Cooked mashed sweet potato is another favorite first food. It is highly nutritious and rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A). This is a great first food for your baby, if you don't wish to start her out on sweet bananas or a processed baby cereal.
Yogurt is similar tasting to milk, and for this reason and many others, it is a good first food for babies who are at least 5 or 6 months old. Whole milk yogurt is recommended, because your baby needs fats. Baby yogurt, of course, should be of the plain variety. Don't buy the yogurt with sugary fruit added or, worse yet, the yogurt that has artificial sweetener. It is important to note that although yogurt may be given to a baby younger than 1 year old, cow's milk should not. If allergies to milk run in your family, you shouldn't feed your baby yogurt. Talk to your pediatrician.
Homemade Whole Grain Cereals
If your baby is at least 6 months old, I recommend homemade whole grain brown rice or millet cereal as baby's first food. These cereals are easily digested and have a naturally high iron content. Please read about iron supplements on page 64. However, your baby must be at least 6 months old before he has the necessary digestive juices to handle the complex carbohydrates in these cereals.
Commercial Rice Cereal
Commercial iron-fortified baby rice cereal is the first choice of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Rice is very easily digested, is rarely an allergen, and thins readily when added to liquid. Most commercial cereals are refined and processed. Earth's Best is not -- it is made from whole brown rice and is organic. If you wish to use commercial baby cereal, I highly recommend Earth's Best. Find it at some supermarkets, all natural foods stores, or order from some baby product catalogs or from mail order natural foods companies (page 134). Store opened boxes of cereal in a cool, dry place for up to 1 month. After 1 month, the cereal's nutrient content begins to decrease.
"Solid" is a misnomer -- to eat foods that are actually solid, your baby would need a good set of teeth, which she won't have for quite some time! Your baby's first food, after breast milk or formula, should be more liquid than solid. In fact, it should be so liquid that it pours. To get this very thin consistency, the first food should be mixed with a large proportion of breast milk, formula, or water.
You may be surprised at how little food you should give your baby at her first meal -- no more than a teaspoon or two. The amount that she will eat at any meal depends on her age and weight, and how much liquid she is drinking. The chapter How Much Should My Baby Eat? gives more information on the amount of food you should feed your baby. The next section, Baby's Very First Meal, gives explicit directions on how to begin feeding your baby.
When Ruth Yaron's twin sons were born 9½ weeks early, she knew that the best gift she could give them, besides love and snuggles, was a healthy diet. Her research laid the foundation for this book. It wasn't until later, after the birth of a third son that she was able to study and write the Super Babyfood Book.
Copyright © Ruth Yaron. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.