First Year Feeding Guide

Age 6 to 8 Months: Adding Fruits and Vegetables

At around 6 months, your baby should start to eat fruits and vegetables. Because infants have a natural preference for sweet foods, many pediatricians suggest introducing veggies first--otherwise, your baby might grow too attached to, say, bananas and refuse to give peas a chance.

Since yellow and orange vegetables are sweeter than green ones, carrots, yams, and butternut squash tend to go over best. But if your baby spits out her first mouthful of spinach, just keep trying: Repeated exposure can convert even the stubbornest vegephobe. Start with strained or pureed vegetables and then move on to mashed. Servings should gradually increase from a few teaspoons to about two tablespoons, twice a day.

After your child has sampled a variety of vegetables, bring on the fruit. (Start small and work up to a couple of tablespoons, twice daily.) Avoid sweetened treats like cobblers and puddings - the extra fat and sugar add empty calories and can sour your baby on plain fruit.

Juice is fine now and then, but it's no substitute for the fruit itself: Although it may be fortified with vitamin C, it lacks fiber and other nutrients, and its concentrated sugars can spoil your baby's appetite for breast milk or formula - still the most essential element of her diet. The AAP suggests serving no more than four ounces of juice per day, diluted half and half with water if you're offering it frequently. Citrus juice is too acidic for most babies, and some also find apple and pear juices indigestible. A recent study indicates that white grape juice is least likely to cause diarrhea and cramping.

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