Is your little one six-months-old? Are you ready for family mealtimes to become truly memorable? It may be time to introduce your baby to the joys of food! While the family table should always be a place to come together and unwind, it can be daunting for new parents to know when and how to get their little ones started.
We’ve put together this handy guide to help take the mystery out of baby meal time!
Ready to Chow Down
Thinking about getting started? It may be time to start introducing solids
if your baby:
- Shows interest in your food during meal times
- Develops a pincher grasp (picking up food or other objects between their thumb and forefinger)
- Can sit up unassisted
- Is 6 months of age or older
- Has lost their “gag reflex” or tongue thrust reflex
While ideally all these signs will be there, the last sign is perhaps the most important. Until babies are about four months, babies will spit out anything on the front half of their tongue to prevent choking and eating solids before they are biologically ready. If this happens to you, try again in a few weeks.
Popular First Foods
You’ll want to foster a love of healthy food
from the start by encouraging a variety of flavors and textures from the get-go. Try introducing a new food every three days so you can be sure your little one has no adverse reactions. Ideally, you can introduce it in the morning so you’ll have all day to keep an eye out for any signs of reaction.
Favorite foods to add to your babylist include:
- Well mashed, ripe banana
- Oat & rice baby cereal (look for iron-fortified options)
- Strained, pureed apples, pears and prunes
- Steamed, pureed veggies like carrots, peas and sweet potato
- Well cooked, pureed meats
Make batches ahead of time and freeze in an ice cube tray before transferring to freezer bags to be sure you always have homemade food on hand for baby!
There is no need to wait to introduce foods that are traditionally allergens like milk, fish, nuts and eggs. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics found that the early introduction of these foods can actually prevent
future allergies. As always, talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or have a family history of food allergies.
Meal Prep Tips for Picky Eaters
A baby may try a food 10-15 times before taking to it, so don’t get discouraged if your little one turns their nose up at a new food, especially as they get used to chewing and swallowing. Follow these tips to help things go smoothly:
- Mix breast milk or formula with baby cereals to offer extra nutrition and a familiar taste
- Cook meat and eggs well, but not overdone. No one likes tough meat, and your little one can’t chew it!
- Boil chicken for baby in half water/half apple juice to make it sweet and juicy
- Mix a new food in with a familiar favorite
Interested in learning more about solids? Check out Zliving’s guide to the baby-led weaning
Solid food is not a substitute for breast milk or formula for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months of life. Babies should continue to breastfeed for a year or more, depending on mom and baby.
Watch On Z Living: Birth Days
. Mind the messy diapers and dirty dishes, there’s a newborn in the house. Birth Days chronicles the non-stop adventures of parents—and their newborns—as they spend their first six weeks together. A panel of experts weighs in on where parents are going astray and offers advice to make the