Baby's First Foods, part 2

Feeding your baby for the first time will be a moment to remember, for any parent. It is a developmental milestone and for me, it has to be recorded in the baby book! Sitting up on the high chair with their spanking new bib, all ready with a colorful set of spoon and fork, it's time to awaken their senses with the sight, smell, and taste of this strange new food in front of them.

Chocolate coins and chestnut -- to PLAY with, NOT to feed a 10-month old baby! =)

Starting your baby on solid foods can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time, both for the parent and the child, as there are a number of choices, as well as restrictions, and endless lists of things to remember. After posting a sample food chart on my previous post, I will now focus on the safety checklist and allergy risks that new parents need to be aware of.

I have culled a few clippings from an old issue of Parenting magazine (USA), which I often referred to during my babies' introduction to solid foods.

  • Until your baby is at least 7 months, don't puree your own beets, turnips, carrots, spinach, or collard greens because they may have large amounts of nitrates which can cause anemia in young infants
  • Until your child is 1, avoid honey - it can contain spores that may cause life-threatening infant botulism
  • Until your child is 4, don't feed him these choking hazards: nuts and seeds, popcorn, raw vegetables, hard or sticky candy, chewing gum, whole grapes and cherries
  • After your child is 1, cut up firm round foods (grapes, cooked carrots,chunks of cheese or meat) into very small pieces, about quarter of an inch, before serving
  • At any age, if your child experiences rashes, vomiting, bloating, gas, diarrhea after a new food, stop giving it to him and talk to your doctor. Your baby may have an allergy or food intolerance
Honestly, I was not able to follow these to a tee. I was guilty of feeding my kids whole, peeled, seedless grapes even before they turned 3. They love grapes! It's very high in vitamins and minerals, and they just can't stop popping these juicy berries in their mouths. I only made sure they bit and chewed each one properly to avoid choking.

Here's more of what I've gathered:
The average infant has about 5% chance of developing food allergies by age 3. 
If you or your baby's dad has asthma, hay fever, eczema, or food allergies, the risk goes up to 20 - 30 percent. 
If you both do, the risk is 40 - 70 percent. 
If there's a family history of allergies, once your baby is born, follow these recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
  • Breastfeed exclusively for 6 months (If you use formula, buy a hypoallergenic one, i.e. Nutramigen or Alimentum; though NAN 1 Hypoallergenic is more popular in the Philippines).  Even after he's eating, he'll still need breast milk until he's at least 1.
  • After 6 months, introduce solids -  but avoid the foods that cause most food allergies, i.e. peanuts, tree nuts, cow's milk, and shellfish.  You may also want to skip wheat and soy.
  • After age 1, you may introduce whole cow's milk, wheat, and soy (if you've avoided them) - do so one food at a time, and wait a few days before introducing the next one so you can watch to see if there's any reaction
  • Wait until your child is at least 2 before feeding him eggs, and at least 3 before giving him seafood or nut products
A sour surprise -- her first taste of lime at 20 months

I have been reminded over and over by pediatricians to:

  • Allow our children, even babies, to decide how much they eat
  • It's okay when, for some meals, they may not each much, and sometimes they may be ravenous
  • Parents should only need to stick to a consistent time and sequence of baby's foods and you can improve his overall health and nutrition


For 4 to 7 Months
  • cooked warm rice cereal, oats
  • finely strained or pureed fruits and veggies - apples, potatoes, squash, peas
For 7 to 10 Months
  • finely chopped meat, poultry, or fish
  • mashed sweet potatoes
  • scrambled egg yolk
  • minced chicken and plain rice
 For 9 to 12 Months
  • cooked pasta - macaroni, spiral, spaghetti noodle
  • finger foods that dissolve in the mouth without chewing - baby crackers, cooked frozen veggies
  • pasta with cheese or tomato sauce
  • plain yogurt
  • soft fruits like peaches, mangoes, and chopped bananas

Check out part 1 of Baby's First Foods, with food chart

Grapes photo:  NutritionResearchCenter.org
Checklist resource:  Parenting 2006 (magazine)