Fruits and vegetables will be among the first baby foods your baby will try, and will be an important part of a healthy baby diet from this point on. Introduce fruit and vegetable purees to your baby one at a time, and remember that he might not accept a new food right away. Keep offering rejected foods; it can take multiple attempts before your baby decides he likes it.
Where to Start
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t necessary to start baby on vegetables before fruit. Starting with fruits won’t cause your baby to have a sweet tooth, mainly because he already does. Breast milk has a sweet taste; therefore babies will naturally be predisposed to liking sweeter flavors. This doesn’t mean your baby won’t enjoy vegetables, just that you might need to offer them several times before he decides to eat.
Great choices for first fruits and vegetables are easy to digest, nutrient rich choices that are not likely to cause an allergic reaction. Try fruits such as bananas, pears, apples and avocados. For first veggies, try carrots, peas and sweet potatoes. You will need to start with smooth and fairly thin purees. If you are purchasing baby food, start with stage one purees which are the smoothest and the thinnest. Alternatively, you can easily make your own fruit and vegetable purees at home.
Making Your Own Baby Food
Homemade fruit and vegetable purees are a simple and budget-friendly choice, as well as a very healthy one for your baby. You can make your own purees of just about any fruit or vegetable you can think of, quickly and easily at home. The first thing you will need is something to puree the food in; a regular food processor will work great, but there are also baby food makers available that are reasonably priced if you prefer to have a dedicated machine.
Most fruits and vegetables will need to be cooked prior to pureeing. The best way to cook them is via steaming; unlike boiling, steaming will leave the nutrients in the fruits and vegetables intact. You will need to cook everything until very tender to create a smooth puree, so it may require replacing the water a few times. A simple steamer basket that fits inside a regular pot is the most affordable method of steaming. After steaming, save whatever water was used in the cooking process. You can add it back into the puree to help thin it out. Blend until smooth, adding water as necessary to achieve the desired texture and consistency. You can then freeze your purees in ice cube trays for easy portioning later. After freezing, dump the trays into a sealed bag that you can label with the date and type of food.
Bananas and avocados make excellent first foods for your baby, and as a bonus, they don’t need to be cooked ahead of time. Simply mash them well and serve! Both are great sources of nutrition.
Adding New Foods
As you expand your baby’s diet to new fruits and vegetables, do so carefully to watch for an allergic reaction. You should add a new food no more than every 3-5 days. This slow pace with allow you to pinpoint which food caused any reaction your baby might have. Even though you are starting with the least allergenic choices available, there is always some risk that your baby could have an unusual reaction. Take it slow – this will also give your baby a chance to really experience the food and get used to the new flavor.