Tuesday, April 16, 2024

What Is The Best Solid Food To Introduce First

Should I Feed My Baby Rice Cereal

Nourishing Advice on Starting Solid Foods – First With Kids – UVM Children’s Hospital

In addition to fruits and vegetables, single iron-fortified grains like rice are a popular choice for first foods due to their bland taste, smooth texture and low allergen risk. Until they are about five to six months old, most babies have adequate iron stores acquired in-utero, so at six months, we recommend introducing foods that naturally contain dietary iron and pose a low allergy risk. Rather than traditional rice cereal, consider trying more fiber-filled, nutrient-dense grains or legumes such as buckwheat, millet, oatmeal, quinoa, beans or lentils.

Feeding Your Baby: From 12 Months

From 12 months, your child will be eating 3 meals a day containing a variety of different foods, including:

  • a minimum of 4 servings a day of starchy food, such as potatoes, bread and rice
  • a minimum of 4 servings a day of fruit and vegetables
  • a minimum of 350ml milk or 2 servings of dairy products
  • a minimum of 1 serving a day of protein from animal sources or 2 from vegetable sources

Your child may also need 2 healthy snacks in between meals.

Go for things like:

  • sticks of cheese
  • toast, pitta or chapatti fingers
  • unsalted and unsweetened rice or corn cakes

The World Health Organization recommends that all babies are breastfed for up to 2 years or longer.

You can keep breastfeeding for as long as it suits you both, but your child will need less breast milk to make room for more foods.

Once your child is 12 months old, infant formula is not needed and toddler milks, growing-up milks and goodnight milks are also unnecessary.

Your baby can now drink whole cows’ milk. Choose full-fat dairy products, as children under 2 years old need the vitamins and extra energy found in them.

From 2 years old, if they’re a good eater and growing well, they can have semi-skimmed milk.

From 5 years old, 1% fat and skimmed milk is OK.

You can give your child unsweetened calcium-fortified milk alternatives, such as soya, oat or almond drinks, from the age of 1 as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

When To Introduce Allergens

As soon as your baby is ready to start solids, usually around 6 months.

Long answer:

For years, it was recommended to delay introducing highly allergenic foods until around 2-3 years of age as protection against food allergies. This is outdated advice. In fact, research shows that delaying these foods could actually promote the development of food allergies.

I go into greater detail in this egg post, another top allergen, but to summarize, the current recommendation is to introduce highly allergenic foods EARLY and OFTEN. By doing so, you can dramatically reduce the risk or actually help prevent the development of food allergies.

Some babies are considered high risk if at least one parent or sibling has an atopic condition or if baby has any of these conditions themselves.

If this is the case for you, I highly advise you to work with a pediatric allergist early on to develop a course of action, as research suggests that introducing the allergens as early as 4 months may be beneficial for high risk babies.

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Best Baby Foods At 6 Months

At 6 months, babies may be starting to chew. Though this skill wont be mastered just yet, they are typically ready to get messy with some mushy, pureed eatshelping them learn about flavor and texture. At this age, the goal is not to satiate your baby with full meals of solid foods but rather to get your child curious and excited about their culinary options.

Because babies are growing so fast, their needs for iron are high to prevent iron-deficiency and support their overall health. Offer your little one iron rich foods likeinfant cereal , well-cooked meat, poultry, mashed beans, and lentils. To keep your baby safe from choking, avoid adding solids like cereal to baby bottles.

Here are some great first foods for Baby to try:

  • Mixing infant oat, grain, or barley cereals with breastmilk or formula and spoon-feeding your baby .
  • Well-cooked beef, chicken, and turkey.
  • Well-cooked and mashed beans and lentils
  • Mashed banana, avocado, and sweet potato
  • Pureed or strained fruits and vegetables

Start With Purees Or Finger Foods

Starting Solids An exciting milestone

Traditionally, pediatricians have recommended starting with thin fruit or vegetable purees or baby cereals, and then gradually advancing in texture to soft finger foods, like pliable pieces of fruit, cooked vegetables, scrambled eggs or tender chunks of meat or fish over the course of a few months.

But interest in baby-led weaning, in which babies skip the purees and start feeding themselves solid foods straight from the family table, is growing. Some proponents believe that this approach encourages more adventurous eating, as well as an improved awareness of fullness cues which may even decrease the risk of obesity.

But those benefits are still up for debate. A recent clinical trial of 206 mothers in New Zealand, for instance, found that babies who started solids around 6 months with the baby-led approach were similar to those who started with purees in terms of weight, appetite regulation, and calorie- and nutrient intake at 12 or 24 months. Those in the baby-led weaning group did seem to enjoy their food more at 12 and 24 months and were less fussy about food at 12 months compared with the group that started with purees.

The trial also assessed the risk of choking, which is a common concern about baby-led weaning. At 6 months, the baby-led weaning group experienced more gagging than those who were fed purees, but were not more likely to choke.

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How To Serve Apples For Baby

Peel and slice an apple and place in a steamer basket over boiling water for 6-8 minutes or until just tender when pricked with a fork. You want the slices soft but not falling apart. Let them cool and serve to baby. You may also add a pinch of cinnamon to the apple slices before serving, but this is optional. Steamed apple slices will last in the fridge for 3 days. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent them from browning.

Which Foods Should I Avoid

Foods that are more likely to cause allergies can be among the foods you introduce to your baby. These include peanuts, eggs, cows milk, seafood, nuts, wheat, and soy. Waiting to start these foods does not prevent food allergies. Talk to your doctor if youre concerned about food allergies, especially if any close family members have allergies, food allergies, or allergy-related conditions, like eczema or asthma.

Infants with severe eczema or egg allergies are more likely to have allergies to peanuts. Talk to your doctor about how and when to introduce these foods to your child.

Possible signs of food allergy or allergic reactions include:

  • rash
  • bloating or an increase in gassiness
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting

Get medical care right away if your baby has a more severe allergic reaction, like hives, drooling, wheezing, or trouble breathing.

If your child has any type of reaction to a food, don’t offer that food again until you talk with your doctor.

Babies shouldn’t have:

  • foods with added sugars and no-calorie sweeteners
  • high-sodium foods
  • honey, until after the first birthday. It can cause botulism in babies.
  • unpasteurized juice, milk, yogurt, or cheese
  • regular cow’s milk or soy beverages before 12 months instead of breast milk or formula. Its OK to offer pasteurized yogurt and cheese.
  • foods that may cause choking, such as hot dogs, raw carrots, grapes, popcorn, and nuts

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What Are The Signs Your Baby Is Ready For Solid Food

Between 4 and 6 months, its a good idea to look for the following signs that mean your baby is ready for solid foods, including:

  • Good head and neck control

  • Sitting alone or with mild support

  • Leaning forward and opening their mouth when they see you eating

  • Grabbing objects and putting them in their mouth

  • Allowing a spoon into their mouth without pushing it away with their tongue

These abilities prevent choking so your baby can eat safely. If your baby hasnt developed these skills yet, its best to hold off on introducing solids.

When Should You Start Baby Food


By around six months of age, babies need solid food in addition to breast milk or formula for growth and nutrition, says Dr. Tracey Agnese, pediatrician in New York City and founder of Taking Care of Mom and Baby, a resource for new parents. Solids are usually started between four and six months of age when the infant is developmentally ready. Your baby is probably ready for solids when they are able to sit up with support, have good head and neck control, and show interest in your food while youre eating , she says.

If your baby spits out the food or refuses to eat it, theyre probably not ready yet, so wait and try again in a week, reassures Dr. Agnese.

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Best Tips For Starting Blw

Here are a few more tips to consider and review before you get started.

  • Understand the gag reflex. Gagging is different than choking though and is most often a sign that baby is learning to move food around in their mouthsand to get it out of their mouths, which is a skill you want them to have!
  • Brush up on the basics of how to know when baby is ready to start solids.
  • Set them up for success with a highchair that allows them to sit up straight and has foot support.
  • Sit with them as you offer food.
  • Check your own expectations of what will happen and simply allow your baby to take the lead.
  • Start with one new food a day or every few days.
  • Vary the textures of foods you offer to start exposing baby to many right from the start.
  • Offer water in a sippy cup or small open cup.

TIP: Remember that breastmilk or formula will continue to satisfy babys hunger for the first few months of eating solids. Do not expect solids to replace milk feedings at this age.

Signs That Your Baby Is Ready For Solid Food

Observing your baby is fascinating, and youre bound to catch a few of the signs such as:

  • They can sit upright without any assistance. This is essential as eating solid food while lying down increases the chances of food going down the wrong pipe.
  • Babies can get a little apprehensive about solid food and tend to thrust out anything they can with their tongues. As a test, mix a little solid food along with your breastmilk and feed it to your baby. If you dont see them spit out any solid food, your baby is okay with it.
  • Your baby is likely to start showing interest in the food you eat. This means they may watch you with an intense gaze while you eat or make attempts to grab onto your spoon or fork.
  • You notice that your babys motor skills are refined enough that they can perform a rolling action with it.
  • You notice that your baby can open her mouth wide enough for solid food to enter.

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For How Long Should I Keep Breastfeeding Or Bottle Feeding

Breastfeeding or formula feeding should continue until your baby is 12 months old. After that, water and cow’s milk should be your baby’s main drinks. Some babies can have an intollerance or allergy to cow’s milk, so they may need an alternative, such as soy. Follow your doctor’s or allergy specialist’s advice and read food labels carefully.

Breastfeeding can continue for as long as you and your baby are happy to keep going, but infant formula is not needed after 12 months.

Read more about balancing solids with milk feeds.

When Can I Offer My Baby Cow Milk


You can start offering small amounts of pasteurized whole cow milk in an open cup when your baby is:

  • 9 to 12 months of age and
  • Eating a variety of foods that are iron rich

Pasteurized whole goat milk can be offered if vitamin D and folic acid have been added to it. Check the product label.

Skim, 1% and 2% milk, and fortified soy beverage are low in fat and not recommended before 2 years of age. Dietary fat is important for the growth and development of babies and toddlers.

Do not give coconut, oat, rice or nut and seed beverages before 2 years of age. These drinks do not have enough fat, protein and other nutrients to meet your growing babys needs.

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Best Baby Foods At 7 Months

Here are a few nutritious and delicious food combos to try with your baby:

  • Peas pureed with breastmilk , sweet potatoes, or squash
  • Kale pureed with blueberry, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, cauliflower, pears, or bananas
  • Apples pureed with cauliflower, carrots, pears, prunes, or beets

Seven months is also the perfect age to start giving your baby a plate, bowl, and plastic utensils so they can begin to practice feeding themselves. If your baby is teething, you can place frozen chunks of fruit in a sieve feeder/mesh bag that allows them to gnaw on the fruit without choking.

Feeding Your Baby: From 10 To 12 Months

From about 10 months, your baby should now be having 3 meals a day , in addition to their usual milk feeds.

Around this age, your baby may have about 3 milk feeds a day .

Breastfed babies will adapt their milk consumption as their food intake changes.

As a guide, babies fed infant formula will drink about 400ml daily.

Remember that formula-fed babies should take a vitamin D supplement if they’re having less than 500ml of formula a day.

All breastfed babies should take a vitamin D supplement.

They should be able to manage a wider range of finger foods, and be able to pick up small pieces of food and move them to their mouth. They’ll use a cup with more confidence.

Lunches and teas can include a main course, and a fruit or unsweetened dairy-based dessert, to move eating patterns closer to those of children over 1 year.

As your baby grows, eating together as a family encourages them to develop good eating habits.

Remember, babies do not need salt or sugar added to their food .

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How To Make Apple Baby Food Puree

Peel and chop 2-3 apples and place them in a steamer basket over boiling water and cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender when pricked with a fork. Transfer the apples to a blender and puree for 1-2 minutes or until smooth, adding liquid in 1/4 cup increments if needed. For more amazing apple puree recipes, check out Apple + Cinnamon Baby Food Puree, Apple + Clove Baby Food Puree and Apple + Coconut Milk Baby Food Puree.

What Solid Foods Should You Not Offer A Baby

How to introduce solid foods to your baby – first foods

Babies can eat many foods as long as they are pureed or mashable or cut into small pieces. Things that babies should not be offered include anything round or hard that they could choke on, like:

  • Cherries, tomatoes, blueberries, and grapes

  • Hot dogs and sausages

  • Hard fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots

  • Meat, poultry, or fish with skin and bones

  • Hard candies

  • Sticky candies, like caramels and gum

Babies should also not have honey or cows milk until they are over 1 year old. Honey can cause botulism. Unlike adults, infants digestive systems are not fully developed so, when they eat botulism spores, they can develop botulism illness. Adults’ digestive systems are able to handle spores and not get sick. Cows milk can cause anemia in babies by interfering with iron absorption from other foods and by causing irritation of the intestines, which causes bleeding.

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How To Make Sweet Potato Baby Food Puree

Peel and chop 1-2 sweet potatoes. Place them in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam for 10-12 minutes or until tender when pricked with a fork. Add cooked sweet potatoes to a food processor or blender, and puree for 1-2 minutes until completely smooth, adding water in 1/4 cup increments if needed. I had to use 1 cup of water for the puree above. For more sweet potato recipes your baby can enjoy, visit these posts: Sweet Potato + Curry Baby Food Puree, Sweet Potato + Thyme Baby Food Puree, and Sweet Potato with Coconut Milk Baby Puree.

How Do You Start Baby Food

According to Dr. Agnese, its best to start offering solid food when baby is awake and alert, and ideally when theyre not too hungry or too full.

Have your baby sitting up safely with support and offer food with a spoon. Try once per day at first, and stop feeding when theyre showing signs theyre done .

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Tips For Introducing Solid Foods

  • Until your baby is 9 months, offer them milk before solids. After 9 months, they can have milk after their solids.
  • Be sensitive to your baby’s cues or signals that they are hungry or full. Don’t force them to eat or keep offering food if they’re turning away, closing their mouth or not swallowing.
  • Give your baby plenty of time to practise their new eating skills. At first, they’ll spit the food out, may seem unsure or pull faces at the taste of certain foods. Remember, eating solids is as much about learning as it is about nutrition.
  • Let your baby make a mess. As soon as they are ready, offer them finger foods and the opportunity to pick up food and put it in their mouth.
  • Always supervise your baby when they are eating solid foods. Small, hard foods can be a choking hazard although babies can choke on any food of any texture.
  • Make sure you cook and store your baby’s food safely. Never reheat food that has been reheated previously, or that has been sitting at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

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