It’s the 6-month panic.
When you realize that your baby should start moving towards eating semi-solid foods, but you have no idea which foods to start him on.
His tummy is tricky. There are some things that teeny tiny gut is ready for.
Like pureed sweet potatoes.
There are somethings his tummy is NOT ready for.
Like steak, Mountain Dew, and PB/Honey Sandwiches.
You let Grandpa feed him those and he will be speeding down the express train to Vomitville. Babies have sensitive little tummies. Their digestive systems are still growing.
Introducing baby food in the wrong way can leave to an upset stomach, or even *gulp* an ER visit. Fortunately, the “when” is a pretty easy question.
And since I love to impress people by tackling the
hard easy questions, I’ve done all the research and compiled it in this nice little post here for your reference enjoyment. (Because referencing things is soooo enjoyable!)
Let’s start with my Number One Rule of introducing Baby Food.
Heather’s No. 1 Rule of Introducing Baby Food:
Make it Choke-Proof.
I have a terrible, gut-wrenching, bile-wretching fear of watching one of my kids choke.
Actually, let me revise that.
I have a terrible, gut-wrenching, bile-wretching fear of watching anyone’s kids choke. (That means yours.)
So my first rule is to transform that food into something that they absolutely cannot choke on. This means…
- Overcooking, pureeing, and straining foods for beginning eaters so there are no lumps whatsoever.
- Adding breastmilk or formula to thin cereals and purees out and get the right consistency.
- Dicing pieces of overripe fruit and rolling them in oat bran (prevents slipping down the wrong tube) for older babies & toddlers.
Remember, babies gum food, they don’t chew it. Keep foods mushy until his molars arrive in his second year.
If you don’t want to mess with steamer baskets (and who does, really) check out God’s gift to homemade baby foodies.
Foods Safe to Introduce at 6 Months
For babies just starting their eating adventures, think “tasting liquids” not “eating solids”. His food should be literally dripping off the spoon.
As he starts this lesson in The Art of Feeding My Face, don’t be surprised when he shoves most of the food out with his tongue. That’s actually not a “I hate this food” message.
You see, it takes different tongue movements to eat off a spoon than to suck out a bottle or breast. In his mind, he’s trying to breastfeed this new-fangled “drink” off of some silly cup-on-a-stick.
At this age, eating solids is less about nutrition (he will get most/all his nutrition from breastmilk and formula) and more about tongue practice.
If he doesn’t seem interested or isn’t “getting it” after a few days, shelve solids for a few more weeks.
I didn’t start introducing baby food to my youngest Bella until almost 8 months. She had NO interest in eating solids, and since she was still gaining weight, the doctor gave me the a-okay in waiting (she was off the growth charts already). Just because he’s 6 months doesn’t mean he’s ready to eat solid foods. You are the expert on your baby remember? If he’s still growing, don’t feel you have to rush him into solids.
Cooked Fruits & Veggies at 6 Months
Blend up these fruits and cooked vegetables with formula or breastmilk, strain to remove any lumps, and then freeze in ice-cube trays for homemade healthy baby food. (Takes 20 minutes once a week and will save you a fortune!)
This is just a partial list (because it’s a blog post, not a book). You can see the full and complete list in my ebook What to Feed Your Baby.
- Ripe Avocado
- Ripe Banana
- Sweet Potatoes
- Winter Squash
Grains & Dairy at 6 Months
Making your own baby cereals at home is eye-rolling easy. (Not to mention better for your baby nutritionally.)
Grind the grains before cooking (with a clean coffee grinder or the Beaba), and then cook on the stove using 2:1 ratio. (Example: 2 cups of water for 1 cup of grain) Finally, thin it out with breastmilk or formula to make it safely soupy.
- Brown Rice
- Whole-milk plain yogurt
Obviously, that’s going to make a LOT of baby cereal. Divvy it up into smaller containers and refrigerate for 2-3 days. Then pop it in the microwave, stirring in an ice cube to cool and thin it down a little.
Introducing Baby Food at 7 Months
You may be able to thicken the food a little, but you still want it the texture of heavy cream.
This is also the age when you can start offering diluted fruit juices: apple, apricot, grape, pear, papaya, pear, peach, and prune. Only offer juice once a day. Formula, breastmilk, and water should be his primary liquids at this age.
Add these items to your previous baby food list:
- Various fruits and veggies (use the complete alphabetical food guide here as a reference)
- Silken Tofu (blended)
- Cottage Cheese (small curd)
- Egg Yolks (hard cooked and mashed)
- Poultry (cooked and pureed)
- Beef (cooked and pureed)
- Veal (cooked and pureed)
- Lamb (cooked and pureed)
Foods Safe to Introduce at 8 Months
If he seems like he’s understanding the “gumming” concept of eating, let him experiment with a few small finger foods (like Cheerios). Give him only one or two at first, or he may attempt to chipmunk-cheek himself.
Since he’s just a beginner, make sure everything you give him can be swallowed whole. You may also want to roll diced pieces of fruit in oat bran to further protect against choking. (Slippery food is easily choked on.)
Here’s the list of items you can add on to his food list at 8 months.
- Apples (peeled)
- Kiwi Fruit
- Broccoli (See a complete list of fruits and veggies here.)
- Tahini Spread (Sesame Seed Paste)
- Ground nuts (if no family nut allergy history)
- Cheese (shredded or grated)
- Finely ground seeds
- Lean fish like flounder, sole, cod, catfish, haddock (cooked and pureed)
Introducing Baby Foods at 9 Months
This is a great time to introduce your infant to cooked beans, lentils, and split peas. Cook them, then mash them into a paste before serving. This is an excellent way for your baby get some bone-and-brain building proteins!
These foods, when cooked, can be added to your baby food list:
- Berries (see the complete list here)
- Onions (diced and cooked)
- Kale and other powered up vegetables
- Mushrooms (diced)
- Pork and ham (cooked and pureed)
- liver and kidney (cooked and pureed)
- fatty fish like tuna, halibut, bluefish, sardines, and salmon (cooked and pureed)
Foods Safe to Introduce at 10 Months
You can begin to introduce finely grated raw fruits and vegetables as fun new finger snacks at this age.
Raw (peeled) apples, summer squash, sweet peppers, and carrots, finely shredded provide a new texture for him to try with his new teeth.
Here are a few things you can add to his diet this month.
- Sweet Bell Peppers (finely grated)
- Lettuce (finely grated)
- Bulgur Grain Cereal
- Whole Grain Pastas (small enough to swallow whole)
- Thinned creamy peanut butter (if no family history of nut allergies)
Introducing Baby Foods at 12 Months
The first birthday is a HUGE milestone for your little guy! Besides eating his first cake and ripping open gifts, a whole new culinary world of options opens up.
This is also a great time to introduce the wonders of The Sippy Cup. Try introducing it for one meal a day, and eventually replace the bottle altogether.
Here are the foods your baby can start enjoying at 12 months. Continue to dice and overcook these foods. Lumpy is good. Hard chunks is not.
- Various citrus fruits (get the complete list here)
- Tomato juice
- Wheat Germ
- Cow’s milk
- Hard-cooked Egg Whites
- Shellfish (cooked and finely chopped)
Foods Safe to Introduce After 18 Months
By this age, there are very few foods your baby can’t chow down on. Here are the final food items you can add to his diet this month.
- Cucumbers (grated)
See How Easy That Was?
Introducing baby foods is one of the highlights of parenting in the first year.
What parent hasn’t grabbed the phone in a panic to capture the first taste of a lemon? Or the final smear of a new sweet potato hair style?
Watching your baby experience new tastes and textures is one of my favorite things about babyhood.
Which new tastes does your baby like the most right now? Which does he hate?
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Heather is the Chief Encouragement Officer here at MightyMoms.club and has been writing and encouraging parents online since 2007. She’s a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, has been a featured parenting expert writer on blogs like DaveRamsey.com, SimpleKids.net, Cafe Mom, and others. If it’s 2am and you’re desperate to read SOMETHING, check out her deepest darkest secrets, including why she really shouldn’t be allowed to blog.