The Best Foods for Baby’s First Meals

Last update on Aug. 17, 2016.

The Best Foods for Baby’s First Meals

Did you know butternut squash is a great first food for your baby? It’s high in vitamin A and potassium and most babies think it’s pretty tasty. Another reason it makes the “first meal” list is because it’s typically low on the allergy scale.

Whether you’re making your baby food at home or buying it at the grocery store, here’s a list of foods that are easy on your baby’s tummy and appropriate for her various stages of digestive development.

STAGE 1

The first meal she eats is going to be pureed, strained and kind of runny. But that’s okay! She’ll be excited to taste new flavors for the first time. As she gets older the consistency of her food will get chunkier, because she’ll have some cute little chompers and she can mash lots of foods with her gums. But for now, the recommended texture for her first “solid” foods is smooth and easy to digest.

STAGE 2

Your baby is an eating machine by now, so she’s ready to try food combinations like oatmeal with fruit or meat with veggies. You can introduce many new foods that are more fibrous, a bit more acidic and contain a higher amount of protein. At this stage in mealtime, her food is chunkier in texture, but still has to be small pieces and easily chewed and digested. You can also start to add some mashed spices to her food to see what she likes.

STAGE 3

By the time she reaches 8-12 months, your baby has developed her ability to pick up finger foods (pincer), so your mini foodie is ready to explore even more. This is when you can cut your food into small bites and she can try things like pancakes, pizza or Cheerios. Just make sure the pieces are small and soft and don’t leave her unattended. You can give her one piece at a time and encourage her to chew each piece before she puts another one in her mouth.

Just remember, the American Academy of Pediatrics does advise staying away from foods that are choking hazards during the first 12 months like hot dogs, nuts and seeds, big chunks of meat or cheese, whole grapes, hard candy, popcorn, peanut butter and chewing gum.

Bon appétit!

Stage 1 Foods, 4-6 Months Old

FRUITS

Peeled apples, avocados, apricots, bananas, mango, nectarines & peaches, papaya, pears, plums & prunes, pumpkin

VEGGIES

Green beans, carrots, peas, sweet potato, squash

GRAINS

Rice, oatmeal, barley

Stage 2 Foods, 6-8 Months Old

FRUITS

Introducing strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, pineapple, cherries

VEGGIES

Introducing spinach, kale, red beans, red peppers, lentils

GRAINS

Multi-grain baby cereal, oatmeal with fruit and quinoa

DAIRY

Soft cheese, yogurt, milk

MEATS

Soft pureed meats like chicken and beef

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