Is your baby ready for solid foods? What are appropriate baby’s first foods? Are you keen to introduce solid foods for your little one?
Has your baby crossed the six months milestone and you want to transition from exclusive breastfeeding to solids?
Are you clueless about where to start and how to go about it? Do you often wonder about the right types of foods to introduce?
Reading this post may be a good idea and a good place to start.
The truth is that starting your baby on a solid diet can be quite scary, messy, fun, interesting and needs a lot of patience on your part. But fret not! Feeding first foods to a baby is not as difficult as it sounds.
You just have to take it one step at a time and keep track of the baby’s response to each food and if she has any negative reaction or allergy to any food. You also have to track your baby’s growth and development.
I have listed 11 good baby foods and some simple tips & suggestions on how to introduce them.
I normally recommend akamu made from sorghum and millet before advancing to pap made from corn. This is because sorghum and millet have more nutrients than corn.
Moreover, I have noticed that corn have a tendency of making a baby cough(I introduce corn to my baby’s pap from nine months). There is normally no side effect from pap made from sorghum and millet even for a 4 months old baby.
Tip:Always Add the recommended quantity of baby formula for your child’s age to the pap.
2. Packaged Cereals
Doctors strongly recommend iron-fortified cereals as one of the first foods for babies. It boosts baby’s iron intake and regulates the baby’s bowel movement.
Mix cereal with a breast milk or water and formula before offering it to your baby. I started giving my baby Garber oatmeal with breast milk for almost 1 month before I started adding formula
NOTE:Always check the manufacturing and expiry date and appropriate age guideline on the cereal before buying it.
Don’t buy a cereal made for a year old baby for a six-month-old baby. The appropriate nutritional content of a cereal per age is what your child needs.
Surprisingly most babies love the tangy taste of fruits. So in addition to cereals, you can give pureed or mashed fruits to your baby.
Wash the fruits well before peeling and make sure they are fully ripe. Some of the best options include banana, pear, apple, plum, Paw-Paw and avocado.
You don’t need to cook some fruits such as banana, paw-paw and avocado for your baby, But you may cook some fruits like apple and plum to soften them before you puree them, so they will be perfect for a baby.
How to prepare baby’s first food
Cut the banana into slices and mash it with a fork.
Scoop out the avocado flesh and mash it with a fork before serving.
Remember that that offering various seasonal fruits to your baby will tantalize her tiny taste buds in a healthy way.
Vegetables also make a good baby food option. I actually introduced my first child to vegetables first. You can introduce any of these vegetables to your baby; potatoes, carrots, peas, pumpkin, green beans.
Wash, peel and stem or bake the veggies until tender. Then mash or puree the vegetable. Do not add salt while boiling the vegetables.
Tip:Don’t give canned vegetables to your baby as they contain salt.
You can give small amounts of fresh home-made juice or store-bought unsweetened juice diluted with boiled water with meals.
I recommend the following juice: apple juice, beetroot juice, orange juice, watermelon juice, grape juice, mango juice, carrot juice
Quick Tip:Remember to serve the juice in a feeding cup, not a bottle.
Stewed and pureed poultry is an ideal baby food. Most babies love to eat chicken.
How to prepare:
Cut the chicken into tiny bits and slow cook with just a little salt, puree it and serve it to the child alone or mix it into her pureed vegetable.
You can also introduce beef and turkey to your baby.
Remember to feed her only tiny spoonfuls. You can also give it to your baby if she has started grabbing and putting things in her mouth to munch on as a healthy snack.
You can also add fish to your child’s diet; I normally introduce fish to my children first before I introduce meat. But be careful to remove the bones while serving it to your little one.
Fish is rich in protein, Vitamin D, Omega 3 fatty acid. Make sure not to buy certain fishes that contain methylmercury which is a type of metal believed to be harmful in high doses to a child’s developing brain and nervous system.
How to prepare fish for baby
Just season the fish with chopped onion and salt and boil it. Debone it and mash it. Puree it into a soft paste with boiled water and serve it to your baby.
The fishes that are safe for babies are sardines, tilapia, light tuna, salmon, pollock, flatfish, cod, catfish.
8. Whole Grains:
Whole grains like rice, millet and quinoa will expose your baby’s palate to a whole new world of food textures. The variety of textures of different grains will help your baby learn to use his mouth and tongue.
Cook rice, millet or quinoa in vegetable broth to be soft, puree it and serve with pureed non-spicy tomato and fish stew.
Beans are a good source of nutrient for baby. You can introduce beans to your baby in a lot of ways.
You can just cook it as porridge and mash it. Or cook it and serve it with stew. You can also make moi-moi from it, or fry it as Akara and give it to baby to eat the inside. Check out these friendly beans recipes for babies and toddlers.
Always wash off all the skin of beans and slow-cook it so it won’t make the baby have constipation.
Soups are easy to use as weaning food for babies. They are nutritious and are easy to swallow and there are fewer chances of choking for a baby. My first child is a picky eater and avoids food that she will have to chew so soups are one of the things I introduced early to her. And she loves them.
Try any of these soup recipes and your baby will definitely love it. Carrot and beef soup, vegetable and fish soup, plantain soup, chicken and noodle soup.
Of course, almost all Nigerian mothers know that Okro soup and semolina is a win-win for babies.
11. Readymade Baby Food:
I am not really a fan of readymade baby food, but for a busy mum who is always on the go and without a helper, this is a handy option.
I have tried this once or twice when my family is travelling and I needed a handy healthy option for my baby. I noticed that my children didn’t like them on the first trial but subsequently they did eat it well though. I have also meet babies that love these readymade baby foods.
If you have to feed a readymade baby food to your baby, keep the following in mind before proceeding:
Go for a known brand.
Check the manufacturing and expiry date and seal on each package.
Watch out for additive, artificial flavour and food colouring.
Do not buy a baby food pack that is leaking or open.
Buy the baby foods from a renowned and well-stocked shop.
Important Points To Always Keep in Mind when introducing baby’s first food:
Babies have tiny tummies so feed them small portions at a short interval. Do not be in a hurry to feed start feeding large portions of solid food to babies.
Start Your baby’s first food with single ingredient food, then progress to mixing two or three. This is so you can easily track the one that her body is reacting to, in case a problem arises
Do not add salt or sugar to your baby’s first foods.
Do not offer solids to your baby if she is sick, tired or cranky.
Offer a new food in the morning or early in the day so you can watch out for allergic reactions.
Wait for at least nine months before offering highly allergenic foods like eggs, seafood and peanuts.
Do not give honey to your baby as it can cause a potentially dangerous disease called infant botulism.
Do not give your baby cow’s milk before her first birthday as it can irritate your baby’s tiny tummy.
If the food is hot, cool it and test the temperature on your wrist before giving it to your baby.
Each time you introduce a new food to your baby, wait for two to four days to see if it causes any reaction, before combining it with another meal.
When your baby’s tiny teeth appear, you can help develop her chewing skills, by offering her foods with more texture.
What if my Baby rejects her first food, what should I do?
There is a high possibility that your baby will refuse the first food offered to her. Don’t worry. Try again after some days or try another meal. You may also have to wait for a few days until your baby has forgotten the experience and try again.
Do not assume that your baby hates the food until you have tried that particular food on several occasions over a given period of time. If she still doesn’t show interest but takes other healthy options when it is offered to her. It could just be that she is unfamiliar with it.
If your baby refuses to open up for the next bite or turns away her face or starts playing with his food, then probably she is full.
A few handy Tips To Prevent Choking:
It is crucial to take all the following precautions to prevent choking
Make your baby sits upright in a high chair while feeding.
Never offer foods that are potential choking hazards like hot dogs, whole grapes, and popcorn.
How Do I know I am feeding my Baby Enough Solid Food?
This was a major concern to me and I realized it is same for so many other mothers. We worry we may not be serving them enough or that we are serving them too much solid food. But it is not as complicated as it may seem, just watch your baby’s response and follow the cue. A baby will normally turn away or start playing with her food once she is full.
You can also start by giving the baby just one serving of solid food a day or every alternate day if your baby is reluctant. Your baby may take just one or two spoonfuls. Don’t worry, your baby will work her way up soon. Increase the amount and the frequency of feeding gradually. By around 8 or 9 months, your baby will be eating three solid meals a day.
Most importantly, you have to be patient with your little one. Remember that it may take her a little time to get accustomed to new foods, so don’t get impatient and frustrated. Always smile and be kind and gentle while dealing with your little one. Don’t be in a hurry to get it over with because you are running out of time to do some other time.
Always show the little one you love her and never stop saying so to her. Remember children thrive in an environment filled with love. Also, remember to consult a paediatrician before introducing your baby to any new food.
What was your baby’s first food? I would love to hear from you. Do share your recipe, experience and advice with other Powerful Beauty Moms.
Watch out for these posts on:
When Can You Introduce Solids in Your Baby’s Diet?
Watch out for these signs that your baby is ready for solids