First Foods for a 12-Month-Old Baby

By Darlene Peer
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By 12 months, your baby has already had a taste of starter cereals and slightly lumpier foods. It is time to introduce baby to chopped and mashed versions of what the rest of the family is eating. This is an exciting time when your baby is finally ready to start self-feeding with baby-safe utensils. Always introduce new foods a few days apart in case of allergic reactions.

How to Introduce New Foods

Although at this age, most babies love trying new foods, some babies like their rice cereal or yogurt and are resistant to trying new flavors. Remember that it may take a few tries before your little one tries a new food. Sometimes it's helpful to mix a new food with an old favorite. Try adding a little kiwi to plain yogurt or cooking a fluffy cheese omelet when introducing whole eggs and whole milk.

Fruits & Vegetables

Babies love bite-sized fruits and vegetables that they can feed to themselves. Always supervise your child and have them sit down while eating such foods to help prevent choking. Vegetables to try include broccoli, cauliflower and spinach. Remember that these vegetables can cause uncomfortable gas pain if too much is consumed in a sitting. Serve apricots, strawberries, grape halves, tomatoes, papaya, mango, kiwi or a variety of melons mashed or chopped into small pieces.

Meats, Protein & Dairy

Baby is finally ready to try meatloaf, hamburgers, steak and other beef products. Be sure to cut the meat into very small pieces and encourage the use of a baby fork. At this age, it is also safe to introduce fish, such as salmon and tuna. Other possible sources of protein include whole eggs and honey. At the age of one, a child is ready to try whole milk. If there is a reaction, try again after another month. Introduce cottage cheese and the occasional bowl of ice cream as snacks.

Grains

Different types of wheat cereal make great finger foods for one-year-olds. Just remember to check the sugar content on any cereal before serving. Too much sugar can make little bodies hyper and help your little one develop a sweet tooth. Another great source for grains is pancakes, with or without a little maple syrup or butter. Pancakes can be turned into a portable food by leaving them plain and cutting them into small pieces. Plain pasta is a healthy dinner choice, eventually mixing it with a little tomato sauce or chunks or cheese. For snack time, try graham crackers. After introducing other foods such as whole eggs or milk, let your little one try different types of muffins.