Congratulations Mama! You’ve made it to an exciting milestone. Whenever you decide to introduce foods to your little one will be a thrilling experience for your baby. A brand new world of tastes and textures is sure to make meals a time of sensory learning and enjoyment. If you’re ready to begin introducing foods beyond breast milk, then consider trying one (or more) of these six great first foods for babies.
One of nature’s powerhouse foods, avocadoes are an excellent choice for baby’s first food. This fantastic food offers many essential fats which help baby’s brain develop as well as vitamins A and C. They also offer folate, niacin, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and calcium. The majority of an avocado’s nutrients are in the darker green flesh closest to peel, so peel the skin away carefully to ensure maximum nutrition. Avocadoes should be eaten raw, and babies love their creamy texture and bright green appearance. For younger babies, you may wish to add a bit of breast milk to create a thinner texture; for older babies, you may want to add a bit of cereal to mashed avocados to create a chunkier feel. As baby grows, you can simply cut the avocado into chunks as finger food!
Bananas are another great choice for a first food; their naturally sweet taste appeals to all babies! Like avocados, bananas should be eaten raw; all you need to do is peel a ripe banana, mash, and serve. Studies show bananas aid digestion, so they are a great transition food from breast milk to solid foods. This fruit is high in vitamins including A and C and minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium.
3. Butternut Squash
This fall favorite may be a bit of a pain to peel, but baby will love the bright orange color and mildly sweet taste. You can steam or roast the squash, then mash it until you achieve the consistency appropriate for your baby. If you steam the squash, you can thin it by adding a bit of water from the bottom of the pot, or breast milk. Butternut squash is high in vitamin A and folate, and contains high amounts of potassium as well as iron and calcium. This vegetable also pairs well with many fruits, including apples, pears, and raisins when baby is ready for some medley meals!
Deliciously sweet and juicy, pears are a great early food for babies. Simply peel, chunk, and steam one-inch pieces before mashing to an appropriate texture for your baby. Some mothers recommend introducing pears later among first food introductions because of their sweetness; it seems that some babies only want sweet foods after enjoying pears, so this may be something to consider when deciding what foods to introduce first. Pears offer good amounts of vitamins K and C, potassium, and folate.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Yum! Like the orange butternut squash, the orange flesh of sweet potatoes will be visually appealing to your little one. This is another easy-to-prepare first food: peel, dice, steam, and mash! Sweet potatoes offer vitamin A, C, E, and a variety of B vitamins including B3, B5, and B6. They also offer calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.
6. Purple Carrots
Regular carrots are great, but purple carrots are even better! Introducing a rainbow of fruits and veggies to your baby ensures that he or she is receiving the most diverse nutrients possible. This veggie offers high levels of vitamins C, B6 and E as well as minerals such as iron and calcium. And baby will love the sweet taste and dark purple color of this fantastic veggie!
The rate at which you introduce foods to your baby is up to you; a mother’s breast milk provides all the nutrition a baby needs. Infant experts recommend introducing foods no earlier than four to six months of age. There is a debate on what type of foods are best for baby’s first food experience; some experts recommend cereal, while others recommend fruits and vegetables, while still others recommend protein-based foods such as braised meats. In many cultures around the world, babies enjoy meat first, followed by fruits and vegetables. Ultimately, the choice is up to you. If you’re making your own baby food, fresh, organic options are best as they will provide the safest nutrients possible.
For more information regarding baby’s first foods, try one of the following websites:
Kathryn is a baby-wearing, cloth diapering, DIY mom to her quickly growing and pretty cute toddler. When she isn't researching and writing about natural approaches to pregnancy and parenting, she's acting out her favorite children's books or singing off-key made-up songs.