What baby food to try first
Feeding Your 4- to 7-Month-Old (for Parents)
Most babies this age are ready to try solid foods. Experts recommend starting solid foods when a baby is about 6 months old, depending on the baby's readiness and nutritional needs.
Be sure to check with your doctor before giving any solid foods.
Is My Baby Ready to Eat Solid Foods?
How can you tell if your baby is ready for solids? Here are a few hints:
- Does your baby swallow food or push it out of their mouth? Babies have a natural tongue-thrust reflex that pushes food back out. Wait until this reflex disappears (typically when babies are 4–6 months old).
- Can your baby support their own head? To eat solid food, an infant needs good head and neck control and should be able to sit up.
- Is your baby interested in food? Babies who stare, reach and grab, and open their mouths for food are ready to try solid foods.
If your doctor gives the go-ahead but your baby seems frustrated or uninterested in solid foods, try waiting a few days before trying again. Breast milk and formula will still meet nutritional needs as your baby learns to eat solid foods. But after 6 months, babies need the added nutrition — like iron and zinc — that solid foods provide.
Do not add cereal or other food to your baby's bottle because it can lead to too much weight gain.
Watch for signs that your child is hungry or full. Respond to these cues and let your child stop when full. A child who is full may suck with less enthusiasm, stop, or turn away from the breast or the bottle. With solid foods, they may turn away, refuse to open their mouth, or spit the food out.
How Should I Start Feeding My Baby Solid Foods?
When your baby is ready and the doctor says it’s OK to try solid foods, pick a time of day when your baby is not tired or cranky. You want your baby to be a little hungry, but not so hungry that they’re upset. So you might want to give your baby a little breast milk or formula first.
Have your baby sit supported in your lap or in a high chair with a safety strap.
Most babies' first food is iron-fortified infant single-grain cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. Place the spoon near your baby's lips, and let the baby smell and taste it. Don't be surprised if this first spoonful is rejected. Wait a minute and try again. Most food offered to your baby at this age will end up on the baby's chin, bib, or high-chair tray. Again, this is just an introduction.
When your little one gets the hang of eating cereal off a spoon, it may be time to try single-ingredient puréed meat, vegetables, or fruit. The order in which you give them doesn't matter, but go slow. Offer foods that are high in iron and zinc — such as meat, poultry, eggs, and beans — especially if your baby is breastfeeding. Try one food at a time and wait several days before trying something else new. This will let you identify any foods that your baby may be allergic to.
Which Foods Should I Avoid?
Foods that are more likely to cause allergies can be among the foods you introduce to your baby. These include peanuts, eggs, cow’s milk, seafood, nuts, wheat, and soy. Waiting to start these foods does not prevent food allergies. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about food allergies, especially if any close family members have allergies, food allergies, or allergy-related conditions, like eczema or asthma.
Infants with severe eczema or egg allergies are more likely to have allergies to peanuts. Talk to your doctor about how and when to introduce these foods to your child.
Possible signs of food allergy or allergic reactions include:
- bloating or an increase in gassiness
Get medical care right away if your baby has a more severe allergic reaction, like hives, drooling, wheezing, or trouble breathing.
If your child has any type of reaction to a food, don't offer that food again until you talk with your doctor.
Babies shouldn't have:
- foods with added sugars and no-calorie sweeteners
- high-sodium foods
- honey, until after the first birthday. It can cause botulism in babies.
- unpasteurized juice, milk, yogurt, or cheese
- regular cow's milk or soy beverages before 12 months instead of breast milk or formula. It’s OK to offer pasteurized yogurt and cheese.
- foods that may cause choking, such as hot dogs, raw carrots, grapes, popcorn, and nuts
Tips for Feeding Your Baby Solid Foods
With the hectic pace of family life, most parents try commercially prepared baby foods at first. They come in small, convenient containers, and manufacturers must meet strict safety and nutrition guidelines.
If you prepare your own baby foods at home, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Follow the rules for food safety, including washing your hands well and often.
- To preserve the nutrients in your baby's food, cook it in ways that keep the most vitamins and minerals. Try steaming or baking fruits and vegetables instead of boiling, which washes away the nutrients.
- Freeze portions that you aren't going to use right away.
- Whether you buy the baby food or make it yourself, texture and consistency are important. At first, babies should have finely puréed single-ingredient foods. (Just applesauce, for example, not apples and pears mixed together.)
- After your baby is eating individual foods, it's OK to offer a puréed mix of two foods. As babies get older, they will learn to eat a greater variety of tastes and textures.
- If you use prepared baby food in jars, spoon some of the food into a bowl to feed your baby. Do not feed your baby right from the jar — bacteria from the baby's mouth can contaminate the remaining food. If you refrigerate opened jars of baby food, it's best to throw away anything not eaten within a day or two.
- Around 6 months of age is a good time for your baby to try a cup. You might need to try a few cups to find one that works for your child. Use water at first to avoid messy clean-ups. Do not give juice to infants younger than 12 months.
Over the next few months, introduce a variety of foods from all the food groups. If your baby doesn't seem to like something, don’t give up. It can take 8 to 10 tries or more before babies learn to like new foods.
Dos and Don'ts for Baby's First Foods
Breastfeeding has been shown to improve infant, child and maternal health outcomes and help control healthcare costs, but how long should breastfeeding last and when should parents introduce solid foods?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend exclusive breastfeeding, meaning the infant receives only breast milk, during the first six months of life for optimal nutrition and health benefits.
Once solid foods are introduced, health professionals recommend continuing breastfeeding through 12 months of age and, after that, as desired by mother and baby. Introducing your baby to solid foods is an exciting milestone. When you start introducing children to the world of solid foods, you are helping them shape their relationship with food and establish a healthy eating style. The timing for introducing solid foods will depend on the infant, but it is not recommended before the age of four months or after the age of six months.
Not sure how to get your baby started on solid foods? Consider these helpful tips.
Is Your Baby Ready to Transition?
Each child's readiness for solid food depends on their own rate of development. Signs a baby may be ready to start solid foods include sitting up with minimal support, demonstrating good head control, bringing objects to the mouth or grasping at small objects. Check with your pediatrician before starting solid foods.
Getting Started With Solids
Solid foods may be introduced in any order. However, puréed meats, poultry, beans and iron-fortified cereals are recommended as first foods, especially if your baby has been primarily breastfed, since they provide key nutrients. Only one new single-ingredient food should be introduced at a time.
Softer textures are very important when first introducing foods. Infants usually start with pureed or mashed foods around six months. As infants develop chewing and motor skills, they are able to handle items like soft pieces of fruit and finger foods. As the child ages, a variety of healthful foods is encouraged.
Weaning From Breastfeeding
When deciding if you should wean your baby to a bottle or a cup, consider their developmental readiness. Between 7 and 8 months, most infants will drink small amounts of liquid from a cup or a glass when someone else holds it. Older babies and toddlers often have the coordination to drink fluids from a cup by themselves.
If your baby is under 12 months of age and you are not continuing to breastfeed, wean from breast milk to iron-fortified infant formula. If your baby is 12 months or older, whole cow’s milk is appropriate.
Food Safety Do’s and Don’ts
Food safety concerns for infants and toddlers include food allergies, choking and risks for foodborne illness. Keep the following safety tips in mind:
Do talk with your pediatrician about the risk of food allergies. Introducing one new food at a time, every several days, allows time to monitor for allergic reactions. Current evidence does not indicate needing to wait beyond 4 to 6 months before introducing potential allergy-causing foods such as eggs, dairy, soy, peanuts and fish. In fact, introducing peanut-containing foods as early as 4 to 6 months of age may help prevent a peanut allergy. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends introducing potentially allergenic foods when other complementary foods are introduced to an infant’s diet. Parents with concerns about food allergies should discuss how to include these foods with their pediatrician.
Don’t feed your baby solid foods from a bottle. It can be a choking hazard and despite a popular misconception, putting cereal in a baby's bottle won't help with sleeping through the night. Other foods that are considered to be choking hazards are listed below.
Do supervise your child while eating. Infants should be able to sit upright and face forward when you first introduce solid foods. This makes swallowing easier and choking less likely.
Don’t feed directly from the jar of food but instead spoon some food into a separate dish first. Feeding directly from the jar may introduce bacteria from your baby's mouth to the spoon and back into the food, creating a food safety issue.
Don’t feed honey to children under 12 months of age due to the risk of foodborne illness.
Examples of appropriate solid foods listed by age:
- Well-cooked and pureed meat, poultry or beans
- Ground, cooked, single-grain cereal or infant cereal with breast milk or formula
- Cooked and pureed vegetables
- Mashed banana or avocado
- Well-cooked, minced or finely chopped meat, poultry or beans
- A variety of cooked vegetables cut into small, ½ inch pieces, such as squash and green beans
- Sliced and quartered bananas or small pieces of other soft fruits
- Soft, shredded meat, poultry or fish
- Small pieces of cooked vegetables
- Small pieces of soft, easy to chew fruits
- Mixed food dishes the family is eating in appropriately sized pieces
Not recommended for those under 4 years of age due to the risk of choking:
- Popcorn and whole kernel corn
- Nuts and seeds
- Large chunks of meat, poultry and cheese
- Candy, gum drops and jelly beans
- Hard, raw fruits or vegetables such as apples, celery and carrots
- Whole grapes and cherry tomatoes, unless cut into quarters
- Hot dogs, unless cut into strips and age appropriate, bite-size pieces
- Sticky foods, such as peanut butter, which can get stuck in the back of the mouth – peanut butter is okay if spread thinly on bread
For toddlers and preschoolers, chop grapes, meat, poultry, hot dogs and raw vegetables and fruits into small pieces (about ½ inch or smaller).
Nurturing Healthy Relationships with Food
Establishing a positive feeding relationship during infancy can have lifetime benefits. Keep in mind that children are responsible for how much and whether they eat so always wait for your baby to pay attention to each spoonful before you feed them. Don't be afraid to let your baby touch the food in the dish and on the spoon. You wouldn't want to eat something if you didn't know anything about it, would you? In addition, know the cues that your baby is done eating. A common cue babies are full is head turning.
Whatever happens, don't get discouraged and enjoy the experience. With a little patience and creativity, you can make your baby's first solid food eating experience fun for everyone involved!
The best baby food manufacturers as voted
What is the best baby food for a newborn? How to choose infant formula? This is not the whole list of questions that parents ask themselves when it comes time to transfer a child to artificial feeding or mixed nutrition. We will try to answer some of these questions as objectively as possible, based on our own experience and real reviews of mothers.
Rating of the best manufacturers of baby food
We will not look at specific types of products such as formula milk or purees, but will try to identify the best manufacturers of baby food in general. The data was obtained from a survey among parents in one of the specialized groups of the social network.
Based on the experience of parents who choose baby food for newborns, the first place in the rating is taken by Nutricia (manufacturer - Holland). More than one thousand scientists monitor the quality control of this manufacturer; there are no artificial additives in the composition of the products. The product range includes five types of baby food for babies from birth to three years. These are adapted milk mixtures, cereals, vegetable and fruit purees, drinks.
Many votes were given to milk mixtures from the manufacturer Nutricia. At the same time, parents write about improving digestion and normalizing stools in newborns. Vegetable purees from other manufacturers have an optimal consistency, and babies eat it with pleasure. Reviews of Nutricia children's tea with chamomile: « Excellent tea. Unsweetened, we drink with great pleasure ”, “ Baby drinks with pleasure ”. According to the price criterion, Nutricia products are very affordable for most buyers.
In second place, according to the statistics of a survey of mothers, is baby food from Nestle (manufacturer - Switzerland) and their milk formulas NAN. Nutrition suitable for newborns, enriches the body with all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Mom’s review of Nestle NAN Premium breast milk replacer: “ At first I used the mixture as complementary foods, but after infection and antibiotic treatment, the milk disappeared, and from the 20th day of life, my third baby eats only NAN, both older ones also grew by NAN, the first son - from the 3rd month, the middle daughter - from the 2nd. Everyone is healthy, no one had problems with stools, now we go by the hour with the baby - 2 times a day ". We should not forget that the body of each baby is special and it is possible to determine which brand of baby food is best for the baby only by trial and error. In order not to purchase a fake and avoid unpleasant consequences, you need to be extremely careful and buy baby food exclusively in trusted stores.
In third place among the parents who determine the best manufacturers of baby food is the German company Hipp. The brand produces a whole line of adapted baby food products suitable for children of different ages: from birth, from 6 and 10 months. As for the vegetables and fruits from which the products are made, they are grown and harvested by the manufacturer. Hipp baby food can be found in supermarkets and pharmacies. Here is one of Hipp product reviews: « My baby likes it very much, and he is a very fastidious eater! ,” a parent wrote in the group.
Many parents are familiar with Friso nutrition. This is a manufacturer of powdered milk formulas for babies from birth and gluten-free cereals for the first and subsequent complementary foods. Some parents add Friso infant formula to dairy-free porridges from other manufacturers: “ The porridge is very tasty, the son eats with great pleasure ”, “ Good, tasty porridge. Smells good, blends well. My son is not allergic to her. We like ".
Many mothers are alarmed that the composition of these dry mixes does not comply with GOST. Do you always look at the compliance of products with the state standard?
Popular Russian producers
The popularity of vegetable and fruit purees for children of such brands as Babushkino basket, Tyoma and Frutonyanya is due to quality and affordable price. The range of domestically produced products can be found in pharmacies and on the shelves of children's departments in supermarkets. In general, parents are satisfied with the products of these brands and often purchase them for babies.
Parent reviews or advertisements
Reviews or advertisements determine baby food choices? The baby receives useful trace elements daily with breast milk or an adapted mixture from birth. Artificial feeding or the introduction of complementary foods is the most important stage in the life of any parent. The growing body of a child simply needs vitamins and minerals for the harmonious development and strengthening of immunity. Everyone knows this very well. That is why it is necessary to find out which baby food company is the best.
In stores you can see a huge number of types of baby food from a variety of manufacturers. What to pay attention to in the first place and what to be guided by when choosing? Trademark advertising plays an important role. If every day we are convinced from the TV screen that the nutrition of one or another manufacturer is the best for the child, then when we come to the store, we are looking for this particular product with our eyes. This approach, it must be understood, is not correct.
When introducing a new product into the baby's diet, especially at a very early age, a mandatory consultation with a pediatrician is necessary.
Each baby's body is deeply individual and what suits one may not suit another. Parents need to learn more about the quality of production of infant formula, fruit, vegetable and meat purees, cereals, compotes and juices. It is also important to know which baby food brands other more experienced parents are choosing.
Baby food - from a jar or do it yourself? Pros and cons
Complementary foods are solid foods for young children in addition to dairy products that they have received for several months as their sole source of nutrition.
— Polina Alexandrovna, why is the introduction of complementary foods called a transitional stage in a child's nutrition?
— The beginning of acquaintance with complementary foods does not mean the transition to an adult table. The first or second complementary foods are important so that the child adapts and is psychologically ready to eat adult food, and his digestive organs are tuned to work properly. Therefore, complementary foods are considered a transitional stage from milk nutrition to nutrition at a common table.
- Does the composition of the canned zucchini or apple puree for babies differ from the homemade version?
- Factory nutrition may vary depending on the raw materials that the manufacturer uses in a particular puree. Therefore, it is impossible to say that all such food is the same. For example, zucchini puree may contain rice flour so that its consistency is more correct in the opinion of the manufacturer. Mom decides what to put in, and in the same way she can add rice flour. An industrial puree that is suitable for a child and meets the requirements of parents may be identical in composition to homemade puree.
— There is a lot of speculation about baby food in jars. What are the most common parenting misconceptions?
- The most common myth is "canned mashed potatoes don't taste good and kids don't eat them well." In fact, most babies enjoy eating factory-made purees without experiencing any problems.
There are concerns that baby puree is “wrong” or does not meet nutritional requirements. The manufacturer is required by law to list all the ingredients of the product. For example, mashed potatoes may contain rice flour that is not always healthy, especially if vegetables are introduced to the child in order to avoid constipation. What kind of food is more useful for the baby, whether to buy just such a puree or look for another in composition - the parents decide together with the doctor. Therefore, it is wrong to equate all manufacturers and their products.
- "10 myths about canned baby food"
- Puree is often said to contain preservatives.
— Modern technologies make it possible not to use preservatives in the production of baby food. That is why it is written on the jars that open food is not stored for more than a day even in the refrigerator. As long as puree does not come into contact with air, it does not spoil within the specified shelf life due to sterilization and vacuum packaging. After opening the jar and contact with air, the puree quickly deteriorates, which indicates the absence of preservatives in it.
— Is it true that canned baby food is addictive, and then the child refuses natural products?
- There is no causal relationship here. When a child refuses a fresh apple, the problem is not the canned puree in his diet, but that he is not familiar with food in pieces. The child ate a homogeneous puree for a long time, and then they offer him a large piece of an apple - naturally, he will not cope with it right away. That is why, after the child gets used to a homogeneous puree, puree with soft small pieces is gradually introduced - so that there is no discomfort if the baby does not chew them. Gradually, the pieces become larger and denser. Over time, the child comes to eat a real whole apple or other hard fruit or vegetable.
Baby food in a jar or homemade puree - which is right for a baby? Pros and cons of
How long can I feed my baby bottled baby food?
- You can feed your baby as much as you like, there is no strict age limit. But child needs to be introduced to different textures and flavors . The need for canned food usually disappears when the baby moves to a common table with a diet familiar to the whole family. During this period, puree from a jar, especially tasty and sweet fruit varieties, often becomes a safe treat for grown-up babies.
— In what cases canned baby puree is contraindicated?
- There are no diseases in which canned puree is contraindicated. But for some diseases, the presence of a particular product in baby food is undesirable. Factory puree is different in composition. Parents can choose purees without ingredients that are not suitable for the baby or should be limited in his diet, and continue to feed the canned product without problems.
— How to choose baby food in a jar that is healthy for a child?
- First of all, you need to read the full composition of the product on the back, because some ingredients are not indicated on the front label of the jar. It is important to pay attention to the expiration date of the food, the reputation of the manufacturer. All components of the puree must correspond to the age and condition of the child, his individual characteristics.
- the first puree must not contain rice flour;
- Strawberry puree should not be given to a four-month-old child;
- cereals are excluded from the diet of children with celiac disease (gluten intolerance);
- An older baby should be offered puree with chunks.
What mistakes do parents make when preparing puree for feeding with their own hands
- Sometimes parents cook the wrong way - sometimes they overcook vegetables, and also make the puree too thin or thick. I hope that no one will fry food for their young children instead of boiling or steaming. Sometimes parents put spices and salt in baby puree, which is also not worth doing. The child should initially get acquainted with pure tastes, and extraneous additives are useless.
In addition, mothers need to be guided by foods that are appropriate for the age of the child, do not cause allergies and are not difficult for him, and also be guided by what the family eats. If parents give the baby something that they themselves do not eat, then when switching to an adult table, he may refuse the usual family food, he will have to cook it separately. This will be a big problem.
- The child refuses the food prepared by the mother and does not eat anything. What to do in such a situation?
— The same food or dish can be offered to the child during the week. Food selectivity in children often depends on taste sensations, but a child may refuse to eat for other reasons, for example, when he is not hungry or would like to play instead of dinner. If during the week the child does not perceive the product that the mother offers, perhaps he still does not like it. In this case, the same product can be given in the form of canned food . Often, kids really refuse homemade puree, preferring the factory version. Again, mom can cook another product and give, for example, broccoli instead of zucchini, which the child will appreciate.
Fruit baby puree MAMAKO ® contains 20% goat curd. This food option is convenient at the stage of introducing children not only to fruits, but also to dairy products. It is the little ones who eat sweet, tasty foods well during the first feeding period and even when they get older - for dessert.
— Are the recipes for complementary foods from 6 months and those for 10 months different?
- For toddlers, there are no recipes and complex dishes, because it is a simple food for discovering pure tastes without salt and spices, gradually getting used to the texture of the products. In the preparation of the first children's dishes, you can vary the combination of vegetables, focusing on the taste of the baby.
Recipes appear from the age of two or three with a full transition to the common table, when family preferences become more important. Of course, the baby needs to be introduced to products that are not consumed in the family, because there is a kindergarten and a school ahead. However, the basis of his diet should be food from the common household table . In addition, parents should be careful in cooking: do not overcook foods, do not add artificial ingredients, properly cool food so that homemade vegetable or fruit puree for the first feeding is healthy and safe for the baby.
- Is it possible to combine canned and homemade food and in what proportions?
— There are no strict rules: what is convenient for the family is chosen. For example, it is difficult to make meat puree at home, so sometimes parents add industrial meat supplements to homemade vegetable puree.
There is also no clear gradation in the percentage of different food options. In one plate, you can mix what you have prepared yourself with what you bought in the store. But at home it is not always possible to achieve the desired combinations and prepare, for example, a combined product that includes a variety of fruits and cottage cheese.
Choose a way of eating that is comfortable for your family. It is easier for someone to cook for their child on their own, for someone it is easier to buy ready-made mashed potatoes. Pediatricians often recommend mashed vegetables or fruits of industrial production, because when it is used for a child, the risk of undesirable consequences is much less.
* Breast milk is the best food for babies. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a child's life and continued breastfeeding after complementary feeding until age 2 years. Before introducing new products into the baby's diet, you should consult with a specialist.