*** This article originally appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of Traverse Bay Family Magazine. It is reprinted with permission. ***
I love summer! In addition to getting to eat up those cute little baby thighs and toes that are hidden the other 9 months a year, summer is the best time to try new foods. Fresh summer fruits and vegetables are a great way to introduce real foods into a baby’s diet in a way he will love for life! They are fresh, in season and at their peak of tastiness and nutritional value. Since babies normally don’t eat the food as an addition to their primary food, it needs to be as nutritious as the breastmilk or formula they are replacing it with. That being said, here is a recommend list of what to feed your baby and when.
Some great first baby fruits are apples or applesauce, bananas and pears. For veggies, sweet or soft is still on the menu in the form of avocado, sweet potatoes and butternut or acorn squashes. If you are looking for a grain, try oatmeal or cooked barley or rice.
This is where late summer & early fall in northern Michigan really shine since some great Michigan produce is added to the list – apricots, peaches, plums, prunes, pumpkins, parsnips, carrots, peas, yellow squash and zucchini. You can also add things like nectarines, mangos, plain yogurt, and even some chicken or turkey.
If your baby is approaching 10 months this summer, the world is his oyster! You can add in finger foods like blueberries, cherries (cut up), cantelope, grapes and kiwi. He can also take advantage of broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, leeks, mushrooms, onions and peppers. At 10 months, many whole food experts suggest that you still avoid corn just because of its prevalence and the effect on the American diet. Common grains at this age are pasta and wheat, though all other grains are okay. Almost any meat is okay if the baby can chew it and cheese is a great snack – just no soft cheeses like brie, feta or bleu cheese due to listeria – it can be fatal in infants and pregnant women.
At 12 months, it’s game on! Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries have been given the green light as well as citrus fruits. Corn, cucumbers, spinach and tomatoes are added in as well as eggs, fish and drinking actual milk.
And whatever you do, NO HONEY until they turn two. Children’s immune systems cannot handle botulism.
How the time flies! So how did you/do you introduce foods to your baby?