and very close together; between 2-3 minutes apart, lasting 60-90 seconds. If you do the math, you are looking at around 30 seconds of rest in between. This can be a very overwhelming time.
Pushing on the other hand can feel like a sense of relief as you can work with the contractions to bring baby down the birth canal. Think of really needing to make a bowel movement and then finally finding a toilet.
3. Missing the window of an epidural
I’m sure you have heard this from at least more than one person, that by the time they decided on using an epidural, it was too late to get one. To understand why this scenario can happen, it is important to know how epidurals work. Epidurals are designed to take away the sensation of contractions or cramping but not the sensation of pressure. Pressure is typically felt more and more as a woman is getting close to pushing and is the main sensation during the pushing stage. So, when a woman asks for an epidural when pushing is imminent, the relief an epidural can bring is not very useful. It is not that an epidural is off the table at that point, just likely not much of a benefit to you. An epidural can be given at any time in the pushing phase, keeping in mind that baby isn’t super close to being born. Epidurals and all the tools that come along with an epidural take roughly 30 minutes to administer.
4. Epidurals take away all sensations
Epidurals paint the picture that they make the whole birthing process smooth & easy. Don’t get us wrong, epidurals are an amazing tool for many labouring moms, however, epidurals don’t work 100% for everyone. Around 1 in 10 epidurals are not fully functional, meaning the dosage needs to be adjusted or the epidural needs to be re-administered. If you are experiencing contractions all over or in patchy areas, it is suggested to use other tools in conjunction such as breathing, position changes, massage and distraction.
5. A Doula is the same as a Midwife
Not in the slightest! A midwife is responsible for the medical care and safety of labouring mom and baby, just like a doctor. Doulas work well with clients in the care of either Midwives or Doctors, as they focus on the physical, emotional and information needs of expecting families. Think of a wedding planner but for the birth, they help with all the preparations to get you ready for the most important day of your life and are there in the moment to help reduce stress in meeting your baby.
There are lots of things that we have learned in our experience that are unknown to most expecting families. Join us at the Expert Stage daily for ‘Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum-UNCENSORED “Everything you Need To Know that NO-ONE tells you”.
7 Steps to Exercising During Pregnancy
By Samantha Montpetit-Huynh
And let’s not forget feeling “heavy,” the 2 “c’s” (crappy and crabby) and just an overall urge to punch someone in the face because you can no longer bend over and tie your shoes without passing out! It is also possible to feel better thanks to good hormones released during exercise, better self-confidence and more that comes with exercise.
You do have the power to control the way your pregnancy progresses, and how you feel. It is simple, really: limit not-so-good foods, eat your veggies and move your body on a regular basis.
But getting started, and knowing how to be safe, can feel challenging. So here is my guide to exercising in pregnancy. I’ll break it down to 7 steps.
Step 1. If you already exercise, the “higher ups” (your OBGYN, midwife, family doctor or pelvic floor physiotherapist) will tell you it is 100% safe to continue doing what your body was already used to doing as long as you are having a safe, uncomplicated pregnancy. And you heed my warnings in step 3.
Step 2. Forget the old advice that you shouldn’t start to exercise if you haven’t ever before. Remember: pregnancy is NOT a disease and if there is any time in your life when you should exercise, it’s when you are pregnant!! You are growing a person, which is a pretty big deal, so the healthier the host, the better the outcome. However, this is not the time to start anything with high intensity i.e. bootcamps, running, body pump etc. Just be smart and talk with your health team first.
Step 3. Which brings me to… Avoid high impact. This is where I sometimes get into heated debates with runners and cross-fit “believers” who ask “what’s the harm?” The harm is – to your vagina!! And I don’t mince words. If you had a bowling ball sitting on your vagina and you power lifted 200lbs over your head or decided to run a half marathon, what do you think is happening down below? We already know the immense amount of pressure that is created during pregnancy. The weight load goes from approximately 2-4lbs to 20lbs and the pelvic floor muscles that support your vagina, rectum and pelvic organs aren’t very big. Add MORE weight and MORE pounding and well, gravity isn’t so forgiving. Babies in utero absolutely benefit from cardiovascular and other forms of training during pregnancy but your pelvic floor doesn’t. Modifying intensity to train smart until you recover after pregnancy. This is the best way to ensure everything is “in its place” in the end. Unsure of what this means? See a pelvic floor physiotherapist or train with a fitness professional certified in prenatal exercise.
Step 4. Focus on your core. Your core is your central hub, or your home base from which everything else extends. Your pelvic floor is the foundation of your core, so it’s obviously the most important part of training your core and optimizing overall function. The Core Breath does just that – it teaches the body mechanics of your diaphragm and how it relates to the pelvic floor, transversus abdominis and mutilfidus. It is the starting point from which to build. Our Core Confidence Program was created for pregnancy because the best way to prepare for ANY recovery is before the big event!!
Step 5. Stay regular. And I don’t mean on the toilet (although that’s important too) but be consistent in your exercise regime. Babies benefit from adapting to the physiological changes exercising mothers create when they move (blood pressure and heart rate changes). This prepares them for labour and delivery. Inconsistency almost does more harm than good; without the consistency there can’t be the slow adaptation. Start slow and build but be consistent. A 30 minute walk most days of the week is a great strategy.
Step 6. Listen to your body. You may see women pushing themselves with a “no excuses” attitude (which I regularly preach to my clients). There is a difference between making excuses and just feeling off. Pregnancy is a funny thing; some days you feel amazing and some days you feel like you were hit by a truck. Listen to the signs and know when to back off (it’s temporary and rest is needed to get through). The horse will always be there to get back onto as soon as you are able.
And Step 7. If you’re still not feeling confident, get yourself a personal trainer who specializes in pre and postnatal fitness. She can guide you properly on what you should and should not do. You can find a list on our website here to help you find a qualified trainer in your area.
Want to learn more from Samantha? Be sure to attend her seminar Exercise in Pregnancy with a Strong Focus on Diastasis and Pelvic Health @ 3 pm Saturday April 28 on the Expert Seminar Stage.
Original blog can be found here.