The Best Solid Foods For Baby

Choose Iron-Rich Foods

The recommendation to start feeding babies solid foods at about 6 months old comes from the fact that at about 6 months of age, babies start running out of the iron that they stored in their bodies while they were in your womb. Breastmilk is naturally low in iron so you need to provide your baby with iron from another source - solid foods.

Why is iron important? Iron is used in overall growth and development. It's especially important for little one's brain development - for babies to reach full their cognitive potential. That's why it's recommended to offer your baby iron-rich foods at least twice a day.

The Best Iron-Rich Baby Foods:

  • Meat
  • Poultry (e.g. chicken, turkey)
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Egg yolk
  • Beans and lentils
  • Tofu (it's made from soybeans afterall)
  • Nut butters
  • Iron-fortified baby cereal

Spinach also contains iron. However, even when cooked, we absorb very little of it into our bodies. That's why it's not on this list. Sorry Popeye, you were wrong.

Parents often ask me if they have to give their babies each of the high-iron foods. The short answer is "no". This is a list of options. For example, if you're raising your baby vegetarian, choose the vegetarian foods. Or, if you never eat tofu in your house, don't buy tofu. Or, if you hate the smell of fish cooking, don't cook fish. Or, if you don't like the idea of added iron in baby cereal, don't use iron-fortified baby cereal.

Foods to Avoid

While the recommendations regarding delaying introducing foods from a food allergy prevention point of view have been sent to the proverbial recycling bin, there are a few foods to avoid - either from a food safety point of view or a nutrition point of view. Foods and recipes to avoid or delay:

  • Honey (and baked goods containing honey) - wait until after 12 months of age.
  • Cows milk until 9 - 12 months (small amounts of yogurt and cheese are OK after about 6 months).
  • Raw meats, fish, raw/runny egg whites, or unpasteurized dairy foods - wait until 4 years.
  • Foods high in sugar and salt. Having a new baby is a great reason for the whole family to eat fewer of these foods.
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