It’s the 6-month panic.
When you realize that your baby should start moving towards eating semi-solid foods, but you have no idea which foods to start him on.
His tummy is tricky. There are some things that teeny tiny gut is ready for.
Like pureed sweet potatoes.
There are somethings his tummy is NOT ready for.
Like steak, mountain dew, and Peanut Butter with Honey Sandwiches.
You feed him that too early and you’ll be getting on the express train to Vomitville.
It’s your job to make sure you know when he’s ready to try something new.
It’s my job to give you the tools you need to confidently say “Let’s try cantaloupe next!” or, “Let’s wait to give that a try.”
Babies have sensitive little tummies.
Their digestive systems are still growing.
Introducing baby food in the wrong way can leave to an upset stomach, or even *gulp* an ER visit.
Fortunately, the “when” is a pretty easy question.
And since I love to impress people by tackling the
hard easy questions, I’ve written a post I hope you’ll find worth sharing.
Introducing Baby Food That’s Choke-Proof
As you are introducing these foods to your baby, make sure what you put in front of him is as anti-choking as you can possibly make it..
- For beginners, overcook, puree, and strain to remove all lumps.
- Add breastmilk or formula to thin cereals and purees out and get the right consistency.
- For older babies (nearly 1 year old) dice pieces of overripe fruit and roll in oat bran to prevent easily slipping down the esophagus.
- Babies gum food, they don’t chew food. Keep foods mushy until his molars arrive.
If you don’t want to mess with steamer baskets and have a little extra money, splurge on this. It will cook and puree the food in one tiny appliance.
As the spokesperson for lazy mothers everywhere, I give it a hearty thumbs up.
Introducing Baby Food at 6 Months
For babies just starting their eating adventures, think “tasting liquids” not “eating solids”. In other words, you want his food dripping off the spoon.
As he starts this lesson in The Art of Feeding Face, don’t be surprised to watch him shove most the food out of his mouth with his tongue.
He’s not sending you a “I hate this food” message.
It’s just him practicing his nursing or bottle-feeding technique with this new-fangled “drink” you’re giving him on some silly cup-on-a-stick-thing.
It will take a while for him to adjust to eating with a spoon. If he doesn’t seem interested or isn’t “getting it” after a few days. Shelve the “solids” thing for a while longer.
I didn’t start introducing baby food to my youngest BR until almost 8 months. She had NO interest in eating solids, and since she was still gaining weight, the doctor gave me the a-okay in waiting. Watch your infant for signs he’s ready.
At this age, introducing baby food is less about giving your baby nutrition, and more about giving your baby practice to try out these new tongue skills.
Cooked Fruits & Veggies at 6 Months
Blend up these fruits and cooked vegetables with formula or breastmilk, strain to remove any lumps, and then freeze in ice-cube trays for homemade healthy baby food. (Takes 20 minutes once a week and will save you a fortune!)
- Ripe Avocado
- Ripe Banana
- Sweet Potatoes
- Winter Squash
Grains & Dairy at 6 Months
Making your own baby cereals at home is eye-rolling easy. (Not to mention better for your baby nutritionally.)
Grind the grains before cooking (with a clean coffee grinder or the Beaba), and then cook on the stove using 2:1 ratio. (Example: 2 cups of water for 1 cup of grain)
- Brown Rice
- Whole-milk plain yogurt
Obviously, that’s going to make a LOT of baby cereal. Divvy it up into smaller containers and refrigerate for 2-3 days. Then pop it in the microwave, stirring in an ice cube to cool and thin it down a little.
Introducing Baby Food at 7 Months
You may be able to thicken the food a little, but you still want it the texture of heavy cream.
This is also the age when you can start offering diluted fruit juices: apple, apricot, grape, pear, papaya, pear, peach, and prune. Only offer juice once a day. Formula, breastmilk, and water should be his primary liquids at this age.
Add these items to your previous baby food list:
- Peaches (skin free)
- Green Beans
- Peas (cooked and pureed only)
- Summer Squash
- White Potatoes
- Sugar Snap Beans
- Yellow Beans
- Waxed Beans
- Celery (cooked, not for snacks!)
- Silken Tofu (blended)
- Cottage Cheese (small curd)
- Egg Yolks (hard cooked and mashed)
- Poultry (cooked and pureed)
- Beef (cooked and pureed)
- Veal (cooked and pureed)
- Lamb (cooked and pureed)
Introducing Baby Foods at 8 Months
If he seems like he’s understanding the “gumming” concept of eating, let him experiment with a few small finger foods (like Cheerios). Give him only one or two at first, or he may attempt to chipmunk-cheek himself.
Since he’s just a beginner, make sure everything you give him can be swallowed whole. You may also want to roll diced pieces of fruit in oat bran to further protect against choking. (Slippery food is easily choked on.)
Here’s the list of items you can add on to his food list at 8 months.
- Apples (peeled)
- Kiwi Fruit
- Grapes (diced only!)
- Tahini Spread (Sesame Seed Paste)
- Ground nuts (if no family nut allergy history)
- Cheese (shredded or grated)
- Finely ground seeds
- Lean fish like flounder, sole, cod, catfish, haddock (cooked and pureed)
Introducing Baby Foods at 9 Months
This is a great time to introduce your infant to cooked beans, lentils, and split peas. Cook them, then mash them into a paste before serving. This is an excellent way for your baby get some bone-and-brain building proteins!
These foods, when cooked, can be added to your baby food list:
- Cherries (finely diced, pits removed)
- Brussels Sprouts
- Onions (diced and cooked)
- Raw Parsley (finely chopped)
- Mustard Greens
- Collard Greens
- Mushrooms (diced)
- Pork and ham (cooked and pureed)
- liver and kidney (cooked and pureed)
- fatty fish like tuna, halibut, bluefish, sardines, and salmon (cooked and pureed)
Introducing Baby Foods at 10 Months
You can begin to introduce finely grated raw fruits and vegetables as fun new finger snacks at this age.
Raw (peeled) apples, summer squash, sweet peppers, and carrots, finely shredded provide a new texture for him to try with his new teeth.
Here are a few things you can add to his diet this month.
- Sweet Bell Peppers (finely grated)
- Lettuce (finely grated)
- Bulgur Grain Cereal
- Whole Grain Pastas (small enough to swallow whole)
- Thinned creamy peanut butter (if no family history of nut allergies)
Introducing Baby Foods at 12 Months
The first birthday is a HUGE milestone for your little guy! Besides eating his first cake and ripping open gifts, a whole new culinary world of options opens up.
This is also a great time to introduce the wonders of The Sippy Cup. Try introducing it for one meal a day, and eventually replace the bottle altogether.
Here are the foods your baby can start enjoying at 12 months. Continue to dice and overcook these foods. Lumpy is good. Hard chunks is not.
- Orange Juice (diluted)
- Mandarin Oranges
- Blueberries (quartered)
- Strawberries (diced)
- Blackberries (diced)
- Raspberries (diced)
- Tomato juice
- Wheat Germ
- Cow’s milk
- Hard-cooked Egg Whites
- Shellfish (cooked and finely chopped)
Introducing Baby Food at 18 Months
By this age, there are very few foods your baby can’t chow down on. Here are the final food items you can add to his diet this month.
- Cucumbers (grated)
See How Easy That Was?
Introducing baby foods is one of the highlights of parenting in the first year.
What parent hasn’t grabbed the phone in a panic to capture the first taste of a lemon?
Or the final smear of a new sweet potato hair style?
Bookmark this, share this, and print this so you always know “when” these foods are okay to let him try.
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