Around 4 to 6 months of age, your baby is showing readiness to start eating solid foods. Introducing solid foods can be an exciting experience for both you and your baby. He will explore new textures and flavors, and learn how to chew and swallow. It is important to introduce foods that will give him a good start for a lifetime of healthy eating habits. There are several options for the best first foods you can feed him.
The Mayo Clinic recommends starting with an infant cereal, such as white or brown rice cereal. Rice cereal is often hypoallergenic and is gluten-free. You can mix infant cereal with breast milk or formula. Make a runnier cereal when starting out with solid foods. After your baby learns how to properly swallow the runny cereal, you can make it thicker by adding less liquid. The Mayo Clinic also recommends waiting three to five days when introducing new foods, to monitor for allergic reactions. When you are certain that your baby is tolerating the rice cereal, you can give him barley and oatmeal cereal.
Pureed Fruits and Vegetables
Pureed fruits, such as bananas, pears, peaches, avocados and apples, are good first fruits to feed your baby. These fruits are low in acidity, which make them a good choice for your baby's sensitive stomach. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash, carrots and peas are good first vegetables. Babies sometimes prefer fruits over vegetables because they are sweeter. If your baby rejects vegetables on multiple occasions, you can mix them with fruits, breast milk or formula to encourage your baby to eat them. The Mayo Clinic recommends, however, to not mix foods until you are certain that your baby is not allergic to them.
When your baby has eaten a variety of cereals, fruits and vegetables, you may want to introduce some meats into your baby's diet. As pureed meats can be of a pasty texture, mix them with some breast milk or formula to make them more creamy. If your baby rejects pureed meats, you can try mixing them with vegetables or cereal. Pork and chicken can be mixed with fruits such as apples and pears, to make them more palatable for your baby.
After eating a variety of purees, your baby may be ready for finger foods around 8 to 10 months of age. Offer soft foods cut in small pieces. Suitable foods include cooked pasta, soft fruits, infant crackers, cheese and ground meats. When serving harder fruits and vegetables, such as apples and carrots, cook them until they are soft before serving. Small pieces of toast, egg yolks and figs are also good starter finger foods, reports Wholesome Baby Foods. When serving your baby finger foods, be sure to supervise him to prevent choking.