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As new parents, you always want the best for your baby. But when it comes to food, there is nothing really called the best for all babies. ‘Best’ could be closest to what suits your baby best.
However, the food should be suitable for the age of the baby. Experts suggest that you should not introduce solid food before four months. After that, gradually add semi-solids to their diet.
You should not completely reject any food item unless the baby has a proven allergy to it. Because this is the time when their food habits will develop for life. So, place an assortment on their platter. Sometimes sit back and watch what they naturally pick. Babies have their own taste buds too!
Best Foods for Babies
Keeping the above mentioned things in mind, we have created a list of 10 items you could add to the weaning diet. These are based on expert recommendations. They ensure optimum nutrition from different categories of food, and all are ‘e-some’ (read awesome!):
- Easy to make.
- Easy to eat.
- Easy on the pocket.
However, don’t add everything at once. Take one baby step at a time. Keep a gap of three days between new food items to watch out for any allergic reaction.
You should also check with your paediatrician for added guidance about best food for 6 months baby, to meet his specific health needs.
1. Breast Milk
This is one food that almost covers all aspects of nutrition for the first year of baby life. It is also indispensable in developing their immunity. However, it is low on iron and may not provide sufficient nutrition after six months when the baby starts becoming more agile and mobile. This is a time you need to start adding the best foods for baby brain development and weight gain.
- Only breast milk first six months.
- Top up liquid, semi-solid, solid food with breast milk until 12 months or longer, if possible.
What could be an ideal first ‘green’ food for gurgling baby? Avocados, because they are full of good fat (monounsaturated) and very high in protein, more than any other fruit/vegetable.
It is also ideal for the busy, new mom because:
- The high-fat content keeps the baby full for hours.
- They don’t need to be cooked.
Starting six months.
3. Iron-Fortified Cereal
Apparently, babies are born with an iron reserve that starts to deplete from 6 months. Start iron-rich food at that time. Moreover, mother’s milk is low in iron too. Any of the iron-rich cereals like rice, oatmeal and barley make up for all this. Stick to one of them to start with. Some recommend rice because apparently, they don’t usually cause any allergy.
Better be early than late: four to six months is good.
4. Red Meat
Red meat is sources of protein, iron, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and zinc. Nutrients from animal food are vital for proper brain, skeletal, and muscular development. So, just veggies for baby’s first meal is a myth, more because they cannot digest iron from plant sources easily.
Red meat should be very well cooked, blended and mixed with breast milk and vegetable pulp so that it can be easily eaten and digested. Be sure to remove any tiny bone pieces from the puree. You can also buy canned plain meat puree.
Seven to 10 months onward.
When a baby is out of spoon feeding, broccoli florets fit perfectly into tiny baby fingers. Boil them to make them soft and manageable. They are a superb source of vitamin C, but they should be steamed or microwaved because boiling eliminates half the vitamin. They also contain beta-carotene, folic acid, iron, potassium, and fibre.
Some babies may not like the taste of broccoli. To make it more appealing, you could:
- Mix it with a sweeter veggie like carrot and sweet potato.
- Boil, cool and chill. But don’t serve anything chilled if the baby is prone to catching a cold or if the weather is generally cold.
Beets contain vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and folic acid. They are among the naturally sweeter vegetables that babies take a quick liking to. Best baby preparation of beet is in juice or puree form, after boiling or roasting them.
Beets contain nitrates that not suitable for babies before 6 months because they can cause anaemia. Best time to start beet is 8-10 months.
7. Sweet Potatoes
The taste of some vegetables is often a put off for babies. If you start baby’s vegan journey with them, there may be some resistance. You would rather start off with something more naturally pleasant-tasting like sweet potato. They provide potassium, vitamin C, and fibre. They also contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant, that fortifies against some types of cancer. Mash it well for a memorable first ‘veggie’ treat for baby.
Around 6 months.
This is one food that brings a toothless grin to baby’s playful face. Easy to mash and mess, ‘sooooo…’ sweet gives a nutritive ‘high’ and knows the ‘potty’ tricks. They are a source of:
- Energy, because they are carbohydrate-rich.
- Digestive elements and stool softener, because they are full of fibre.
They are also among the best food for babies to gain weight from 6 to 9 months.
Served when they are ripe and mashed. Chopped bananas may be served to older babies as finger food.
4 months because they are easy to digest.
Prunes that you may know as dried plums could be appealing to babies because they are soft and sweet. Its goodness includes lots of fibre that is a natural cure for constipation. This often happens when babies are moving from semi-solids to solid food. You can serve bananas in the form of a puree or blend it with oatmeal, cereal, or applesauce.
4 -6 months because they are easy to digest and no reports of allergy risks.
Protect your baby’s eyes with loads of carrots because they contain oodles of beta-carotene that changes to vitamin A in the body that is essential for healthy vision. Beta-carotene is also an antioxidant that gives carrots the orange colour.
Carrots are also a great first baby vegetable because of its natural sweetness. Carrots should be boiled till they are very soft. Then you can either make a puree, dice them or just serve fingers of carrots. Ensure the boiled carrots are cool to the core before you serve it whole.
6 and 8 months.
Be aware that there is no one set of foods or rules that can create a power-packed and supercharged baby. It’s all about experimenting and discovering how to create a balanced, age-appropriate diet that suits your baby.
Also Read: Best Fiber Rich for Babies