What Should Your Baby's First Solid Food Be?

by Shannon Evans

Introducing your baby to solid foods can be a lot of fun as a parent. Watching their little faces register a spectrum of reactions to this new experience is highly entertaining, and of course it's one big step towards the exciting world of toddlerhood. So what should your baby's first solid food be? There are a lot of options out there.

In an interview with Romper, Family Nutritionist Sarah Bester says, "The goal of starting solids should be to expand baby's palette by exposing them to the variety of flavors and textures that solid food has to offer, because the food they are eating now is going to shape their taste and flavor preferences for life."

The concept of being responsible for laying the groundwork of a lifetime of eating habits is a daunting one, but don't let it stress you out. Instead, Bester advises, simply try to expose your baby to wholesome, naturally derived foods with strong flavors. Bester recommends starting with roasted and mashed vegetables because the range of flavors are so great: cooked parsnips have a lot of zing, and beets have a perfect natural sweetness. In her personal practice, she steers clients away from the commonly recommended rice cereal, noting, "the last thing we want to do is encourage our kids to prefer bland foods."

Not crazy about all the prep work behind serving up root vegetables? Lactation Consultant Leigh Anne O'Connor suggests avocado or banana as a first food, especially easy choices in light of her recommendation to Romper that a baby be able to sit up and use their pincer grip before starting solids.

And if you ask Marissa Lippert, Registered Dietician and founder of Nourish Baby, she'll advise you to start with a soft boiled egg yolk. Lippert tells Romper egg yolks are her favorite because they "contain all the nutrients infants need as they’re starting solid foods — all eight amino acids that comprise a complete protein source, as well as healthy fat, cholesterol, iron and a little zinc."

When it comes to first solid food options, it seems the world is your baby's oyster. But you'll probably want to avoid starting with oysters. Talk to your child's pediatrician for more tips and skip that rice cereal aisle entirely. (But don't forget to pick up some extra bibs.)