Introducing Baby Food? Here are 20 Things to Feed Your Infant
When to Start Baby Food
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says you should introduce solids between 4 and 6 months, but the answer depends on your baby. He might be ready if he exhibits the following signs:
- Sitting upright and holding up his head
- Looking around himself curiously
- Ability to swallow and loss of “tongue thrust” reflex (this prevents you from putting solid objects into your baby’s mouth)
- Seeming dissatisfied from milk alone
7 Foods to Feed Baby Before Age 1
Babies eat with their eyes, just as grown-ups do, and what's more beautiful than bright red strawberries or dusky blueberries? Serve small or chopped berries as finger foods, or blend them for a scrumptious puree that's as good spread on toast as it is off a spoon.
Babies' growing brains crave DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that’s essential to cognitive development—and salmon is packed with the stuff. Mash some cooked, flaked fish into a puree, or bread it and bake it for salmon nuggets.
Recent guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), says that introducing babies to peanuts around 4 to 6 months could actually prevent peanut allergies, especially if they’re at a high risk of developing them. Instead of giving your baby whole peanuts or a spoonful of peanut butter (both of which are choking hazards), spread a little peanut butter on toast sticks or stir a bit into a puree.
Onions and Garlic
Who says you need to stick with traditional baby food? Try including small amounts of onion, leeks, scallions, and garlic into your baby's diet. When cooked, these flavor-boosters add a mellow, savory quality to purees and chunkier baby meals.
Spinach and Other Leafy Greens
Most babies are open to trying new foods. Sometimes they'll make a funny face or turn away, but don't give up offering—especially when it comes to nutrient-packed leafy greens. Soon enough your little one will become accustomed to the earthy taste of spinach, kale, and chard, and you'll go a long way toward building a more adventurous eater in the future.
If your family eats meat, don't shy away from beef. Full of protein and zinc, it's an ideal early baby food. Serve it pureed on its own or mixed with potato, sweet potato, or a green vegetable puree.
There's no reason to limit your baby's starches to old-fashioned rice cereal. Try cereals made from oats, quinoa, brown rice, or other whole grains—which generally have more fiber and often more flavor.
Mashed butternut squash is a classic baby food for good reason: The flavor is sweet, so it's usually an instant hit with little ones, and it's packed with Vitamin A.
How to Make Baby Food: Butternut Squash Puree
With six grams of protein, healthy fats, and choline for eye health, eggs are a great baby food. And they're also perfectly easy to prepare; simply blend a scrambled egg with a vegetable puree, cut up an omelet as a finger food, or chop a hard-boiled egg for easy eating.
Did you know lentils are an amazing source of iron? Unlike dried beans, they require no soaking, and they combine well with a variety of savory add-ins like veggies, mild curry powder, and fresh herbs.
More Baby Food Options
Continue to expand your infant's horizons with these baby food options:
- Basil and other herbs