Baby’s first bites

This article was featured in The Suburban

Starting solids is a huge milestone in a baby’s development. There is so much information out there regrading introducing solid foods to your baby which can be quite confusing. Some parents go the traditional puree route and gradually modify textures. Others decide to use the baby led weaning approach. I am a fan of combining both and offering babies a variety of textures from the beginning. Here is a list of nutritious first foods that can be given to your baby regardless of your feeding approach.

Meats and other iron-rich foods

Babies are usually born with sufficient iron stores to last them for the first 4-6 months of life. At six months adequate dietary iron should be provided to prevent iron deficiency anemia. For generations, doctors and other health professionals have been recommending infant cereals to parents as an essential first food. However studies show that iron from meats is much better absorbed than the iron found in fortified cereals. For that reason I suggest adding soft-cooked pureed, mashed or finely chopped beef, chicken or pork to your baby’s diet first. Canned fish such as low sodium salmon and eggs can also provide a good source of dietary iron. Some vegetarian sources of iron rich foods include tofu, lentils and beans.

Cooked sweet potato

Sweet potatoes can be given as sticks or in puree form. If you are using baby led weaning techniques, soft, oven baked homemade sweet potato fries are a great option for the entire family! Sweet potato is a source of carbohydrate and it also contains fiber. I particularly like sweet potato because it is high in beta carotene which is converted to Vitamin A by the baby’s body. Vitamin A is important for baby’s normal vision development. It also plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system.

Avocado

Avocado is very easy to incorporate in a baby’s diet. It can be mashed/ pureed or can be offered sliced. Avocadoes contain healthy fats known as monounsaturated fats. Healthy fats are an essential part of your child’s diet. They play an important role in the development of your child’s brain and help them reach their growth potential. So next time you make that lovely bowl of guacamole, make sure to share with the baby!

Bananas

Bananas are by far the most popular first food. Most babies love bananas because they are sweet and tasty! Research shows that bananas and their mucosal properties help in digestion. Bananas are a great source of potassium which is crucial for good health and development. Bananas can be given as wedges or puree. They are also great frozen to help relieve babies of teething!

Tips for making baby food

Many parents decide to make their very own baby food. Homemade baby food is cheaper and fresher. You don’t need buy fancy equipment to do so. Most foods can be easily pureed in a blender or a food processor. Hand blenders can also do the trick and are not very expensive. Remember baby food doesn’t need to be bland. Do not add sugar or salt but any other seasoning is totally fine! To thicken a puree, you can add infant cereal, to make a puree more liquid; you can add no sodium broth or breast milk. 

Naureen Hunani