It’s an exciting moment when your baby is able to add real food to their daily bottle or breast milk routine. Suddenly, the sky’s the limit, you think, as you start planning out meals for your little one. But before you start making a three-course meal for your future foodie, you’ll need to know the
first solid foods for baby that are safe and delicious.
When it comes to feeding your baby solids, it’s all about timing. But when is your child ready to start adding some spice to their lives, literally? “Baby is ready to start eating solids once she's at least 6 months old, can hold her head up and sit up briefly on her own, shows interest in food, and no longer pushes food out of her mouth,”
Kara Hoerr, RD, a registered dietitian tells Romper in an email. “It's important to wait until baby shows all of these signs before beginning solids to make sure it's safe and baby is developmentally ready.” So even if your baby hits that 6-month marker, it might not mean that they're ready, so consult with your pediatrician just to be on the safe side.
But if your baby is ready to start solids, these 10 foods can make mealtime a messy (and delicious) experience.
As a first food, you can't beat a good ol’ banana. It’s ideal for a bunch of reasons (ha), according to Hoerr. “Bananas are a great first food since their soft texture makes it safe and easy for baby to practice developing oral-motor skills," she says. "Bananas contain B vitamins, which helps baby turn food into energy to support their growth.” Just be sure to not give your babe bananas all the time, since
it can cause constipation, according to Parents.
Give your little sweetie some sweet potatoes as a fun first solid food. Sweet potatoes (and carrots, too), are an excellent sources of
carotenoids, which act as an antioxidant, Healthline reported. Hoerr says, “Sweet potatoes can help support baby's immune system.” You can roast or boil sweet potatoes, then mash them to desired tenderness.
Now you and your baby can have a bowl of oatmeal together in the morning. “Fortified baby cereal also provides a good source of iron,”
Erin Wade-Palinski, a registered dietitian, tells Romper in an email. The store variety is fine; just add formula, expressed breastmilk, or water to form a thin consistency. Once your baby gets used to the cereal, you can always add in other flavors, such as pureed fruits and veggies.
If you’re looking to introduce some colorful veggies into your baby’s diet, go with green beans. “Green beans are a great option for introducing your child to veggies, and premade varieties are fine to use,” says Wade-Palinski. “Just opt for ones that include green beans as the only ingredient, and don't add extra salt or sugars.”
In the past, parents were advised to stay away from potential food allergens, such as eggs. But all of that has changed, and many doctors are now recommending that babies be introduced to these foods at an early age to help prevent allergies from starting — and eggs are an
eggcelent place to start.
“Scrambled eggs provide iron and zinc, both of which are needed for brain growth and development,” says Hoerr. “Zinc also helps prevent illness, which is beneficial as baby's immune system continues to mature and develop.” Make sure the eggs are well-cooked but still soft, and give small spoonfuls to your baby for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Yogurt is an excellent option for introducing dairy into your baby’s diet. “Full-fat plain yogurt is high in fat, which babies need to promote growth and development,” says Hoerr. “Babies triple their birth weight and their brain size doubles in their first year of life, so getting adequate amounts of calories is essential.” Plus, all that calcium in yogurt can boost bone and teeth development. Stick to plain yogurt over the fun flavored ones to avoid adding extra sugar into your baby’s diet.
Get your little one ready for the goodness of guac by introducing them to avocados early in life. “Avocados are an excellent first food, especially since it's an easy texture for babies to transition to from milk,” says Hoerr. “Avocados are rich in healthy fats, which helps support baby's rapid growth in that first year of life, including brain and eye development.”
Your baby’s dietary requirements are going to change over time, and there’s a big push for extra iron starting around 6 months. That’s why you should make mashed beans for your baby. “Mashed beans, such as black beans, provide a good source of iron to help promote brain development and maintain an iron-rich blood supply to prevent deficiencies,” says Hoerr.
“One of the reasons babies need to start solids at 6 months is to get adequate iron and calories to support growth and brain development,” says Wade-Palinski. So get your little carnivore the iron they need by offering them strips of steak or shredded meats. Depending on your baby’s age, you can always cook and then puree the meat with water, formula, or breast milk to avoid any potential choking hazards.
Unlike other softer fruits, you’ll need to cook apples before serving them to your sweetie. Despite their naturally sweet nature,
apples are a big choking hazard, What To Expect reported, so boiling and then mashing them up is a good idea to let your baby try a Golden Delicious.
Exposing your baby to a wide variety of foods at an early age can help potentially prevent allergies from starting, as well as make them more adventurous eaters. That way mealtime in the future will be more manageable —and delicious— for everyone in your family.
Experts: Kara Hoerr, RD, a registered dietitian Erin Wade-Palinski, RD, CDE, LDN, CPT, a registered dietitian