Thursday, May 31, 2012

Twins 101: Weaning to Solids

First 'Solid' Food: Charlotte and Daniel at 16 weeks / 4 months
A recent conversation with K, my good friend who has a 12 week young newborn brought back memories of my twins' first taste of 'solid' food and it dawned on me that I have not documented this process (ever)! Oh dear me. Since this blog is created as a journal for my children, I better record this.

There are many views about when the appropriate age is to introduce 'solid' food to babies. Well, the definition of 'solid' food is laughable since the consistency is not exactly solid! Some say 4 months, some say 6 months and I know of others who have their first taste at 8 months or older.

This is my experience and once again, every baby and mother/father/carer is different. This is how I knew my children were ready:
  • Their pediatrician told me that they will be from 4 months onwards
  • The twins' reflux issues were overcome at 14 weeks
  • The twins could support their own necks very well
  • The twins would stare at me and my mouth whenever I chewed
  • The twins were drinking in excess of 250ml of formula every 3 hours (during day light hours) and still grizzly!
Step 1: Baby Cereal
There are many brands of baby cereals in the marketplace and I chose Farex because it's been around since Jared was a baby and also the generation before!

For their first taste, I mixed 1 tbsp of Farex with their formula milk and stirred it well until it formed a very smooth and slightly watery consistency. Another important note: Give this first meal to them at lunch time so that if there is any allergy issues whatsoever, you can see it and take the appropriate action - see your GP straight away. One meal per day is more than enough for young babies. Remember, milk is still the most important food for babies.

After about 3 days of Farex Baby Cereal, they were used to having the spoon in their mouths and knew how to lick, chew and swallow, I went to step 2.


Pureed Carrots -
can be frozen in the fridge and reheated in microwave
Step 2: Introduce their first sweet vegetable
Pureeing vegetables is really easy and there are many all-in-one cook-blender type contraptions on the market to make it even easier. My choice of implementations include microwave, microwave container and hand blender because I already have those.

I chopped the carrots into small cubes. Place it in micorwave container with a little water and microwaved for about 6 - 8 minutes or until soft. Then used hand blender and pureed it into a smooth consistency using the water in the container which contains all the lovely nutrients (as seen above).

By Day 4, each child was taking 1 - 2 cubes. Yes, my children loved their food right from the start and I am very very fortunate.

By the end of the week, they will be asking for more and you will be bored of feeding the same old same old.

Tip: To make weaning a pleasure for you and your child, choose vegetables that are naturally sweet like carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, etc.


(L to R: Pumpkin-Carrot-Sweet Potato, Pumpkin-Carrot-Potato-Zucchini, Pear-Apple-Mango)
Step 3: Let the combinations begin! (by week 2)
This is where the fun begins. Make up combinations of vegetables and fruit as seen above! Remember, that milk is still the most important food for the baby. Keep the 'solid' food meal to once a day.

Step 4: When they turn 6 months, introduce meat! Yes, meat!
By 6 months, they should be sitting in their high chairs during 'solid' food time. If they are not quite supporting themselves yet but are capable of supporting their necks, place cushions around them in the high chair to keep their backs straight and to prevent them from 'flopping' around.

As you can see from step 3, the combinations can be really fun. Hence by 6 months, I started making beef and vegetable casseroles with their favourite vegetables and blending them till they were of smooth consistency. I always cooked in bulk, freezed them into single portions and re-heated in microwave. Again, I am very very lucky that my children enjoy their food.

Here are some meat casserole combinations:
  • Beef, pumpkin, carrots, celery, sweet potato, zucchini, spinach, red lentils, tinned tomatoes, water
  • Chicken, corn, pea, carrots, celery, potatoes, broccoli, water
  • Pork, apple, pumpkin, peas, corn, zucchini, spinach, water
What I have learn
That every child is different and therefore, if your child is not ready to be weaned at 4 months, it is OKAY. Do whatever suits your child and also trust your maternal / paternal instincts. I have been very fortunate that my children took to food from the get go.

It is important to introduce variety in their diet because the more varied the taste, the more accepting they will be and lower incidence of allergies. If you child turns his/her head away from offer of food, give him/her something else (that's why I always have back up) and try again a few days time. Persistance REALLY does work!

Due to Charlotte and Danie's interest in food, I start increasing their food frequency from 1 meal at 4 months,  2 meals at 6 months and 3 meals at 8 months. The quantities given were monitored so that they would still take their milk, which is the most important food in the first 12 months of a baby's life.

Again, be guided by your child.

Today
Charlotte and Daniel are 13.5 months young. They continue to enjoy their food and go through fussy phases when they are unwell and/or teething. They enjoy 3 main meals (breakfast-lunch-dinner), 2 snacks (morning tea-afternoon tea) and 2 bottles of full-cream cow's milk (30 mins before breakfast and 30 mins before bedtime.

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