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Introducing New Foods

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6-9 Months:
Start by giving baby cooked and pureed fruits and vegetables such yams, squash, carrots, beets, broccoli, potatoes, green beans, peas, apple, berries (no strawberries, though) pears, peaches, bananas, apricots, nectarines and avocados.

*I gave my son, Kenya, the same food every morning for 4 days in a row, just in case he had an allergic reaction. I starting with pears, then carrots, yams and so on. It’s important to introduce one food at a time in the first month or two so you can distinguish easily what your baby can and cannot eat.

I’ve heard different opinions about whether you should give babies fruits or vegetables first. Some believe that if you start to early with fruit, baby will acquire a sweet tooth. Personally, I disagree. It’s fresh fruit after all. My concerns come later when people introduce refined sugar too often, too soon. The sooner you introduce fruit, the more your baby will love it.

At this time, you’ll also want to start giving your baby rice cereal everyday. Rice cereal contains the highest levels of iron, a basic necessity for fast-growing infants. Mix one teaspoon of rice cereal for every 4 to 5 teaspoons breastmilk or formula to make it easier to digest. Kenya still loves rice cereal.

9-12 Months:
This is when you get into slightly more texture and bigger flavors. You can start giving different grains such as barley, rye and oats. Introduce new fruits and vegetables in month 9 and when baby seems ready you can add yogurts, cheeses, egg yolks (no whites), chicken, fish, meat (no smoked meats), beans and tofu.

*Kenya was really adventurous when it came to trying new foods. He truly likes almost everything I’ve given him. I also feel like I have a good barometer for choosing foods he will enjoy at the right time. I never wanted to push him into trying something too rich or intense too soon. No one knows your baby like you, so this is something every parent should judge for themselves.

After 12 Months:
Baby can now have whole milk (stay away from low fat products, it’s extremely important at this age babies eat full fat products being they’re growing everyday), whole eggs, honey, tomatoes and strawberries.

Finally your baby can eat what you and your family are eating. As long as it’s in small pieces, chopped or mashed, baby will enjoy being part of the group.

*I was really concerned about giving nuts to Kenya. Nuts are fantastic sources of protein and vitamins. No one in our families has any food allergies, so I went ahead and gave him almond butter (a tree nut which has a low allergic potential so they’re an ideal first nut to be introduced) around his first Birthday.

Safe Finger Foods:
O Shaped Cereal
Rice Cakes
Diced Cooked Carrots
Whole Wheat toast
Cooked Beans and Peas
Tofu Chunks
Steamed Broccoli Florets

Not So Safe First Foods:
Nuts
Seeds
Popcorn Kernels
Hot Dogs (Whole or Chunks)
Raw Carrots
Whole Grapes
Meat Chunks
Stringy Foods (Celery)

Image by Maren Caruso

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