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Elizabeth BarlettaEditor-in-Chief of Top Mom
Infants eat breast milk or formula for the first 6 months, and you rest assured that your little one is full, happy and gets all nutrients he/she needs. But at the age of 4-6 months, a child begins to show the signs that he/she is ready for the next step – solid food. This stage may be quite challenging for the new parents, they feel confused and have so many questions. When do babies start eating solid food? What are the right products? How to make baby food? If you are one of these parents, this post is for you! Here you’ll find useful baby feeding tips. Keep reading!
What Baby Food Should I Introduce First?
The first parents’ question will be “When do babies start eating baby food?” There is no right answer. However, when a child is ready to try solid food, he/she shows some signs, which you’ll be able to identify easily. First – a baby can sit upright without your assistance; second – he/she is interested in foods and shows his/her engagement. These signs indicate that your little one is ready to be introduced to something new and tasty, the approximate age is 6 months, but it may vary.
Well, you already know when babies eat solid food, let’s find out the best baby food for the first time. Actually, there aren’t any official rules on which product to start. Just don’t give choking hazards, such as bread, crackers, small pieces of eating, etc.
To sum up, the best products to start from are those easy-digestible and easy to eat. Here is a list of the best baby food you may take into consideration.
- Baby cereal (rice, oatmeal, barley)
- Sweet potato
When you start baby food but still hesitate to give, consult your pediatrician, especially if your little one is allergic.
What Are First-Year Baby Food Stages?
There are 3 main baby food stages which are determined by the child’s age and milestones he/she would achieve. The eating you give to your little one depends on the stage he/she is on.
So, what are the stages of baby food?
Stage 1 Baby Food
When to start baby food stage 1: about 6 months
Readiness: a child can sit without assistance and shows an interest in food.
What food to give: start from pureed fruit or vegetable – you can buy jarred options from trusted manufacturers or cook them yourself. Another good option for the first eating is baby cereal – mix it with breast milk or formula to make the consistency thinner and the taste familiar; your little one will appreciate this. It’s the right time when you can give baby rice cereal or oatmeal.
We often get asked, “Oatmeal vs rice cereal for babies: which is better?” They both are super healthy, and you can start from any of them. But if your little wee has a constipation issue, it’s better to start from oatmeal.
Stage 2 Baby Food
When to start stage 2 baby foods: 6 to 8 months
Readiness: the child drools less and pushes less eating out from the mouth
What food to give: continue to add new fruits and veggies; make baby cereal. It’s a time when babies can eat meat, surely, it must be pureed, or you can buy jarred options. Try to mix ingredients – cereal with vegetables or meat, but mix only 2 components.
Stage 3 Baby Food
When to start stage 3 baby food: 10-12 months
Readiness: your little one can swallow well, his/her teeth are coming in, he/she is doing well with purees, can put food in his/her mouth, attempts to hold a utensil.
What food to give: it’s the right time when babies can have eggs; start to introduce your little one to soft, chunky foods. There is no need for purees anymore, but make sure to cut the products to make them easy to eat and don’t give choking hazards. American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not to avoid certain products that may potentially cause allergy unless your family has a strong history of allergies.
Things To Remember
To make the experience of new food pleasant for both you and your little wee, you should follow the next tips, they are simple and logical.
- Give only one product to try at a time
- Give the new food for 3 to 5 days before introducing a new one. That’s how you can identify whether your kid has an allergy or food intolerance.
- Start introducing with a small quantity – less than a teaspoon. Then increase a portion gradually to a tablespoon.
- Don’t use salt or sugar – it’s unhealthy
- Don’t give your little one honey until he/she is 12 months – it can cause botulism in infants.
- If you want to make your life easier, use best baby food maker – most parents swear by it. This device steam and puree food.
When Can Babies Have Water?
Healthy breastfed babies don’t need water at all until it’s not too hot or they are introduced to solid food. If they eat formula, parents should give them a little water from time to time. Finally, when babies eat baby food, they must be provided with as much water as they want.
Foods To Avoid For Babies
As it was mentioned above, there is no need to avoid certain products. But you, as a caring parent, should know the eating which may be potentially dangerous for younger children.
- Honey – it’s a no-no for children under 1-year-old. We mentioned that it might cause botulism.
- Cows milk – it’s difficult to digest for younger kids, plus, cow milk can cause kidney damage.
- Citrus – can cause reflux or upset tummy
- Small hard foods, like nuts, grapes, etc. – they are choking hazards and too tough for babies to chew
- Too soft products like marshmallows, jellies, etc. – they can lodge in the throat.
We, at top-mom.com, hope that our simple tips will help you to make the experience of introducing new food to your little one more pleasant and hassle-free.