One of the milestones parents of a new baby look forward to is introducing solids to their little one. Especially for first-time parents, this step would naturally be exciting, seeing their once-tiny newborns finally taste what we, adults, actually eat. On the flip side, it can also be nerve-wracking, given that it's a whole new territory for their little ones to explore.
Questions like "what if the baby won't like it?" or "what if the baby has an allergy to it?" would be a few that we ask ourselves when introducing solids. This is why as much as it should be a fun experience for both mom and baby, it should also be strategic. For starters, here are the best first foods you can introduce to your baby.
Bananas are highly palatable for babies because they instinctively prefer sweet foods. It has copious amounts of potassium and vitamins A, B12, B6, and folate. The texture of this sweet fruit also helps as it introduces babies to a new kind of texture–soft and mushy that's different from the liquid food they've been used to.
Also, bananas require low effort for preparation–if you're into baby-led weaning, you could just rip off its skin and let your baby explore in eating it. But if you aren't too sure in doing that method, you can just mash it with a fork or puree it for a more silky texture. Although a great choice, keep in mind that it's best to delay offering fruits so babies can be first accustomed to the taste of vegetables and other bland foods.
Yogurt can be the best first taste of dairy for your baby. It's rich in minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and certain vitamins like A, B6, B12 and D. Not to mention, it also helps promote a healthy gut thanks to the probiotics it offers. Yogurt is also full of protein and can be easily digestible for tiny tummies because of the culturing process it undergoes.
While most pediatricians suggest that it should be introduced at around 7-8 months, recent studies indicate that introducing allergenic foods like yogurt at an earlier age (around 6 months) could be more beneficial and, on the contrary, actually lessens the risks of developing allergies. When offering, just make sure to choose plain, unsweetened whole milk yogurt that has active probiotics.
8 Sweet Potato
Compared to regular potatoes, sweet potatoes are a better option since it has an enticing taste and it's more packed with nutrients a baby needs. Sweet potatoes are brimming with vitamin A and beta-carotene, both nutrients which we can also find in carrots. They're also rich in potassium, vitamin E, calcium, and folate.
Sweet potatoes are also full of fiber so you don't have to worry about your baby having a hard time emptying the tank. While we may steam our babies' first foods most of the time, sweet potatoes are best baked so that its naturally sweet flavor is enhanced while retaining most of the nutrients.
Peas are an interesting choice for babies because of their vibrant color and shape. If you plan to do the baby-led weaning way, you can give boiled or steamed peas as finger foods but make sure to let your little one eat them one-by-one. In fact, you can also offer frozen peas to aid your baby's sore gums. Keep in mind, though, that you may offer whole peas if you see that your baby has already learned how to chew before swallowing.
Although tiny, these interesting balls of green are packed with nutrition that's beneficial to a growing baby. Peas have good amounts of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins A, C, and K, thiamine, and fiber.
Similar to banana's texture, squash can be a perfect go-to for your baby's first meals. It's filled with beta-carotene, potassium, folate, fiber, vitamin C, and even omega-3 fatty acids that are usually found in fish, nuts, and seeds.
Squash can be served as steamed and mashed and this would be the preferred method of serving. Aim for the baby to learn how to chew, and we only achieve this by serving textured solid foods. Encouraging a baby to learn how to chew not only teaches the act of eating–it's also a precursor in learning how to speak as it practices tongue movements.
5 Egg yolk
Frightening as they may be, egg yolks are actually one of the good foods you can introduce to your little one. Back in the days, eggs are introduced only after babies' first year because of its allergenic properties. Recently, research shows that we can actually give them early on.
Although both parts of an egg have proteins that cause allergies, egg whites are more allergenic so you can save it for later food introductions. Egg yolks, however, would be a better option since it is bursting with nutrients. Egg yolks are rich with nutrients essential to the brain like choline, iron, and good cholesterol. They may even have omega-3 fatty acids if the eggs are from hens who are fed with flax meal, fish meal, and insects.
4 Red meat
As infants, our babies only have an ample reserve of iron that lasts only until six months and this even comes from the mother's womb. Hence, there's a dire need for infants to get a supply of iron to help their development. In fact, a seven-month-old baby requires more iron than an adult male. Although breastmilk and iron-fortified formula milk may have them, it's still better to add more iron sources.
Red meats usually contain high amounts of iron that will help in oxygenating a baby's blood, and as well as nutrients like protein and zinc. Just make sure, though, to thoroughly cook the meat to prevent food-borne illnesses that meats usually carry.
Quinoa is a great introductory grain for babies compared to rice. This superfood is packed with heaps of nutrients like iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins, vitamin E, and fiber. Quinoa is also a great source of plant-based protein plus all essential nine amino acids, therefore making it a complete protein source.
You can introduce quinoa to your baby as is or if you're feeling adventurous, you can make different recipes according to your baby's liking. You can mix veggies like squash, broccoli, or peas to make a veggie quinoa bite.
As early as possible, you should start introducing vegetables to your baby. And one of the best vegetables there is to serve would definitely be broccoli. It's not sweet, therefore acquainting your little one with bland-tasting food. Also, it's shape is perfect for little hands that are still learning how to grip.
The best part of introducing broccoli is, of course, the nutrients it has to offer. Broccolis are superfood as it's got vitamins C, K1, folate, protein, iron, manganese and a lot more of other good stuff that will surely aid in your baby's development.
Avocados are a famous choice for parents who are introducing solids to their baby because of many things. First off, its texture–when mashed, avocados have a silky texture that can be easy for babies. Adding breast milk or formula milk to it also helps the texture to be smoother for the little ones. Second is the taste, as avocados have a creamy flavor similar to the liquid food babies are familiar to. Last but not least, it's a superfood. If adults like us benefit a lot from eating them, what more for babies, right?
Avocados nourish your baby as it's full of protein, fiber, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, zinc, folic acid, and a whole lot more of nutrients. It's also brimming with monosaturated fats that are beneficial to the heart and brain development.