Weaning your baby onto solid foods is a very exciting time. However, it can be hard to know where to start! Here I am going to outline 5 great first foods for your baby. You will notice that I am not including baby rice/rice cereal in this list despite the fact that it is usually recommended as a first food; this is because most babies aren’t keen on it! If your baby is ready for solid foods (if they are able to sit unaided, have shown that they can handle finger foods etc) they will almost certainly prefer the taste of real food and not just slushy milk! Children who are weaned on flavoursome, whole foods are less likely to be fussy in the future.
You really can’t go wrong with cheese. Most babies love the taste, it’s solid enough for them to hold and yet it chews up in the mouth easily. You can melt it onto bread or toast for them, or just chop it into chunks and let them munch away! However, it’s worth not letting them go too cheese-crazy, as it has quite a high level of sodium. We all need sodium in order to function properly, so don’t worry too much; just ensure they don’t eat a ridiculous amount of cheese every day.
2. Carrot Sticks
Carrots are sweet, very cheap, tasty and easy to prepare. For older babies, you can just peel the carrot, chop it and give it to them raw. Younger babies may need to have the carrots very lightly steamed, just to make them soft enough to be more chewable. However, keep any kind of cooking to a minimum when it comes to vegetables; raw is always more nutritious, and most babies far prefer the taste when they haven’t been meddled with too much.
Berries are, and always have been, my son’s favourite snack. They are a really easy way of getting fruit into your kids. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are sweet, flavourful and the perfect size for little fingers to grab. They contain lots of important nutrients and can be incorporated into almost every meal. They are a fantastic portable snack, too — just wash them, pop them into a little airtight tub and throw into the changing bag!
Pears are a fantastic first food. The taste is mild, sweet and it’s a versatile choice. They can be pureed, mashed, chopped into chunks or simply handed over as they are! If you’re going to give a whole pear to your baby to chow down on, it might be an idea to peel it first — the texture of the skin may put them off.
Bananas are possibly the best first food for babies, in my opinion. We go through goodness knows how many bananas every week in our house. Bananas can easily be pureed without any effort on your part; simply mash it up with a fork. However, there really isn’t any need to puree a banana, if your baby is physically ready for solid foods. Simply break off a manageable chunk of the ‘nana and hand it over to the eagerly awaiting little fingers!
Weaning your baby can be a stressful time, mainly because of the conflicting advice over what they should and shouldn’t be eating at their age. You can be fairly sure that most things are fine for them if they are over the age of 6 months, which is the recommended time for introducing solids. However, honey is not recommended for babies under the age of 12 months due to bacteria present that may be more likely to cause botulism in younger children. Be sure to seek advice from your health professional before starting your baby on solid foods; they will be able to provide you with up-to-date food safety information.
I would love to read about your baby’s first experiences with food – please do comment and share your stories!