Transitioning to Solids

You’ve determined that your baby should begin to eat solid foods; now you’re wondering, what should I feed her?

Rice cereal is a classic first, but some parents like to get creative as soon as their babies seem ready. Here are some inspiring ideas for fun first foods.

Making Your Own Baby Food

You don’t need to be intimidated by the idea of making your own baby food. It’s the simplest cooking you will ever do, and allows you control over the ingredients (and amount of sugar, salt, and fat) in your child’s meals. Jars and pouches are convenient, but more expensive than homemade, and you’ll find less variety and more wasteful packaging on the shelf.

Many moms use a blender for pureeing cooked foods, but you can also just use a fork to mash them up thoroughly. You can prepare these simple purees just for your baby and introduce new foods one at a time to monitor for allergic reactions, but once you’ve determined that allergies are not an issue, an even easier approach is to blend or mash up whatever the rest of the family is eating. One mom favorite is to puree pasta primavera or chicken with veggies — just about anything that’s soft enough for babies to chew or gum.

Experimenting with New Flavors

Babies like variety as much as adults do. Try a range of foods to expose those fresh taste buds to many flavors. Don’t be afraid to try out breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack-time favorites, at any time of day! One mom started her baby on small, easily grasped and chewed foods like chunked avocado, sweet potato, and banana, eventually adding steamed squash, pears, and apples — anything she would eat herself, but prepped for few-to-no teeth. And when your baby has graduated to foods that require more chewing, consider scrambled eggs, steamed green beans, or even wheat toast.

The idea behind experimenting like this is that you’re helping your baby get ready to join the rest of the family in eating fresh, healthy foods.If you introduce baby now to a version of your family’s regular meals, you won’t have to force a second transition later to “grown-up” food.

Finally,don’t forget that your baby might make a “yuck” face when introduced to a new flavor. This is more a reaction to the discomfort of new things than an indicator of his flavor preferences. Keep offering it; with repetition, babies often warm up to new tastes.

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