I would be lying if I told you that there’s a manual with the best foods to feed babies-because there isn’t! However, specialists concur that when you confine yourself to giving your baby some “top” foods, you run the risk of causing harm in the name of wanting the best for them.
One expert who has co-authored The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet, Tina Ruggiero, MS, RD, LD says, “The first year of life is when the palate is trained.”
Tina advises her clientele to follow these three principles. First, they should embrace colored foods. Secondly, she suggests that the foods be newly-harvested. Lastly, she emphasizes the importance of slowly weaning babies into a variety of textures and flavors when they get to the recommended ages.
Taking into account these three-pointers opens up room for a whole variety of foods across all balanced diet classes that you can feed the baby.
As you also get suggestions and professional help from your pediatrician, consider incorporating these alternatives to your baby’s meals for a great beginning. Here, you will also find some foods that you should probably kick off your baby’s menu, at least for their first year.
It’s been repeated over and over again that breast milk is top of the list on the foods recommended for babies. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics, commonly abbreviated AAP, advocate for a minimum of 6 months of total breastfeeding by mothers. This means that despite signs of the baby wanting to transition from breast milk before six months are over, you should still give them breast milk exclusively.
In the same breath, AAP also endorses that after the six months mark up till around 12 months, parents should couple breastfeeding with solids. When the situation allows for a prolonged practice of the same on the side of the child and mother, even better.
This is reiterated by Loraine Stern, MD, FAAP, the co-author of Nutrition: What Every Parent Needs to Know. She affirms that a mother’s milk is the greatest baby food during the baby’s initial year of growth.
Ideal age for breastfeeding: from birth to six months or above
These have to be just about the best fruits you can start your baby off with. They are reputable for their good fats and moderate flavor. It also has a smooth consistency, which makes it a simple food to make. You just get a ready avocado then together with some expressed breast milk, mash to your desired smoothness. Alternatively, you can use formula in place of milk.
Ideal age for introducing Avocados: From six months and above
Cereal with iron
Loraine Stern claims that when new-borns come to this world, they have an iron reserve that is adequate to take them through their first six months of life –or thereabout. After that, they need a boost to survive. She insists that it is therefore vital that they are given foods that contain iron to build on the fading capacity.
Forget about the conventional rice cereal we are accustomed to as first food. Formula choices like single-grain barley and oatmeal are a good place to start.
Ideal age for Iron Fortified Cereal: between four and six months
There is a lot that meat has to offer as far as nutrition is concerned. It has zinc, niacin, iron, vitamin B6, and riboflavin, all of which are much needed by a growing baby.
As much as meat is a great food option for the provision of nutrients in a baby, it must be mashed till fine enough for a baby’s intake.
It is imperative because as Nutrition puts it, it is very easy for a child to choke on meat that has been cut even to the finest of textures.
For value addition, you could add milk or a vegetable of a pudding-like texture to finely-ground meat.
Ideal age for meat: From 7 months to about 10 months and above
Beetroots are known for their sweetness. This feature makes them a favorite among children. That aside, they have essential nutrients – from potassium to beta-carotene and folic acid.
Also, whichever manner you choose to prepare them, they retain their signature softness, which is the texture we want for our baby foods.
Ideal age for beetroots: From 11 months and above
If we were in the business of ranking top baby foods, this kind of potatoes would surely rank high. Our friends at The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet agree with this.
They say that sweet potatoes are among the greatest nourishing baby foods. This is because they have a great deal of beta-carotene. After sweet potatoes supply the body with this crucial nutrient, the body then transforms it into vitamin A, which as we know it is responsible for keeping our eyesight, skin and overall growth at its best. Also, it helps the body to fight off looming diseases.
One pediatric clinical dietitian, Susan Casey, RD, CD, who works at the Seattle Children’s Hospital agrees that several children love the smooth consistency that strained sweet potatoes has to offer.
Ideal age for sweet potatoes: from six months and above
Let’s leave vanilla yogurt out for a minute and focus on the ordinary wholesome yogurt. It is particularly loaded with protein, which is excellent for the baby. Aside from its abundance in protein, yogurt also has live cultures and calcium.
You may also have questions regarding why yogurt is encouraged for children, yet the very cow milk used in making it is shunned. The answer is not complicated: it lies in the lactose bit of milk. In yogurt, it is already toned down by the cultures we have mentioned. Also, the proteins in its milk component are substantially eliminated or finite. These two aspects make yogurt much kinder on the baby’s gut and therefore, a more desirable option when compared to milk.
Ideal age for yogurt: 9 months and above.
Cheerios have been in existence since time immemorial. In fact, it is almost synonymous to childhood. Even Stern concurs.
They offer the much needed roughage. In addition, Cheerios are a great place to start when you are introducing your child to foods they can hold by themselves.
Ideal age for Cheerios: 9 months and above
Some Don’ts during baby’s first year
Babies find it hard to break down milk from cows owing to their developing digestive systems. It is prudent to hold off on giving cow’s milk until they hit one year.
Peanuts and Nuts
Whole nuts can quickly bring tragedy in your household, especially when you give them to babies under four years. This is because they bring the risk of choking. If you must really give nuts, at least ensure it is smooth and a very tiny quantity at a time.
Your baby may refuse to eat some plain puddings and purees, and so you might want to add some flavor by resulting to honey. It is not a good idea. Nutrition suggests that honey is associated with a deadly disease called infant botulism. Infant botulism occurs in children when their under-developed systems cannot deal with the possible botulism spores in honey. That said, it is a great idea to hold off any honey for babies under the age of one.