What is In Baby Food? Some Ingredients Clarified

What is In Baby Food Some Ingredients Clarified

Your baby is probably growing up very quickly and will soon move to solid foods. When you are ready to start introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet the choices of foods can be difficult.

What do you start with? What types of flavors should you introduce? What textures are good and what ingredients will have enough nutrients? What are some of the things you will need to consider when it comes to different ingredients?

In this piece we will clarify a few things about baby food ingredients for you. Hopefully, this will answer most of your questions so you can worry about getting that little bundle full and growing up strong and healthy. Soon you will move on from worrying about food to the need to worry about toddler proofing!

When do you start to introduce solid foods?

Before you start to choose between different solid foods and their ingredients, you will need to know when your baby is actually ready for solid foods.

Most pediatricians recommend that you can start with solid foods at around six months old. But of course, no two children are exactly the same, so you will need to decide if your baby is ready. Once your baby can sit upright without support, and looks interested and keen at meal times, you should be able to introduce more solid foods.

Once you think you are ready to try out some solid foods, prepare a little. It can make the process a bit easier if you and baby are not tired. Don’t be too rushed and start with one type of food.

What to look for in a first solid food

When you choose the solid foods you want to introduce your baby to, there are a variety of options. A good start is single grain cereals. Many parents will start out with rice cereal, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the first thing you try. You can start with other types of grains, or even purees of fruits and vegetables.

The important thing is that your baby learns the reflexes associated with eating solid foods, like the hand eye coordination of using a spoon, and how to pick food with spoon. The exact type of food is not that important. It is a complicated new task that your child will learn when you first start feeding with a spoon, so enjoy the interaction with your baby during this time.

The First types Ingredients

One of the reasons it is a good idea to start with a rice cereal (or other baby cereal) is that you can easily start to spot food allergies. It is not a hard rule, but there are good reasons behind it.

If you start with a solid food with a lot of different ingredients from different sources, and your baby has a negative reaction to it, it can be difficult to be sure what caused the reaction. If you start out with single ingredient basic foods, you can slowly introduce different types of foods and see how your baby reacts to each different type.

Common allergens

That being said, you can be wary of the most common allergens in food. You can also guard against ingredients that may cause gas, it is not a fun experience for a baby with a sensitive system to feel gassy.

Some of the most common foods that may cause allergic reactions are eggs, dairy (usually cow’s milk, but other dairy products can also have an effect on sensitive systems). Wheat (as in gluten) and Soy can be allergens as well as some tree nuts. You can also check for fish proteins and shellfish.

When it comes to food that can cause gas, wait until your baby is at least ten to twelve months old before you start to introduce it to your baby’s diet. These foods are the ones we already know to cause some gasses, like broccoli, cauliflower and beans. But also be wary of onions, wheat, garlic and dairy. Some fruit juices can also cause discomfort in the digestive system.

Keep it fresh

Just like adult bodies, the little bodies of babies will appreciate fresh food. So where you can use fresh produce and puree it for your baby.

A baby is also much more sensitive to the types of foods they eat than adults are, they are still growing and learning to adapt to all the different things the environment throws at them. So try to stick to fresh foods as much as possible. It tastes better and you can usually find great ingredients at farmers markets at great prices.

Age appropriate foods

When you start feeding your baby different foods, you need to take into account what they are able to process and eat best at what age. So for the first foods that you introduce at around 4 to 6 months, keep it simple.

Stick with single ingredients from low acid sweet vegetables, like carrots or sweet potatoes. Make this into fine purees and space the introduction of a new food a few days apart so you can see how your baby reacts. If you see strange reactions contact your pediatrician.

At around 7 to 8 months, you can start to introduce more variety, start with a few basic proteins like lentils. You can also mash food now instead of pureeing. You can mash bananas, avocado, beets and a range of other foods. You can also combine baby cereals with a little fruit puree for a different taste.

Once your baby has reached a year, you can start to introduce standard solid foods. Still follow the same way of introducing something new as you did when your baby was still a few months old. You might still find something that does not agree with his or her little tummy. As always, if you are in doubt contact your pediatrician for more advice.

Final words

Hopefully things are a little more clear when it comes to the nutrition of your baby. The basic things to remember is to start them out slow with single ingredients. Keep it fresh as far as possible and monitor them so you can see if something in their food causes a reaction.

Store bought baby food may have a few extras, like extra vitamins and iron that will help your baby to develop healthily. There are many organic options available so you don’t have to worry about feeding your baby anything harmful.

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