Fruits and Vegetables for Babies

image001When your baby has transitioned from milk to cereal, the next step is introducing fruits and vegetables into his diet. This can be a great time, because you will get to see your child react to all the great new flavors. When you do start to introduce fruits and veggies, make sure to stick with one new food for three or four days each time. This helps you determine if the food is something your baby can tolerate, or if it will give him stomach upset or an allergic reaction. It’s always great to begin with a single food rather than a combo: for example, start with only pears, not peaches and pears together. Read on to learn more.

Recommended Fruits and Vegetables for Babies

There are many great foods for babies. Some experts recommend starting out with the orange foods, such as squash and sweet potatoes. Once your baby has mastered that, move to the fruits – pears, peaches and apples. After that, it’s time to mix it up with finely pureed meats. Then you can start offering combinations.

When your child is old enough to start eating lumpier foods, it’s time to introduce a whole new list of foods. Squash is still a mainstay, but now you can add things like lentils, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, blueberries and avocados. Add prunes, garbanzo beans and mandarin oranges to help ensure a healthy range of foods at meals.

You can also give your baby some of the “superfoods” in order to ensure that they have the best nutritional start possible. Things like carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, zucchini, parsnips, and other root vegetables for babies do wonders for your baby’s body. You can add in some fruits too, such as papaya, bananas, apricots and cantaloupe.

Click here to learn healthy and tasty vegetable recipes for your baby, and here for the full list of healthy vegetables to feed your baby.

Want to learn more about fruits and vegetables for babies, including how to best prepare them? Check out this link below:

Precautions for Fruits and Vegetables for Babies 

  • Do not feed from a jar. When you introduce fruits and vegetables for babies, don’t feed right from the jar. The tiny bits of your baby’s saliva on the spoon can break down the food in the jar very quickly and make it spoil. Instead, scoop out a tiny bit into a bowl and feed from the bowl.
  • They are not a substitute for milk. Also keep in mind that even if your baby is eating solid food happily at every meal, it is not a substitute for breast milk or formula. Your child still needs to have the added nutrients that milk can provide. Thought it might be tempting to try cow’s milk when your child is eating solid food, hold off on that for a bit – your child needs to be at least one year old before you let him have cow’s milk. Add in purees of meats and rice, and you’re on track to a great diet for your child.

Guidelines on Introducing Fruits, Vegetables and Other Solid Foods to Babies

For most babies, starting with cereal is the traditional thing to do. However, there is no research that says babies must start out with this, so if you want to go with pureed foods instead, that’s fine. Make sure the foods are pureed to a very fine mush – they should look like pudding.

Start with just a few bites at first, given from the tip of a plastic spoon. Some babies are more than happy to eat and want more immediately, while others are taken aback by the consistency and will refuse it. Try once a day at first, and when your baby seems more open to the idea, try after each feeding to get your baby accustomed to the taste, feel and smell of these pureed foods.

Some babies need practice with swallowing and keeping food in their mouths, so be very patient. Soon your child will start eating food readily, and then you will gradually increase their food to a few tablespoons each day.

4 to 6 Months: Puree Them

Between the ages of four and six months, all the food must be pureed to a very fine consistency in order to prevent choking. If you are buying it in a jar or tub, you will need to look for foods that are designed for this age range. If you are making your own baby food, make certain that it is pureed to the consistency of pudding. You can use an electric food processor to make this easier. One caveat, however: Never use foods like collards, carrots, turnips, or beets, as these contain nitrates that can lower a baby’s iron levels.

Learn more on what fruits to feed your 6 month old here.

6 to 12 Months: Lumpy Foods, Finger Foods, Spoon and Cup

Lumpy Foods: Watch how well your baby eats. When she is at a point where she moves the food around in her mouth and tries to chew a bit, it’s time to move up to other foods. These include foods that are a little lumpy or thicker. Lumpy vegetables might include thinned mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Finger Foods: Once your baby can handle that, it’s time to move her to something thicker. Noodles that have been well-cooked, veggies that are very soft and meats that are in very small pieces might work. When your baby begins to reach for these foods of her own accord and tries to use her hands to eat, she’s ready for finger foods. At this point you can give her a piece of toast, some crackers to nibble, or dry cereal that she can pick up with her fingertips. Make sure that you carefully supervise her to prevent choking.

Eat from Spoon and Cup: Once your child is grabbing at things on the plate, it’s time to teach him how to use a cup and spoon. Start with the “sippy” cup that allows your child to take a drink but not get it all over the place. When you start letting him use a spoon, give him a spoon to hold while you feed him from a different spoon. Over time, he will try to imitate you, and will eventually learn – with your help – how to guide a spoon of food to his mouth. This is a very messy stage, so be prepared with lots of damp cloths!