They grow up so fast don’t they? The saying rings so true for new parents. It seems like just yesterday they were this tiny little baby and now they are a slightly less tiny baby that is ready for solids.There are a ton of questions that come up as new parents of what to feed babies? When? How much? It’s overwhelming sometimes.
For this reason we created a detailed list of the 7 best foods for starting baby on solids but we will also dive a little deeper into this topic. The #2 best food we listed may surprise you because it goes against conventional wisdom and what most parents on forums say but it is backed by research. We will explain further in the article but for now lets answer a common question about starting baby on solids.
When is the best time for starting baby on solids?
Lets answer the first question that naturally comes to mind when your little ones comes of age to start eating solids. What age is it exactly?
According to Mayoclinic formula fed babies can be fed solids from 4 months and breastfed babies are recommended to start at 6 months. Breastfed babies are recommended to start at 6 months to ensure they can get the full health benefits of breastfeeding.
Starting too early or too late is not beneficial to your baby. Too late and you can slow your babies growth and cause nutrient deficiencies among other things. Too early and you run the risks of obesity or aspiration (food going down the airway). This is why these guidelines laid out by hospitals like Mayo Clinic and the American Academy of Pediatrics should be followed.
What are the 7 best solid foods to feed you baby first?
Okay, lets get into the good stuff. These are the foods which are best for starting your baby on solids.
- BANANAS – This is a food we went over in great detail. We have a whole post about it here if you want to check it out. Basically this is one of the best starter foods for baby. The soft texture is great for babies. The flavor profile is amazing and just slightly sweet. The fruit offers a variety of nutrients that are essential to your little one. Also, you don’t have to cook it! Simply peel it, mash it up into a nice consistent texture and spoon feed banana to your baby. Easy and nutritious.
- Iron Fortified baby cereal – Yes, you read that right. A lot of parents are made to feel guilty and judged for serving “instant oatmeal/cereal” to their babies. The fact of the matter is, no matter what you always have to be careful what you serve your baby and do your own research. Fellow parents and ones we hear from on forums/Facebook groups have the best intentions in mind. However, there is no shame in serving your baby instant oatmeal/baby cereal if it is the right one. The main gripe (and rightly so) that most parents have about instant oatmeal are the additives like salt or sugar and the lack or iron. Studies show that from 1 to 6 months babies use the stored iron that was transferred when they were in the womb. After the 6 months mark. Iron is SUPER important. Instant oats are more processed than old-fashioned or steel rolled oats and therefore have less iron. But, if you buy organic, iron fortified baby cereal or oatmeal you are fine. Not every parent has perfect conditions, not every parent has the time to make old fashioned oatmeal. The solution we found was Earth’s Best ORGANIC whole grain multi-grain cereal. The ingredients list is short as you would expect from an honestly organic product and you can be confident you are giving them the amount right amount of iron they need on top of that.
- Apples – An apple a day keeps the doctor away. This is true for babies too. The fiber content alone and how much it will aid in digestion is reason enough to serve your baby apples. Not to mention all the vitamins they contain which have many added benefits. This is very often a good food for starting baby on solids. Make sure to peel, steam and puree the apples up until at least 12 months. This helps with the texture while not losing much nutritional value as opposed to boiling them. Apples are hard and a choking hazard for babies 6 to 12 months so do make sure it is steamed and pureed.
- Avocados – Avocados are another great starter food for babies. However, our baby is still on the fence about them but we keep trying to introduce them on occasion or mix them in with other foods she does like. The fat content is healthy for babies as well as the carbohydrates and proteins. Babies should not be on a low fat diet up to 2 years old. It helps them grow. Avacados are also helpful because they aid in brain development, have anti-inflammatory properties and the fat is unsaturated which aids in nerve and eye development as well. This is why we keep trying to feed it to our baby, if only we could get her to understand the health benefits.
- Sweet Potato – Adding another delicious soft textured food to our list is none other than the good ole sweet potato. Our baby loves these and so do we! The sweet potato is packed with beta-carotene and Vitamin A which is good for eye health. It is also packed with Vitamin C for immunity, starch and carbohydrates for energy. A growing babies body needs a lot of energy.
- Pears – Another great starter solid for babies. Soft in texture and delicious in flavor. These are a great addition to babies diet with their Vitamin C, Fiber and Potassium content. They are very easy on babies digestive tract which is another reason many pediatricians recommend them.
- Plums / Prunes – Plums or dried plums (prunes) are just fantastic for aiding in digestion. Particularly for constipation. This is what they’re known for. We use this along with flax seed oil whenever our baby is having constipation problems. With that taken into account and the fact that they contain a lot of fiber as well as Vitamin C, Vitamin A and are sodium free, there is no reason this should not be a part of your babies diet. From our experience, serve these moderately as they are acidic and our baby told us so by the funny faces she makes when she eats them. Nonetheless, she always goes back for more, they are very delicious.
How to introduce new foods to baby when starting baby on solids?
According to the CDC, it is best to wait 3 to 5 days when introducing new foods to a baby before introducing another one. This gives parents time to know if the new food is the cause of any allergies. Our pediatrician recommended 3 days and that is what we go by but be sure to consult with your pediatrician beforehand.
How much to feed your baby?
At the point when babies start solids which is usually 4 – 6 months, the main source of food for them should be breast milk or formula. This is where they still get their primary nutrition. Don’t stress too much about how much solid foods they eat. Every baby is different. We usually feed our baby pureed solid food 2 times a day. Sometimes she doesn’t want any. That’s fine!
2 meals per day at about 4 tablespoons is what is usually recommended by pediatricians as a maximum but if your baby eats more or less it shouldn’t really be an issue as long as you are serving healthy organic food. At this stage babies kind of get the skill for communicating. Our little one pushes the spoon away and turns her head from it as soon as she is full. That’s our sign that she is done eating. Take queues from your baby on when they are full and you will be just fine.