As soon as your little one is capable to take a look at some meals, the query becomes, what is the pleasant first food? (No, it’s usually now not a smash cake)
Most pediatricians advise iron fortified rice cereal as the best first food, however baby Care ain’t buying it! First off, rice cereal is a highly processed meals, which isn’t good for any one. Secondly, the introduced artificial nutrients and minerals may do more harm than excellent. Prevent rice cereal!
Introducing foods to your youngster after a entirely liquid food plan can be an wonderful however a frightening challenge!
After about 6 months, toddlers begin to show the developmental signs that they’re competent to eat some complimentary meals.
Iron-fortified Rice, Oat or Grain Cereal
Likely the most common first food for baby is an iron-fortified baby cereal.
You can find these in the baby aisle of almost any grocery store and they are a super easy way to introduce baby to solid foods while getting them some of the extra iron that they need.
Baby cereals are also made to be easily processed by your babe’s still-developing digestive system, and the smooth texture isn’t too much of a shock for them as a first food after their first 6 months of a completely liquid diet.
You can also easily mix in breastmilk, formula or other fruit/veggie purees for additional nutrients.
There are tons of different kinds but I chose Baby Gourmet for my daughter since they use whole organic, wholegrain ingredients and their products don’t have any sugar or salt.
I also opted for the Oatmeal and Ancient Grains versions since too much rice can give baby constipation (but let’s face it, at this early stage of the game, many things will since their digestion is still developing).
Ripe Raw Avocado
Avocado is one of nature’s perfect foods for a growing babe!
They have lots of essential fats and nutrients while having a smooth and creamy texture and are easily digestible.
Avocados are chocked full of vitamins and minerals like A, C, Niacin, Folate, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron, Magnesium, Calcium and the healthy fats in them keep help your baby’s brain develop.
When choosing an avocado for use that day or the next, look for one with bumpy extra and dark green color with bumpy texture that yields but doesn’t collapse when you gently squeeze it.
Avocados are super simple to serve to your baby as well since there’s no need to cook them!
After cutting it in half and scooping out the creamy flesh, just mash with a fork and serve it up.
If you want to a slightly thinner texture, you can add breastmilk or formula and then blend before serving. To thicken or to add some more iron, mix in some baby cereal too!
Like avocado, banana is smooth, creamy and very easily digestible by babies.
Bananas are all packed with tons of good stuff like vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and potassium.
Once your little once has had banana on its own a few times, this is a great ingredient to add as a natural sweetener and thickener to other purees.
When your babe is ready for finger foods, banana is super easy to cut up and serve (and fun for baby to squish and learn about different textures too!)
Sweet Potato and Yams
If you haven’t gotten the gist of it yet, the best first foods for baby are ones that can be made smooth and mushy, have tons of vitamins, and are easy for mom to serve!
Sweet potatoes and yams are no exception. They have vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). and are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B1, B2, B6, potassium, dietary finer and niacin.
Just pop them in the oven at 400 degrees until they are easily pierced with a fork and then mash them on up.
Make sure to fully cool them and check the temperature before feeding to your little one. Sweet potatoes and yams also make great finger foods when your baby is ready to start feeding themselves.
Similar to sweet potatoes and yams, butternut squash are also incredibly easy to prepare and have tons of healthy vitamins and minerals.
They are an excellent source of vitamin A, C and E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, manganese and have even more potassium than a banana!
To prepare, cut the squash in half and place it flesh side in an oven safe glass baking dish. Add a bit off water to the dish to help soften and cook evenly.
Bake at 375 degrees until super soft and then follow the same steps as the sweet potatoes and yams! The skins (especially on organic butternut squash) are edible, but I would skip them when serving to baby since them might be too tough for little mouths.
Applesauce is another great food to introduce to baby when there still learning how to eat solids.
You can make your own by cutting up, boiling and then pureeing apples, but the good news is that there are all sorts of organic pre-made options that are already prepared at the grocery store too!
In either case, make sure that the only ingredients in the applesauce are apples and water (ascorbic acid on the label is okay, it’s another name for Vitamin C which is naturally occurring in apples).
Whether buying off the shelf or making your own, make sure to skip added sugar or salt.
At 6 months of age, the amount of iron in breastmilk is not sufficient for growing babes.
Adding meat to your baby’s diet is a fantastic way to make sure they are getting the extra iron they need. Easy meats to start with are beef or pork. Just make sure they are thoroughly cooked and cooled.
You can puree them the first couple of times if you’re nervous about giving larger pieces to your baby, but you may also just choose to cut finger-sized portions and let baby suck and gnaw on them.
They’ll still be getting nutrients from the juices in the meat, and they’ll get to practice their newly-found grip strength as well as hand-eye coordination.
If you want to offer your baby animal protein but aren’t quite ready to give beef or pork just yet, eggs are another option. Scramble them and then break in to small pea-sized pieces.
Full-Fat Cheese and Yogurt
Fat is another important thing for babies to get enough of in order to grown big and strong!
When offering dairy, opt for full-fat cheese and yogurt. Wait on giving homogenized milk until baby is at least 9 months old, or given the green light by their doctor.
Cut cheese like cheddar in to small cubes before offering. Full-fat yogurt should be plain to avoid unnecessary sugar often added to flavored yogurts. If you’d like to add some flavor, you can easily add other pureed fruits for some fun combinations!
A favourite at our house is 11% fat plain greek yogurt mixed with a bit of mango puree and sometimes even a little cottage cheese for added protein.
Enjoy introducing new foods to your baby. The faces that they make when they decide what they like and dislike are priceless! Before you know it, your baby will be eating like a pro.
Foods to Avoid
There are a few foods that parents believe are healthy for their baby that turn out to actually not be healthy for them at all.
1. High-nitrate foods – Root and leafy vegetables such as spinach, celery, lettuce, radishes, beets, turnips, and collard greens are all very high in nitrates. Nitrates can turn into nitrites, which then turn into nitrosamines (a known carcinogen) in the stomach. Waiting until 6–8 months for root vegetables, and a year for leafy greens, is best for baby’s health. It’s also helpful to serve these foods with vitamin C-rich foods to avoid this nitrate->nitrite->nitrosamine conversion.
2. Acidic foods – Tomatoes and citrus can be irritating to the digestive tract. They are also more likely to cause allergies so should be avoided until at least 9 months.
3. Processed & conventional foods – It’s best to completely avoid processed foods, conventional dairy products (especially low-fat ones), excess sugar (especially from non-natural sources), soy products, and highly processed grains (more on grains below). Organic is always preferred. Natural sugars such as honey, maple syrup or blackstrap molasses may be introduced after baby’s first birthday in very small doses. (Raw honey can be very dangerous if offered to baby before 1 year old!) You can also sweeten things using fruit (date, banana, applesauce, etc.).
Final word on baby’s first foods
What we’re generally told about baby’s first foods is that fruits and veggies are top priority. We think, if a salad or green smoothie is “healthy” for me as an adult, getting some kale into my little one is the best choice for them too, right? The truth is that while fruits and veggies are generally healthy, they are not the most important foods for baby and should not be the priority—at least at first.
Ideally, you should focus on getting baby the most important nutrients first (which come from animal products like red meat, liver and egg yolks), and then offer fruits and veggies as he shows interest and has the appetite for more—beyond those critical basics. Following this way of doing things will help your baby to have the necessary building blocks for excellent growth and optimal development. Not to mention a brighter mood, healthy immune system, and more. Getting things off to a great start now will help to ensure lifelong health for your little one!