Tips on Feeding Baby their First Foods

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So, you have a little one and you are trying to figure out if they are ready for solid foods yet.  There is lots of information out there.  Some of it is good and fine and some of it is really not so good.  Now that I have two little ones that have transitioned to solid foods and one on the way who will eventually transition to solid foods I have had the opportunity to sift through a lot of the info out there.

Here are a few questions that most parents ask:

How do I know that my baby is ready for solid foods? 

  • When they can sit up on their own
  • When they can begin to feed themselves
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that baby be at least 6 months of age or older.  This is when baby has more needs for alternate nutrition besides breast milk and it also helps to eliminate the development of food allergies.   Before then, the WHO recommends that babies should only be exclusively breastfed.
  • When your child looses their tongue-thrust reflex

What do I feed baby first? 

In the past, many physicians and baby books have recommended that rice cereal is a best for baby’s first food.  However, this is not entirely so.  Actually, many health enthusiasts will tell you that grains in general are often rather difficult to digest.  Though, rice may be the most easily digestible of grains it may not be the best choice for a first food.  If you do decide to give a baby rice cereal, it is best to make your own homemade with brown, unpolished, organic rice or to purchase a brand that sells brown, organic rice.  White rice is definitely not a good choice for baby.

Many good foods for baby’s first taste test are bananas, avocados, squashes and sweet potatoes.  You can even introduce meats to baby if they are cut up into very small pieces.  At least those are all good places to start.  You will want to avoid highly allergenic foods like honey, egg whites, dairy, sea food, and nut butters.  Often times you don’t even have to puree first foods.  You can just make sure you have ripe, soft foods that you can dice up into very small pieces.

How do I know if my baby has had a reaction to a food?

If baby seems to have a reaction to any foods simply discontinue the food and try to reintroduce it down the road much later. Baby’s could react to foods  in ways like hives, dark circles under their eyes, diarrhea, stomach cramps, or wheezing.  If your baby has a serious reaction to a food such as wheezing make sure that you talk to your pediatrician about it.

Other Good Things to Take Note on:

Save Yourself Time When Feeding Baby

You can easily save yourself time when feeding baby by feeding your little one exactly what you are eating.  Make sure the foods are low allergen and not on the do not eat list.   You can even add herbs and spices to baby’s food.  Whoever said that baby food has to be bland?  I have a friend who adds cinnamon to almost everything.  Cinnamon is a great spice too because it can aid in digestion.  My son’s first pediatrician even said.  Don’t worry about what you are feeding him.  Just throw it in a blender and chop up whatever you are eating.  And, I believe that if the food is soft enough and you aren’t worry about baby choking you don’t even have to worry about that!  Just give baby very soft, small chucks of food and let them have a good time trying to eat.

Save Yourself Money When Feeding Baby

Why buy expensive jar foods when you can feed baby from your refrigerator?  Making your own baby food is much more nutritious and healthy than purchasing the pre-made version.   Many jared foods, even organic jar food is not only expensive, but can also contain toxins in the lids or plastic containers.  If you do choose pre-made baby food you may want to try trusted brands like Happy Baby or Plum Organics.

Here are some great healthy baby food resources:

Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron

Real Food for Mother and Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two, and Baby’s First Foods by Nina Planck

Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods – and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident  Eater by Rapley and Murkett

This is a great article on Including Baby at the Family Table by Jen Allbritton

Happy Feeding!

About Becky


Becky is the HC Parent associate editor, green living guru, and healthy living expert. She is passionate about empowering others to educate themselves about their health choices. She is a local childbirth doula and loves pregnant mommies, bellies and babies. Becky keeps herself busy between her three children under four, blogging, and serving women in childbirth.


Comments

  1. We used a Happy Baby food grinder right at the table and loved it! I also wanted to add that honey is not high-allergen. It is discouraged as a baby food because even pasteurized honey can contain a deadly organism that is harmless to older children or adults but can be fatal in infants under 1 year of age.

    • Awesome Genevieve! Yeah, you are right. Honey can be fatal infants under 1 year old (some even say 2 years old) because of the possibility of spores that can be harmful. Thanks so much for clarifying that!