I’ve started feeding solids to my second baby. And I have to admit — it’s very different this time around (oh…and that’s a picture of my little guy).
I remember being so scared – and overwhelmed – the first time. Should I make my own baby food or use jarred food? It seemed like such an ordeal to make my own baby food. But soon I realized it was just easier to use regular food.
This time I’m already trying to find ways to have my boy eat what we are eating. And in doing so I’m reminded that the best first foods are actually the easiest to prepare.
1. Iron-fortified cereal: I’ve noticed that some moms are skipping cereal and going straight to fruits and vegetables. The problem with this is that babies need iron due to their rapid growth. At about 6 months of age, iron stores deplete and babies need iron from complementary foods. A key reason iron-deficiency has declined in recent years is due to iron-fortified products like cereal.
There are plenty of whole-grain infant cereals available like Earth’s Best. These cereals are can be combined with other foods including vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies (see below) which help increase the absorption of iron.
2. Cantaloupe: I’ve noticed that cereal is often blamed for baby constipation. I personally think stopped-up babies just aren’t getting enough fresh fruits. At 6 months babies can eat mild, skinless raw fruits like cantaloupe, pears and mango. Cantaloupe is rich in vitamins A and C. If it’s ripe enough it can be mashed with a fork or thrown in the blender to smooth it out.
3. Avocado: All you have to do is mash avocado, add some breast milk or formula and you’re ready to go. For a thicker consistency mix it with oat or rice cereal. Avocados are a source of vitamin E, contain fiber and are rich in monounsaturated fats.
4. Sweet potato: I recently bought a bag of a bunch of small sweet potatoes. All I do is punch both sides multiple times with a fork and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes each side. Then I cut it in half and spoon out the insides and mix it with breast milk or formula until reaching the desired consistency. Sweet potatoes are rich in both vitamins A and C.
5. Winter squash: I love making this at dinner time so it’s easy to save a little for my boy. Like sweet potatoes, winter squash is an excellent source of vitamins A and C
6. Banana: Bananas are the easiest and most convenient fruit to prepare. Simply mash up to desired consistency and add breast milk or formula. Add it to cereal or serve it by itself. Bananas contain fiber, potassium and even some vitamin C.
Now that my boy has tried these easy first foods, it’s time to step it up and start cooking and pureeing some veggies. I also plan on including pureed meat as it’s a highly absorb-able source or iron and zinc. I’ll be sure to update you on the next phase of feeding my baby. I have to say, so far he is an eating machine.