Many people go about feedings in different ways. Various cultures have different beliefs, different ingredients and different access to food types that may or may not be good for their babies.
Since we ourselves are in the process of introducing our delicious little baby to a variety of foods we thought we'd share a few tips we've collected along the way:
1) Avoid cow's milk or dairy until baby is one year old. Dairy can wreak havoc on a delicate system and since most babies are not equipped to handle the high lactose levels found in most dairy products we don't recommend feeding your children large amounts of milk, cream, yogurt or other dairy products in the first few months. Don't get us wrong, a little lick off of mom's ice cream spoon here and there is probably okay, unless of course your child is allergic, but no more than that.
2) Start with Oatmeal. When you go to the grocery store you'll see a lot of Step 1 food options including fruits and vegetables. It has been highly recommended that you start your baby off with infant oatmeal or rice cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula before graduating to the pureed fruits and vegetables. This is because the oatmeal and rice cereal are designed to introduce your baby's tummy to outside foods gently. Be warned that rice cereal has sometimes caused constipation in infants when served too often and in large quantities. Try changing your rice cereal up with a plain single-grain oatmeal designed to keep things moving.
3) Veggies before Fruit. Since babies are still learning what food is all about you want to make sure they are comfortable eating savory food as much as they are sweet. The concern is that once a child tastes the sweetness of the fruit they will reject the vegetables. Save the fruit for dessert!
4) Use a three day test cycle. Many children have inherent food allergies that can only be detected through trial and error. These initial feedings are very important to learning which foods your baby's system responds well to, and which ones cause problems. Make sure you serve your baby the same food three days in a row before moving on to something new. This will give your baby's body enough time to respond and react to any allergies.
5) Stay balanced. Be sure to serve your baby foods that will provide enough iron, protein, and fiber to encourage growth and keep them regular. Great sources of fiber include oatmeal, prunes and pears.
6) Always use a spoon. Using a spoon to serve baby his/her initial foods now will make teaching them how to use utensils in the future much easier and they will understand what spoons are for.
7) Make your own baby food. There are many advantages to making your own baby food. It's more economical than the expensive pre-packaged cartons. You know exactly what is going into your child's diet. It gets your child used to eating the same food as the rest of the family.
8) Encourage curiosity. If your baby reaches out to try your food, let them! Just be sure it's in a small manageable bite that won't cause them to choke.
9) Don't force feed. If your baby is rejecting certain foods switch things up and try that food again later on. You don't want your baby to have a negative reaction to meal time and you don't want to initiate a power struggle every time you feed your baby.
10) Learn to love the mess. Just like so many moments in your child's life these days go by so quickly. Pretty soon your little one will be eating off of their own plate with a knife and fork and the days of sticky fingers and messy hair will be gone. Cherish these messy moments with fun photos and a chance to let your baby cut loose and have fun with their food.