Your baby needs iron for good health. Continue to breastfeed and provide the extra iron that your baby needs by offering her the iron-rich foods. Feed your baby at regular times. Include her at family mealtimes. Talk to her gently. Start your baby on pureed foods. Next, move to lumpy, mashed foods. As your baby becomes better at eating, give her finely chopped foods. Changing texture is important to help your baby learn to chew. Babies who stay on pureed foods too long may be less willing to eat textured foods.
What types of infant cereal should I feed my baby?
Start with an iron-fortified, single grain infant cereal, such as rice. Gradually try other single grain cereals, such as oats, barley, and wheat. Use mixed grain cereals only after your baby has tried each of the single grain cereals. Mix the dry cereal with breast milk. At first make the cereal thin. As your baby becomes better at eating, add less breast milk to make the cereal thicker. Choose plain infant cereals. Cereals with added fruits have extra sugar. Choose cereals without infant formula added. Read the labels. Do not give adult cereals. Always feed cereal from a spoon. Never add cereal to a bottle.
What kinds of meats and alternatives should I feed my baby?
Keep meats and alternatives moist so they are easy to swallow. Add extra water or broth to meats and cooked beans. Use silken (soft) tofu. Do not give your baby deli meats such as ham, wieners, bologna, salami, or sausages. These are high in fat and salt. Give your baby fish such as white fish, salmon and light canned tuna. Swordfish, shark, fresh or frozen tuna steak, canned albacore tuna, marlin, orange roughy and escolar are often high in mercury. Do not give your baby these fish more than once a month.
After your baby has started eating iron-rich foods, she needs other foods like vegetables and fruit.
What kinds of vegetables and fruits should I give my baby?
Try one new vegetable or fruit at a time. Start with mild tasting foods such as squash, peas, sweet potatoes, green or yellow beans, apples, peaches, pears, apricots, plums, avocados, and bananas. You can also give other vegetables and fruits that your family eats. Wash and peel fresh vegetables and fruit before using. Give your baby cooked and mashed vegetables and fruit. You can mash bananas, papayas, avocados, mangoes, melon, and canned fruits without cooking them. As your baby gets older he can have soft pieces of food. Use fresh fruit or canned fruit in juice. If you use baby food fruit avoid “fruit desserts”. They are high in sugar. Store-bought combination vegetable and meat dinners have less nutrients. If you use them add extra meat or alternatives and vegetables to your baby’s meal.
What about juice and other drinks?
Your baby gets enough to drink from breast milk. He does not need juice. You can give your baby tap water or bottled water from a cup if he seems thirsty. Do not give distilled, carbonated, or mineral water. If you decide to give juice, wait until your baby is eating fruit and other foods. Serve juice in a cup. Give your baby 100% pure fruit juices without added sugar. You do not need to buy special baby juice. Just be sure the juice is pasteurized. Do not give your baby more than 1/2 cup (125 ml) of fruit juice per day. You do not need to add water to the juice. Do not give your baby fruit drinks, fruit punch, soft drinks, sports drinks, or herbal teas.