How Do I Choose the Best First Baby Food?

Patti Kate

When choosing a store-bought starter baby food, it is recommended to read the ingredients and nutrition content. In addition, ask your pediatrician for advice, as he may recognize the signs that indicate your baby is ready to eat solid food. Consider gluten-free rice-based starter cereal instead of wheat, as it is less likely to cause allergies. If you intend to prepare homemade first baby food, consider fruits and vegetables that are easy to digest, such as pureed bananas and squash, although it may be best to introduce one food at a time. You may find various recipes for making homemade starter baby foods online or in cookbooks.

Whenever possible, the fruits and vegetables in baby food should be organically grown.
Whenever possible, the fruits and vegetables in baby food should be organically grown.

Due to the risk of an infant developing food allergies, some experts do not recommend starting a baby on solid foods until five or six months old. If you want to introduce solid foods to a younger infant, your child's pediatrician may recommend waiting until he is at least four months old. Rice cereals with a very thin consistency may lessen the risk of an infant gagging or spitting up. If your baby readily accepts rice cereal and seems to show interest in other foods, it might be time to gradually introduce pureed vegetables and fruits.

Mashed peas are often a good starter vegetable for a baby.
Mashed peas are often a good starter vegetable for a baby.

You can buy jarred baby vegetables and fruits for a stage one or first baby food. This may simplify things and take the guesswork out, as most name brands are nutritionally balanced. Organic jarred baby foods are believed to be beneficial, as they do not contain harmful pesticides that may be toxic to an infant's delicate system. Organic first baby food may actually retain more nutrition as well, according to some experts. You may also prefer to buy first baby food with no added sugar and salt.

Baby food made with organic fruits and vegetables may provide more vitamins and minerals.
Baby food made with organic fruits and vegetables may provide more vitamins and minerals.

In addition to starter foods, ask your pediatrician how much milk your baby requires during the first 12 months of his life. Your pediatrician may recommend 35 ounces (one kilogram) of formula every 24 hours, for balanced nutrition. He may warn against cutting back on formula during the introduction of solid foods.

When making homemade baby food, consider pureed sweet potatoes or peas, both of which provide nutritional benefits and are often acceptable by many infants. For ideas, look for recipes online or in special cookbooks. You can store the vegetables in a sterilized jar that is labeled with the name of the food and the preparation date. Experts recommend feeding an infant from a baby bowl or plate, and not from the jar. After feeding is over, discard any leftover portion from his plate.

Many experts feel it is best to introduce one type of food at a time. After the child readily accepts the first baby food, you may want to move on to the next in a few days. When introducing fruits, you may start with pureed bananas which are naturally sweet and offer nutritional benefits. When moving forward with other fruits, choose those that are high in vitamins C and A as well as antioxidants.

A pediatrician may be able to give advice on solid foods.
A pediatrician may be able to give advice on solid foods.

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