With a few simple tools and the food your family is already eating, you can create your baby’s menu of natural foods. Breast milk, or formula, is all the baby needs for nutrition the first year. The added foods are getting the baby ready for their future meals and the social nature of eating with the family.
When can your baby start on solid foods? Your doctor can help you with guides to your baby and their needs. Generally your baby’s birth weight needs to have doubled and they need to be sitting up with hands at the ready. Once you get the go ahead, start slowly. Rice cereal mixed with breast milk or formula, whichever your baby is drinking already, will help introduce your baby to a new texture and taste. Keep a log as you introduce new foods–one thing at a time.
Choose organic foods whenever possible, and be sure to wash and skin fruits and veggies. Introduce one spoon of new food at a time (if others in your family are allergic to a food avoid it until much later). Never just stop giving your baby food after the first try, or they could develop an allergy to that particular food.
Using a small spoon will help with portions. No sugar or salt is needed at this early stage and process the food so that it is smooth and runny. (Think applesauce with a small amount of water added.) Offer solids at breakfast, lunch and dinner to get the baby on your schedule.
Here are some foods that you and your family can eat, and with just a fork or hand blender you can make them the right consistency for your little one.
- Carrots, Beets, Potatoes, Spinach
- Apples, Apricots, Avocados, Bananas, Pears
- Grains and cereals (No sugar)
Cook the family’s food without spices and pull out a small amount for baby, then season for your family. Use a fork and mash or use a hand-held blender that you can rinse under running water.
Offer your baby water to drink when starting to introduce solid food. A sippy cup with handles containing an inch or two of water is a great way to have baby learn to be independent.
Expect a mess and feed the baby with a bib and in clothes that are easy to toss into the wash. Always have a stack of clean cloths or soft paper towels or tissues to wash baby after eating. This is a time for other family members to help. Focus on the whole family enjoying a special time with the new baby.