Starting your baby on solid food can feel intimidating at first, especially if you choose to make your own baby food. There is undoubtedly a lot to take in, and once you start, it’s easy to fall into a rut. Regardless, this can be a fun adventure if you take some time and experiment with different baby-safe recipes. Superfoods are a wonderful way to let your babies try a variety of foods while also getting additional nutrients.
When to Start on Solids
While past advice has allowed parents to start on solids anytime around four months, most pediatricians agree it’s best to wait until your baby is at least six-months-old and showing signs of readiness. Starting too early might result in the baby not being able to properly digest the food and could even lead to obesity in the future.
Some signs of readiness include:
- Being able to sit up without assistance
- The development of the pincer grasp where babies can grab foods and other small items between the pointer finger and the thumb.
- An eagerness to participate in mealtime including reaching for food or imitating your movements.
Keep in mind the rule, “food before one is just for fun!” Breastfeeding or formula should be the primary source of nutrition prior to your baby’s first birthday.
Introducing First Foods
The best thing for your baby is to introduce new foods one at a time. This is to ensure that if there is an allergic reaction, you’ll know exactly what’s causing it. Allow for three days before introducing your baby to another food.
One of the simplest ways to introduce foods is to mash or blend it. If it’s too thick or lumpy, feel free to add a little breast milk to thin it out. Many moms choose to bypass the puree process all together and instead start Baby-Led Weaning. Some great early foods are bananas, sweet potatoes, and avocados. All three are quick to prepare and easy to process.
Adding in Additional Foods
Once it’s time to start combining foods, finding new creations is a great way to allow your baby to try different recipes and gain a wider palate. Adding superfoods to old favorites will add nutrients to her diet and teach her to appreciate some seriously great foods.
Blueberries are pretty much nature’s candy. They’re packed with antioxidants that boost your immunity and keep your body in tip-top shape. They’re also perfect for Baby-Led Weaning. Slice each berry into small bits to prevent any choking. Blueberries are great additions in purees and smoothies! A blueberry apple smoothie with spinach thinned with either breast milk or water will deliver a multitude of vitamins while tasting fantastic.
Most babies go crazy for yogurt, and for good reason. This ancient food is both healthy and super delicious. When choosing yogurt, remember: babies don’t need foods packed with sugar and won’t know the difference between plain and sweetened yogurt. Stick with plain, pasteurized yogurt with live cultures for the best benefits. Mixing in pureed fruit will make this treat even better!
The FDA recommends waiting until the baby is seven-months-old before introducing kale due to the nitrates. Once your baby has started on kale, you can add in various foods to make it a little tastier.
To cook kale, rinse thoroughly and discard the stems. Boil it in water for five minutes until it’s dark and tender. At that point, you’re ready to blend! Because kale tends to be pretty bitter, it goes well with sweeter fruits and vegetables. Try a mixture of roasted sweet potatoes and kale for a healthy lunch. Adding in quinoa will boost the benefits. Kale is also wonderful in smoothies! A kale smoothie with apples and yogurt can be a fantastic breakfast once your baby gets closer to a year old.
Many parents are a bit hesitant to try their babies on peanut butter because it can be a pretty serious and scary allergy. While it can be hard to pull the trigger, studies have shown that introducing babies to peanut butter around six months might actually prevent allergies from developing. Talk to your pediatrician before starting your baby on this food. Quite a few parents recommend introducing it to your baby in the doctor’s parking lot after the six-month appointment. That way, should a severe allergy appear, you’ll have immediate help.
Once safely introduced, peanut butter is a great addition to baby food because it pairs well with most fruit purees. A mash of peanut butter, bananas, and cinnamon is quick to throw together. If you’re in the mood for brunch, throw it into some pancake batter and slice into small pieces for you and your baby to share. Diced blueberries on top make this an even better treat!
While this might seem like a food for older babies, it’s fine to introduce your baby to fish from the get-go. Salmon is a fantastic early food for purees or Baby-Led Weaning as long as it has been properly stored and is thoroughly cooked. While you can slice broiled salmon up and serve as a stand-alone snack, this is a great way to include your baby in on family meals! Salmon served with green beans and sweet potatoes is a baby-safe meal that the entire family can enjoy. Letting your baby participate will not only be a great experience for him but will also likely save you some serious time and hassle.
Introducing nutritious foods early on will set your baby up well for the future. Making your own baby food is a fantastic way to do this. Not only will you know where each and every ingredient comes from, but you can try new combinations. Use this time to get adventurous and show your baby that healthy foods are fantastic! If you would like to know more about baby nutrition, contact us at Celebrate Birth. We can point you towards a source or a class, and we have a lending library with plenty of information on your family’s health!