Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN
From the first newborn days to walking, there are many exciting milestones during a baby’s first year, including the introduction of food. Until a baby’s first birthday, breast milk or formula is baby’s primary source of nutrition. The introduction of solid foods lets babies explore new tastes, textures and temperatures, practice eating skills and learn to enjoy the social aspects of mealtime.
Introduction of solid foods is recommended around 6 months of age, and no earlier than 4 months. Follow your baby’s cues to know when he or she is ready:
- Able to sit up well without assistance
- Able to turn head to refuse the food your are offering
- Develops a patterns of being hungry after the usual breast milk/formula feeding
- Stares at you when you eat / grabs at your food
- Can swallow pureed food, rather than spitting it out (“extrusion” reflex)
When your baby is showing signs of being ready for solids, consider making your own first foods. There are many benefits to making your own baby food; and with a little preparation – it’s easy, will save you money and doesn’t take much time!
Consider these benefits:
- You know exactly what goes into the food you make / no preservatives or fillers
- It’s more versatile:
- Dilute with breast milk, formula or cooking liquid, thicken and leave more texture as baby ages
- You can make your own combinations of a variety of foods.
- There are no limitations when you make your own baby food.
- By cooking batches and freezing food, you can make homemade baby food nearly as convenient and packaged foods
You’ll want to start with simple small amounts of fruit, vegetable or rice purees, introducing new flavors and combinations as baby grows. In the beginning, practice a gradual approach to introducing foods (no more than one new food every three days). This makes it easier to identify problem foods such as allergens or food intolerances.
A few homemade recipes to try once baby has mastered his/her first foods:
- Pureed sweet potato and banana with cinnamon
- Whipped cauliflower with (grass-fed) butter
- Edamame and Yogurt Puree
- Seasoned meets with herbs/spices, puree
Join Touro for Baby Food Making Class!
To learn more about when and how to introduce solids and making your own baby foods join Touro for Baby Food Making Class. Go to www.touro.com/events to register or call (504) 897-7319.