WHAT SHOULD YOUR BABY’S FIRST FOODS BE? By: Becky Imig, Submitted by Kathy O’Neill RN, Parish Nurse
Did you know babies who are breastfed have already tasted many different flavors? Breastmilk, unlike formula, changes by the hour depending on what the mom consumes. Because of that, it is often easier to get breastfed babies to try new foods. What foods should you have your baby eat first to set them up for healthy eating?
According to Lindsay Kohut, a dietitian at Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wis., “the first year of a baby’s life is a critical time for brain growth and development. Once a baby turns 6 months old, nutrient needs accelerate; iron and zinc are two nutrients that babies’ brains need to thrive.”
Whatever foods you choose first, make sure they are pureed to avoid choking. You might be surprised at how little your baby needs for those first feedings – a teaspoon is all it takes!
Worried about allergies? Introducing foods such as peanut butter, eggs, dairy or soy as early as 6 months can actually help prevent an allergy.
“It’s impossible to know in advance what your baby may be allergic to, so it is recommended to introduce one new, single-ingredient food every three days to look for signs of an allergy, such and rash or swelling,” says Kohut. “If any signs of an allergy are observed, it’s important to take baby to the doctor to be evaluated.”
By 7 to 8 months old, infants should be consuming foods from all food groups. Avoid soda, cow’s milk, salt, butter, sugar and fried foods. It is also not recommended to give infants under 12 months of age juice. Instead, choose fresh fruit.