Nutrition plays an important role in an infant’s development. The early stages of the baby’s development are critical to her growth and health. Babies are susceptible to infections and illnesses that are preventable with proper nutrition. Therefore, parents should prepare meals that consist of nutritious foods and provide a well-balanced diet that can help their babies grow healthy and strong. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents can start introducing solid foods when a baby reaches the age of 6 to 8 months, with more varieties given through 10 months and onward. Parents should always consult with the pediatrician before introducing new foods to their babies.
Give your baby cereals by mixing grains that she has no reactions with–for example oat, barley and rice. By 8 to 10 months, begin offering breads and muffins when your baby starts to master mashing more textured foods. Offer pastas since they make great finger foods. Wheat and wheat germ, flax, graham crackers without honey, multi-grain crackers (no salt or low salt), and millet are other suggested types of cereal food for babies at this stage.
When your baby is around six to eight months, give her your own fruit combination once she has had several fruits without any reactions. After 8 months old, you may try giving your baby raw ripe fruits. Soft cooked fruits make excellent beginner finger foods. Apricots, avocados, nectarines, peaches, plums, prunes, pumpkins, and mangoes are other fruits that you can start with during this stage. As your baby turns closer to 10 months old, give papaya, cantaloupe, melons, cherries, cranberries, blueberries, dates, figs and kiwi. You can also give her grapes, provided you peel and mash them into other foods only.
Start to offer vegetable combination when your baby reaches 6 to 8 months old. Ensure that all vegetables you choose are those that your baby has had no allergic reactions prior to mixing and matching. After 8 months, start offering cooked vegetables in dices, bits or tiny chunks. You can also start giving your baby soft cooked vegetables as beginner finger foods. Add some grated cheese on the soft cooked vegetables to provide more taste. Give your baby on asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, white potatoes, onions, peppers, leeks, mushrooms, and parsnips. Carrots, peas, yellow squash and zucchini are great choices as well.
You can give your baby tofu finger cubes dusted with cereal dust once she reaches the age of 8 months. Your baby’s pediatrician may start recommending meats due to their iron content. Only give meats to your baby when your pediatrician approves of them. Protein-rich foods–such as chicken, turkey, tofu, egg yolks, beans, legumes, lean beef, pork, and ham–are excellent choices for babies between the ages of 8 to 10 months old. When choosing ham, avoid high sodium content and choose only those with natural preservatives.
When your baby is 8 months old, you can offer her plain whole milk yogurt (not whole milk drink) and mild cheeses. Make sure that your baby’s pediatrician approves giving her dairy products at this stage. Try mixing some yogurt with her favorite pureed fruit, a combination good for breakfast. Cream cheese, cottage cheese, Colby, and light cheddar are other excellent choices for babies at this stage.