Safe First Foods
By Heather Burdo
Introducing your baby to solid food is exciting. However, it can also be anxiety-inducing when you’re not sure what foods to begin with. It’s always best to check with a pediatrician before-hand, but usually a baby is ready when they are around six months of age and can support their head. Additionally, it’s important that your baby’s tongue-thrust reflex is gone. Once those milestones are met, your baby can happily enjoy the following.
Pureed Foods - Once your child is ready for solids, a pediatrician will recommend starting with pureed food. Try a mild or sweeter tasting choice to work into this transition. For example, sweet potatoes will be more of a hit than peas.
Puffs - One of the first exciting things you can try is puffs. You can find them in the baby section of most grocery stores. They melt fast in a baby’s mouth, which makes parents feel at ease providing this treat. If it makes you feel better, you can always break up a puff into a few pieces when first introducing them. Bonus: There is barely any sugar in these.
Infant Cereal - Putting some pureed food in with some baby cereal will give your child the nutrients he or she needs. Once you first introduce foods, your little one will still need formula and/or breastmilk, but once he or she is strictly on solids, they will need iron - this cereal will ensure iron intake is met.
Toast - Once your child is doing well on pureed food and cereal, you can progress on to different foods like toast. Be sure to give small, bite size pieces and make sure he or she is chewing it well. You can add a small amount of butter if you wish so it won’t be too dry.
Crackers - Breaking up some crackers into small pieces is a great way for your child to start picking up food on their own. Whole wheat crackers are ideal nutrition wise (unless there are known allergies)
Pasta - You can get creative with pasta. Add just butter to start. If they do well with that, next time add a little sauce. You could even make a macaroni and cheese type of pasta as well.
Fruits and Vegetables - Always be sure vegetables are cooked so they won’t be too tough to chew. Fruits should be cut up into bite size pieces. Staying away from grapes is a good idea until your child has been eating solids for a while. When he or she is ready, it’s best to cut grapes up.
Meat - Once your baby has reached 8-12 months and is eating all the above food well, you can try some tender meat. Chicken is a great choice. Also, if you make something with ground beef, that’s a good option. As long as you offer small, tender pieces of meat, your child should be fine chewing it. Some people are afraid their child doesn’t have enough teeth for meat, but they will use their gums too.
Simple Guidelines to Ensure Safety
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are a few things you can do to put your mind more at ease and decrease the chances or your child choking. Each child should:
- Sit up while eating. Never allow lying down during meal or snack time.
- Avoid eating in a stroller or car
- Sit in a high chair or somewhere safe
Reaching new milestones bring such joy, especially when you get to introduce new foods. However, it’s best to check with your child’s pediatrician as this is just a general overview. The pediatrician will know best when your child is ready, and they usually discuss at each appointment when you can switch to new foods.
Get ready, mama (and dad!) - This is no doubt going to be a messy but fun and exciting time for your and your little one.
Heather is a freelance writer from New York. When she isn't writing about parenting, she is tending to her own two handsome boys. She enjoys all things related to motivation and mindset. All work aside, she enjoys activities outdoors and being with her family.
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