When can you give baby jar food
Starting Babies on Solid Foods
Reviewed by Amita Shroff, MD on November 23, 2020
That's the recommended time to introduce solid foods. But it's not just about age. Before starting solids, your baby should be able to sit up (with support), turn their head away, and make chewing motions. They should also be past the reflex that makes them spit out anything including liquids.
Babies usually don't eat a lot of solid foods right away. So think of solids as something you’re adding to your baby's diet, not as a replacement for breast milk or formula. Remember, you're introducing solid foods, not totally changing your baby's diet or eliminating milk. That will happen gradually.
You don’t have to -- there's no hard-and-fast rule about what solid foods you should start your baby on first. in fact, you don't have to start with cereal at all. But if you do, try a single-grain, iron-fortified infant cereal with a neutral to no flavor. It also will be a bit easier to notice any food allergies than with a cereal made from several grains. You may want to mix it with formula or breast milk to get a runny consistency at first, so it's not a drastic change for your baby. Gradually thicken it more until your baby gets used to the new texture.
It may seem like it’s something natural, but being fed by a spoon is new to your baby. Up until now, they have only had a liquid diet. They’ll need practice to get used to the spoon and to the feel of having solid food in their mouth. So don't expect them to eat a whole lot -- maybe a teaspoon or two at a time -- when you start. Instead of trying to get them to eat a certain amount, focus on letting them get used to the experience.
Fruits, vegetables, grains, and even pureed meats can all be on the menu for your baby. You may want to introduce them one at a time to see how your little one reacts to the flavor and texture and to make sure no allergies develop. If your baby won't eat them at first, try again later. Babies need to reject a food at least 5 to 10 times on different occasions before you can truly say they don't like the food. Tell your pediatrician if you think your baby might have any food allergies to any new foods tried. Use soft baby food from a jar, or soften foods by heating and/or pureeing them. Put just enough on the spoon for your baby to swallow easily. Don't force feed the food.
Most pediatricians say you should wait until after your baby's first birthday to start offering cow's milk. That’s because nutritionally it doesn't measure up to Mother's milk or have the nutritional value of specially developed formulas. And, don't give honey to babies younger than 1 year. That’s because of a possible botulism risk that a baby's developing immune system can't fend off.
Your baby will let you know when they are done eating. They might swat at the spoon, turn their head away, zip their lips tightly, spit out whatever you put in their mouth, or cry. Don't make them eat more than they want. Kids will eat when they're hungry and stop when they're full. Honoring those instincts may help them avoid overeating now and when they get older.
Just because your baby doesn't immediately like a new food doesn't mean they are doomed to be picky forever. Wait a few days and try again. And again. And again … It may take your child more than a couple of times before they are ready to give peas a chance. Remember, you're a role model, so your baby may be more interested in foods they see you eating and enjoying. But don't force your child to eat, and don't make a big deal about new foods.
As your baby grows, they'll try to feed themselves. Chances are, a good bit of food is heading for their face, hands, hair, bib, clothes, or high chair tray -- not to mention you or any surfaces within flinging range. Learning to eat solid food is a full-body, tactile experience for your baby. Put a mat underneath their highchair to catch some of the mess, dress accordingly, and be patient -- this phase won't last forever.
Around 9 months or so, your baby will be able to pick up small pieces of soft table food to eat. You'll still need to spoon-feed for a while, and continue formula or breast milk. Some great "finger foods" include ripe banana pieces, cooked chunks of carrots, cottage cheese, well-cooked pasta, dry cereal, and scrambled eggs. Avoid choking hazards like hard candy, chips, raw vegetables, grapes or raisins, hard cheese, and whole hot dogs.
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American Academy of Pediatrics: "Parenting Corner Q&A: Starting Solid Foods," "How Do I Know if My Child is Eating Enough?" "Vitamin D Deficiency Clinical Report: Patient FAQs."
FDA: "Food Safety for Moms to Be: Once Baby Arrives," "When Should Solid Foods Be Added to a Baby's Diet?"
KidsHealth.org: "Finer Foods for Babies."
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.
Baby food - from a jar or with your own hands? 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.
- Is the composition of canned zucchini or apple puree for babies different 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 baby needs to be introduced to the different textures and flavors of . 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 which 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 mashed potatoes 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 nutrition . 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 general 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 foods are introduced until the age of 2 years. Before introducing new products into the baby's diet, you should consult with a specialist. The material is for informational purposes and cannot replace the advice of a healthcare professional. For feeding children from birth.
Jar Food Tips
Cooking Jar Meals
- Set aside as much as your baby can eat and heat this portion in a bain-marie or microwave.
- After heating, mix the contents of the jar thoroughly with a plastic spoon and check the temperature.
- Reheated food is not suitable for consumption.
- Store leftover puree that has not been reheated in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Check the safety of the glass packaging
Check the safety of the glass packaging
Check the integrity of the packaging before the jars leave the production. This ensures that only correctly closed products are sold. To ensure that your child's nutrition is safe, the safety of the packaging should be checked upon purchase and immediately before opening.
For jars, the so-called “lid test” will help you: the middle of the lid should be concave and should not sag when pressed. Do not use jars with domed lids. Additionally, a distinct click should be heard when first opened.
Introduction of low-allergenic complementary foods for children
To introduce the low-allergenic complementary foods for children from the HiPP range, you can refer to this symbol on the label. With these products, you can gradually expand your child's diet.