The first six months or so of your new baby’s life will be sustained and fortified with milk or formula. However, soon after that, your baby is ready to move on to more solid foods, which can be a challenge to any parent. You’ll need to check with your pediatrician about any allergy risks, but now you’re ready to move on and introduce solids into your baby’s diet.
Here are some suggestions on how to prepare starter food for babies.
Don’t start your baby on any new food regimen without first talking to your pediatrician. Let him or her know what’s going on with your baby and your plans for introducing solid foods into the diet. As your doctor will tell you, you will be charting the course of good eating habits for your child’s life by what you start them on. Discuss food and preparation options with your doctor before taking that next step with your baby.
Whenever preparing anything for your baby, make sure your hands have been cleaned with hot water and a disinfecting soap. All utensils, plates, and dishes should also be clean. If you’re preparing the baby food yourself, make sure the fruits and vegetables have been washed properly. Even though you may purchase fresh produce from the grocery store, it still may contain trace elements of pesticides and other chemicals used in the growing process. It’s just smart to clean things when you get home.
When introducing new elements into your baby’s diet, you want to be careful not to set off any allergies that you may or may not be aware of. General rule of thumb from pediatricians is to test a new food for your baby for four straight days and take a “wait and see” attitude. Monitor your baby’s reaction to the new item and discontinue if you recognize any signs of an allergy like rash, difficulty breathing, itching, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. Only introduce one new food at a time into your baby’s diet so you can monitor this properly.
Baby Food in a Jar
Many name brand producers have been making start baby food for decades. They offer balanced nutrition, low sodium, and a variety of flavors to test your baby’s palate. These are easy to find in grocery stores and larger retail merchants like Target or Wal Mart. Follow the directions on each individual jar to ensure temperature is correct. Feed your baby with a rubber covered spoon so they won’t injure their mouth. Keep a pad with notes on how your child reacts to each new taste for future use.
A Bounty of New Tastes
For baby’s first foods, avoid manufactured cereals and instead take advantage of nature’s bounty. Foods such as bananas, apples, pears, avocados, carrots, and sweet potatoes are excellent starter foods. Bananas and avocados are easily peeled and mashed into an easy paste for baby’s enjoyment. Pears, apples, carrots, and sweet potatoes will need to be baked or boiled first. Peel the item and then cut into smaller chunks for easy cooking and then pureed in a food processor for the best consistency. Again, introduce only one new food to your baby at a time to monitor for allergies and/taste preferences.
Rice Cereal and Pastina
Rice cereal is a perfect first food to start a baby with. Rice cereal is easy to prepare and very nutritious. You can add mashed bananas to it for flavor and variety. Also, pastina (very tiny pasta) can be combined with any of your pureed vegetables for a healthy meal.
Just remember as you’re introducing new foods to your baby, they won’t like everything. No two babies are alike and foods will have different tastes and textures to them. Be patient and experiment with your little one. You’re starting life long eating habits with the foods you serve. So think healthy and natural.