If you are a parent, you have most likely asked important food-related questions about your baby. Because of babies’ immature bodies, digestive systems, and eating milestones, it can be difficult to determine what foods your baby should and shouldn’t eat, as well as when your baby can eat those foods.
Provided your baby doesn’t have a dairy allergy, cheese can be introduced at eight months. Cheese is a great way to provide Baby with calcium and protein.
Cheddar, American, Colby, Monterrey Jack, Cottage Cheese, Romano, Parmesan, Mozzarella
Not OK cheese
Feta, Brie, Blue, Camembert, Roquefort (These cheese are typically non-cultured and could contains a bacteria that is harmful for babies.)
Egg yolks are recommended for Baby at eight months of age. A long-standing rule is that egg whites should be introduced later, around 12 months.
However, most pediatricians are now saying that whole eggs are an acceptable food for an eight-month-old, provided the baby is showing no signs of any allergies.
You can still consult with your baby’s doctor before serving egg whites.
Peanut Butter, Peanuts and other Nuts
Peanuts (and other nuts) is another food that has been thought to be avoided until 12 months of age. This rule is also changing. If Baby’s doctor has given approval, you may introduce peanut butter and other nut kinds of butter (such as almond butter) after eight months.
It is a good idea to thin the peanut butter with water or formula for easier swallowing. Do not offer Baby spoonfuls of peanut butter or whole/chopped peanuts and nuts, as they are choking hazards.
You can introduce yogurt between 6-8 months. It is wise to feed Baby plain yogurt, as to avoid excess additives, such as sugar, gelatin, and starches. If you chose to use plain yogurt, you could add applesauce and other mashed fruits and veggies to make it more appealing to baby.
Rice and Oatmeal
Brown rice and oatmeal are great first foods. You can start these between 4 and 6 months of age, though many pediatricians suggest waiting until six months. You can use store-bought baby rice and oatmeal, or you can make your own. (Place uncooked rice or oats in a blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup powdered rice or oats into 1 cup boiling water and let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir or whisk continually.)
Try using steel-cut oats rather than rolled oats, and avoid using instant oatmeal.
Do not serve in a bottle.
Cheerios and Other Cereal and Crackers
You can give your baby finger foods, such as Cheerios and graham crackers, between 7 and 9 months of age. Be sure the cereal and crackers are easy to gum and are without sharp corners.
Because fish contain many Omega 3s and amino acids, it is an essential food for healthy diets. You can introduce thoroughly de-boned fish to babies after eight months of age unless your family has a history of fish-related allergies. In that case, wait until 12 months.
Avoid fish containing high mercury levels, such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish.
Fruits and Vegetables
Most fruits and vegetables can be cooked, pureed, then fed to Baby after six months of age. As your baby grows and becomes more accustomed to eating, fruit and veggie meals can become lumpier and lumpier until they are diced and served.
Fruits – All fruits, except for bananas and avocados, should be cooked before feeding to a baby under eight months of age. If you start serving grapes as a “finger food” around eight months of age, be sure to quarter them to avoid choking.
Vegetables – Stall the introduction of broccoli, white potatoes, and asparagus until eight months. Stall the introduction of spinach until ten months, as this is one of the highest nitrate-containing foods.
Chicken, Turkey, and Beef
You can introduce meat to your baby after eight months of age. Boiling is an acceptable way to cook your meat, but steam or baking is recommended because of the loss of nutrients during this method. After the meat is thoroughly cooked, chop it up and add it to a blender or food processor.
It is best to avoid deli or processed lunch meats (including hot dogs) due to the added salt, preservatives, and nitrates.
Dried Beans, Lentils, and Legumes
You can start feeding your baby legumes for around eight months. Be sure to wash, soak thoroughly, and cook the legumes before mashing and serving.
At around eight months, you can begin feeding a baby pasta. The carbohydrates are great for keeping your baby energized, and the pasta provides much-needed nutrients.
In order to prevent botulism, refrain from giving your baby honey until 12 months of age.
Milk, Juice, and Water
Although they are not solids, these liquids are on the list of “should I?” foods.
Cow milk should be avoided until after 12 months old. Baby bodies cannot thoroughly process the lactose and protein. A baby can have cheeses and yogurt before cow milk because the lactose is broken down and the protein reduced during the culturing of yogurts and cheese.
Water can be given in small amounts after six months of age. Any earlier and the extra water could affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and even cause water intoxication. After a year old, Baby can drink as much water as he or she pleases.
Juice should be avoided until after plain water has been introduced. Always serve the juice in cups rather than bottles. It is recommended to serve juice sparingly and diluted.