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December 2020

The Best (and Worst!) Solid Foods for Your Baby to Start Eating

By Baby's DietNo Comments

Is your little one ready for solid foods? Here are our top recommendations for your baby to start eating solid foods the healthy way.

At 4 to 6 months old, your baby may start craving for more nourishment. He or she may still be hungry for more milk even after getting a full day’s portion of milk. A good benchmark to test your little one’s readiness for real food is to monitor if he or she has stopped pushing food out of their mouth, also known as the tongue-thrust reflex. Your baby should also be sitting upright, be able to hold their head up on their own and are endlessly curious about the food in their proximity.

Most parents tend to start solid food in the form of pureed vegetables and soft fruit slices but bear in mind that babies need a blend of animal and plant foods to meet their special nutritional needs. After all, we humans are designed for an omnivore diet.

Best Solid Foods for Your Baby

The best solid foods to start your baby on are nutrient-rich foods, as your baby’s digestive system is still under-developed.

1. Avocado

Avocado fruit is prized for its dense nutrient content, which includes magnesium, potassium, niacin, vitamin B, vitamin E, vitamin K and folate. It is also the only fruit that contains healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. Its soft texture is easy to chew and it can be easily cut into small pieces, pureed or mashed up for babies to enjoy.

2. Butternut squash

Butternut squash is an easy to digest vegetable for babies. When it is properly cooked, squash is low in nitrate content, hence it is a safe food for babies to start with. Most babies also love the sweet taste of butternut squash, and being a great source of antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium helps too!

3. Banana

When it comes to the first solids that your baby eats, banana is a great choice. It is a good source of carbohydrates for babies that is easily digestible, as banana has amylase, an enzyme that breaks downs carbohydrates. Furthermore, bananas are also high in vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium and potassium – all the nutrients needed for your baby to grow healthily.

4. Blended meat

Pureed chicken and beef contain iron and zinc which are needed by babies at 4 to 6 months old. Red meat is especially beneficial as it is also high in vitamin B12, which most babies can be deficient in if they are exclusively breastfeeding. This is because breast milk, unlike milk formulas, is low in iron. Iron from plant sources is also difficult to convert into digestible forms for babies.

5. Yoghurt

Most parents would have heard the old age parenting advice of avoiding dairy until your baby turns at least a year old. However modern research has shown that introducing common allergens, such as dairy and nuts, may help prevent your baby from developing food allergies as they grow older. However, if you have a family history of dairy intolerance, please do consult your paediatrician before introducing dairy to your baby. Otherwise, organic whole yoghurt is full of beneficial fats, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D, as well as rich in probiotics that can help colonize your baby’s gut with good bacteria.

Bad Solid Foods for Your Baby

Most parents may be surprised at our list of foods to avoid feeding your baby when they are first starting with eating solid food.

1. Root and leafy vegetables

Spinach, turnips, radishes, celery, and lettuce are examples of vegetables that are high in nitrates, which can convert into nitrites and eventually nitrosamines in the stomach that may potentially cause cancer. Wait at least one year before feeding your baby leafy greens and root vegetables. Potatoes, on the other hand, are completely safe for babies to consume.

2. Citrus fruits

Acidic foods can irritate your baby’s stomach, as babies have immature digestive tracts that are still developing. It is best to wait at least 9 months until your baby’s stomach is more prepared to handle the acid content.

3. Raw honey

Raw honey is dangerous for young babies as it can cause infant botulism, a type of bacterial poisoning. Foods made with honey are off-limits as well, as these foods may contain spores of the Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which are harmless to adults but extremely harmful to babies under the age of one.

4. High mercury content fish

Not all fishes are created equal, nutritionally speaking. Fishes with high levels of mercury such as king mackerel, fresh tuna, swordfish should be avoided. Stick to the safe varieties such as wild salmon, tilapia, trout, pollack among a few. Canned tuna is fine as well.

Processed food should be saved for much later in your baby’s development. Foods that are hard to chew (nuts and seeds), round and slippery foods (grapes and peanut butter) should be avoided as these foods may pose a choking hazard to your baby.

If in doubt, the first few solid foods that your baby is consuming should be cooked thoroughly, mashed, pureed or cut into small bite sizes for easier chewing. The rest is pretty much up to you as parents to get creative! Happy cooking!

How to Cope with Mood Swings during Pregnancy

By PregnancyNo Comments

Gain insight into why you are experiencing pregnancy mood swings and how to manage it.

Pregnancy is a journey full of physical and emotional challenges. A huge emphasis is usually put on the physical aspect of pregnancy, but less attention is given to the emotional ups and downs a new mother could be experiencing.

What Triggers Pregnancy Mood Swings?

Physical changes during pregnancy have a huge effect on your body, mood, metabolism, physical appearance and sleeping habits.

Pregnancy hormones

Hormonal changes during pregnancy cause the brain chemicals that control moods to change, and as a result, many women experience a range of emotions from elation, anxiety to depression from one moment to the next, especially during the early days of pregnancy. The hormonal culprits behind this? Estrogen and progesterone.

Estrogen activates the part of the brain that controls mood, hence a surge in estrogen can cause fear, moodiness and melancholy.
Progesterone helps muscles and ligaments to loosen up, but on the flip side, it can cause you to feel tired and lazy. Sometimes this hormone may make you feel sad for no reason at all!

Insufficient sleep

The first and last trimester can be very tiring for new mothers. It’s natural to feel more tired as your body works extra hard to nourish and develop the baby. In the first trimester, sudden hormonal changes will make your energy levels dip. The increase in progesterone and estrogen also acts as a natural sedative to make you feel groggy.

New mothers may also experience insomnia due to restless leg syndrome (the urge to move your legs while you are in a relaxed or sleepy state) in the third trimester. Your may it difficult to sleep with your ever-growing belly bump, and you are most likely to be experiencing backaches and pains as well.


It has been noted that women who experience premenstrual mood swings (PMS) are also more likely to have pregnancy mood swings as well. A study also found that PMS was also prevalent in women who suffered from postpartum depression.

How to Cope with Mood Swings

Sudden fluctuations in mood are hard to deal with, and you might feel as if you have little control over these flare-ups. Relax, take a deep breath, and take a look at our tips for managing your emotions better.

Get quality sleep

Prioritizing sleep is the best decision an expecting mother can do. If you’re having trouble sleeping due to backaches, try sleeping on your side. Some doctors suggest sleeping on your left side, as your liver is on the right side of your body, and sleeping in this position avoids having your uterus pressing down on your liver. Lying on the left side also improves blood circulation to your heart and to your fetus as well.

If you have restless leg syndrome, try doing some light stretches before going to bed. Ensuring that you are getting sufficient calcium and magnesium in your diet also helps with leg cramps.

Do low-impact exercises

Endorphins released after exercising is a real mood booster. If you’re feeling cranky, just doing some light walking, swimming or other low-impact exercises can instantly lift your mood and get you feeling positive in no time.

Mindful awareness activities such as yoga and meditation are also extremely beneficial for lowering stress, so learn to take deep breaths and shift your focus when the going gets tough.

Eat right

Yes, food can influence how you feel! It’s important to eat by the food pyramid to get all the necessary nutrients for your body. A well-balanced diet is crucial for your baby to grow healthily as well.

An unhealthy diet and irregular eating habits may lead to insufficient nutrients being absorbed by the body, which in turns affect your mood and energy levels.

Lean on your loved ones

Often times women try to do everything themselves even while expecting. But carrying a baby for 9 months is tough, and as new mothers, it’s time to learn to ask for help and relieve the pressure. There are many tasks that can be delegated to your partner and don’t be shy to rope in family members for some help in mundane tasks such as sterilizing bottles and doing housework. Joining a support group or connecting with other pregnant mothers in the neighbourhood who could relate to you can also go a long way in easing pent up emotions.

But if you feel you’re experiencing more than just pregnancy blues, don’t feel afraid to reach out to your doctor or therapist for some help. Sometimes our emotions get the best of us, and there is no shame in seeking professional help.

Pregnancy mood swings are just like a tornado of emotions – sometimes you just never knew what hit you! The good news is – mood swings are temporary and part of the wonderful journey of pregnancy, and be rest assured that it will eventually pass.