When your baby is first born, solid food seems a distant consideration. But before you know it, the question of breast or bottle will be just the beginning of the questions you have about nourishing your child.
The good news is that doctors recommend providing your child with a wide variety of foods to sample during the first year, which will help him or her appreciate new foods as the palate develops. And there are baby food delivery services that offer new foods for your little one to try.
Here’s what new parents need to know about the best foods to feed their babies, as well as foods that should be avoided.
Best Foods for Baby
1. Iron-Fortified Cereal
Iron is an essential mineral for babies around 6 months, the age at which the iron supply they are born with runs out. While rice cereal is the classic first food, oat or barley are great choices as well. Opt for whole grain for the best nutritional impact.
There are a few great reasons to present avocado as your baby’s first food: it has a mild flavor that won’t overwhelm and it’s loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats. Perhaps best of all, it’s easy to prepare; just choose the ripest avocado you can find and mash it to a smooth consistency with a bit of breast milk. Doctors recommend starting avocado around six months.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Not only do babies love the sweet taste and custard-like consistency of sweet potatoes, these veggies are packed with nutrients that support healthy development. The most critical of these is beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A: essential for growth, healthy skin and vision, and immune system development. Sweet potato can also be introduced to your baby around the six-month mark.
After nine months, plain yogurt is a good choice that provides plenty of protein, calcium, and active live cultures. Avoid flavored yogurts, which contain sugar.
Bananas have a mild flavor that appeals to babies, an easily mashable texture, and a grab-and-go package that’s great for busy parents. Best of all, bananas are packed with baby-friendly nutrients like potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamins B6 and C.
The antioxidants in blueberries support your baby’s eyes, brain, and urinary tract. Be sure to mash these well rather than serving whole to prevent choking.
Presenting the bold flavor of broccoli while your child’s palate is still forming may help him or her appreciate veggies later in life. What’s more, broccoli is rich in fiber, folate, and calcium. To serve, steam the veggie and allow it to cool before mashing or cutting into bite-sized pieces.
Foods to Avoid
Honey can contain live botulism spores; while adults can digest these safely, in infants they can lead to a potentially fatal infection. However, after age one it’s safe to introduce honey to your child.
2. Cow’s Milk
Although yogurt made from cow’s milk is OK before age one, milk itself should be avoided before that benchmark because it’s too difficult for younger babies to digest.