In this entry, we will break down the guidelines for solid food diet for your baby at each stage of their development in their first year.
4 – 6 Months – Single-Grain Cereals
Single-grain cereals are the best solid food to introduce to your baby. They’re fortified with iron, which your baby needs most, as their level of natural iron reserve starts to drop at around four months and will be depleted at around six months.
Mix a teaspoon of single-grain cereal with your baby’s milk, whether it’s breast milk, or formula. This runny cereal is also easier to swallow, giving your baby a nice way to train their tongue for the movement needed to take in solid food. You can also mix cereal with lukewarm water from time to time.
6 – 8 Months – Fruits Vegetables, and Some Proteins
Fruits like apples, apricots, bananas, pears and prunes are excellent for your baby. But since they can’t take a bite and chew these fruits, you need to puree them. You can also give your baby yogurt made from soy or whole milk.
Prepare the fruits by washing them, then you can bake, boil or steam until they become soft and mushy.
You can mix any of these foods with rice cereal to add some texture.
For vegetables like pea, squash or carrots, you can puree them or strain. Make sure you wash all vegetables in running water. You can boil, bake, or steam until they are soft. You can also puree veggies using blender or food processor. Again, add either milk or water, and make it a little thicker week after week, to help your baby get used to it.
For proteins like fish, chicken, turkey, and beans lentils, black, pinto, or red beans, make sure you cook them well and make them soft and easy to chew. Meat should be cut into very small pieces (pea size).
8 – 10 Months – Mashed Fruits, Veggies and Eggs
For eggs, doctors used to recommend to only yolks and not whites, until the child reaches the age of 1 year old. You can speak to your doctor about this, since egg whites can be beneficial for your child as well. Hard-boil or scramble the eggs, and cut them into very small pieces.
For veggies and sweet potatoes, cook them until they are soft. You can also mash soft fruits like avocados and bananas.
You can also give your baby finger foods such as teething crackers and o-shaped cereals, and cooked pasta (small pieces of course) at this stage. Make sure you cut big pieces into small ones to avoid choking.
10 – 12 Months
At around 10 months to 1-year, your child can pretty much eat food that you eat. Of course, make sure you cut them into smaller pieces, or mash them properly so solid food become easy to chew and swallow. Unless your family has a history of allergies on peanut products, wheat, and eggs, no need to avoid them.
Avoid honey and cow’s milk until our baby is above 1-year old.
By this time, your baby will develop his teeth and start to eat larger food pieces. You should however, still cut his food into smaller pieces. Also, be mindful with rounded and firm food like grapes, hotdogs, etc., as they are the most common cause of choking among babies. Chop these foods into very small pieces.