Introducing Solid Foods to Babies

2015-04-015It is an exciting time for parents when a baby reaches her 6 months developmental milestone. By that time, your little bub is able to sit and hold her head without support. It is a new-found independence for her. It is also a time for her to start with solid foods. I was extremely excited, but at the same time confused. I wanted my baby to build a healthy foundation for her eating habits. So I decided to make my own baby food with fresh produce. With the help of my pediatrician, some reading here and there and google, I came up with a plan to introduce solids that were age appropriate. Most of the time, it was my daughter who guided me through the process. 

STAGE  1 (6 to 7 months)

By the age of 6 months, your baby is able to taste the food besides breast milk. Since it is a very beginning of the new food, it’s flavors, textures, and smell. It is better to start with foods with one ingredient with soft yogurt like consistency. It is important during this time to wait for four to five days before introducing new food ingredient, to look for any allergic symptoms. In case of my daughter, she tolerated all the foods quite well. She didn’t like bland food for long, so I introduced her to herbs while she was 7 months of age. Here’s the list of food which can be introduced to babies at this age.

6 months:

  • Grains: Rice Cereal, Oats Cereal, Barley, Multi Grain Cereal.
  • Vegetables: Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Peas, Winter Squash
  • Fruits: Bananas, Sweet Apple, Pears.

7 month onwards:

  • Grains: Rice Cereal, Oats Cereal, Barley, Multi Grain Cereal, Quinoa, Cracked wheat, Cracked Rice.
  • Vegetables: Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Peas, Pumpkin, Winter Squash, Green Beans, Zucchini, Pumpkin, Acorn Squash.
  • Fruits: Bananas, Sweet Apple, Pears, Avocados, Peaches, Prunes, Plums, Cantaloupe.
  • Herbs/Spices (Dried): Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cumin, Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary.

 

STAGE 2 (8 to 9 months)

By this time, your baby has already got a taste of real food. Now it is time to graduate to the next level. From this age, start pureeing in semi-smooth consistency. This helps them to start and get used to chewing food. To develop their pincer grip you can start with ‘O’ cereals as well as baby teething biscuits to soothe their gums. Start setting a routine for three major meals and snacks in between. For my daughter, it was Breakfast- Snack- Lunch- Snack- Dinner. 

  • Grains: Rice Cereal, Oats Cereal, Barley, Multi Grain Cereal, Quinoa, Cracked wheat, Cracked Rice, Lentils, Pasta, Whole grain rice.
  • Vegetables: Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Peas , Pumpkin, Winter Squash, Green Beans, Zucchini, Pumpkin, Acorn Squash, Spinach, Parsnip, Carrot, Summer Squash, Broccoli, Beets, Cauliflower, Turnip, Leeks, Eggplant.
  • Fruits: Bananas, Sweet Apple, Pears, Avocados, Peaches, Prunes, Papaya.
  • Herbs/Spices (Dried): Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cumin, Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary, Basil, Garlic.
  • Protein: Chicken, Pork, Legumes, Turkey,
  • Dairy: Yogurt, Cheese (Cheddar, Mozzarella), Unsalted Butter.

 

STAGE 3 (10 to 12 months)

By now your baby will be well adapted to the feeding routine. She would anticipate what is coming next. At this stage, a baby will be able to tolerate chunkier texture and is able to self-feed small pieces of food. This is the right time to start with finger foods. Small pieces of boiled vegetables, fruits, cheese and pasta make a perfect finger food. Always supervise your baby when she eats and do not leave her alone in the high chair.

  • Grains: Rice Cereal, Oats Cereal, Barley, Multi Grain Cereal, Quinoa, Cracked wheat, Cracked Rice, Lentils, Pasta, Whole grain rice, Flaxseed, Millet, Whole Wheat Pasta, Beans, Bread Sticks.
  • Vegetables: Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Peas , Pumpkin, Winter Squash, Green Beans, Zucchini, Acorn Squash, Spinach, Parsnip, Carrot, Summer Squash, Broccoli, Beets, Cauliflower, Turnip, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Cabbage
  • Fruits: Bananas, Sweet Apple, Pears, Avocados, Peaches, Prunes, Cranberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Raisins, Dates, Figs, Grapes, Watermelon, Kiwi
  • Herbs/Spices (Dried): Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cumin, Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary, Basil, Vanilla, Cilantro.
  • Protein: Chicken, Pork, White Fish, Egg, Legumes, Salmon, Beef, Soy Bean, Tofu.
  • Dairy: Yogurt, Cheese (Cheddar, Mozzarella), Unsalted Butter.

These are the list of foods which can be introduced to babies at each month. Every child is different, what suited my daughter might not go well with your child. So, before starting any new food, do consult your pediatrician.  

References:

Book:

Jeannette L.Bessinger, CHHC with Tracee Yablon-Brenner, RD, CHHC ‘Great Expectations- Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler’ (New York, Sterling 2010), pages referred: 89 to 118, 179 to 255. 

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