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What food is good for my baby is a question asked by most parents worldwide. Homemade food is always better for your baby. But there are several formula foods available on the market that you can also try for your baby between four months to two years. You can try several homemade recipes for your baby.
Food for four months, purees at four months
The World Health Organization has recommended that babies should only be given breastmilk for up to six months for optimal development, growth and health. Most babies are ready to try new textures, tastes and foods before six months. But babies should not be given solids before six months as it can increase their chances of illness. The baby's nutritional needs must be met in these growing months for overall development. The food items that are best suited for your 4-month-old are:
Baby cereal: baby cereal is the first food recommended for 4-month-old babies. You can prepare the cereal with either breast milk or formula milk. Babies can be given organic rice cereal as they are healthy and the least allergic. Babies should be given gluten-free cereal. Therefore, avoid wheat, rye and barley cereals for babies below six months of age. Rice and oatmeal cereal are the best suited for 4-month-old babies.
Banana: Babies prefer bananas because of their natural sweetness. They are the perfect natural food. Bananas are rich in fibre and keep the baby's digestive system healthy. You can use formula or breast milk to thin the consistency to make the purees at four months easily digestible.
Sweet potato: Sweet potato is a favourite with babies because it is easily digestible. It does not cause constipation. Blend it after boiling to make it tender.
Carrots: carrots are a great food for four-month-olds. Carrots can be cut into sticks, boiled, and then made into a puree.
Apple: Cooked apples can be given to your baby with the doctor's advice. It is extremely nutritious for babies. The diced apples must be boiled until tender and then pureed in a blender. Purees at 4 months are best for your baby.
Milk: Milk is the best food for your baby until 12 months of age. Although breast milk is the best for any baby, formula milk is also an option.
Peas: Peas are a great choice as the first vegetable for a 4-month-old baby. Peas should be boiled for six minutes and then pureed in a blender.
Avocado: Avocado is not only nutritious but also delicious. Avocados can be scooped out, mashed, and mixed with a little milk to be fed to 4-month-old babies.
Food for 12-month-old-online availability of baby food
Children begin to grow teeth between 6 months to 12 months of age. Children can start on solid food when they grow teeth because they can chew and crunch solid food.1-year-old babies can be given whatever food the other family members eat, except too much salt and spices. You can include the following food for a 12-month-old diet:
Cereal: cereals like organic rice cereal or corn flakes are the best for 12-month babies. The cereals need to be softened with milk before giving to the babies. You can mix dry fruit powder in small quantities with your cereal to make them more nutritious. You can order organic rice cereal for your baby from online stores.
Cucumber: cucumber cut lengthwise as sticks are very nutritious and enjoyable for babies. Cucumbers can help beat dehydration which is common in children during the summers.
Dal: Dal is very nutritious and wholesome for twelve-month-old babies. Dal is full of proteins and other essential nutrients. Dal can be given with chapatis or rice after softening them for easy digestion.
Soya: Soya granules are the perfect storehouse of protein, especially for vegetarians. Soya chunks become soft after cooking, thus making them an ideal food for twelve-month-old babies.
Chicken: Children should be given organic chicken because it is free from hormonal treatment. Overcook chicken before feeding it to babies. Tender and properly cooked chicken cut into tiny pieces are an excellent food for 12-month-old babies.
Fish: Fish is a great choice for babies, but it is better to give them boiled fish instead of fried, as fried fish loses a lot of nutrients. It is also very important to remove bones properly before feeding your baby because bones can get stuck in the baby's throat.
Vegetable soup: Vegetable soup contains all the goodness of vegetables in one dish. Carrot soup and potato soup are great for the health of babies. Carrots are good for the eyes, and potatoes are rich in fibre.
Food for 18-month-old
18-month-old babies become picky with their food. They are not happy with just milk or plain cereals. Their sense of taste evolves, and as a result, they want variety in foods. Food for 18-month-old babies should include healthy snacks like dry fruit powder for milk, meat, and nuts. Include the following food items in food for infants.
Milk:18-month-old babies can be given cow’s milk once a day. Milk is very important for the overall development of babies. Milk is a source of calcium and makes the teeth and bones strong. 18-month-old babies should be taught to drink milk and water from a cup instead of feeding bottles.
Fruits: Fruits are a great source of essential nutrients for babies. Fruits can be included in babies' breakfast so that they get all the essential nutrients from the start of the day. Babies can be given fruit purees or fruit juices but not regularly because they are low on fibre and not beneficial for the baby's health.
Vegetables: vegetables must be included in an 18-month-old baby's diet regularly. Vegetables are full of all the essential nutrients required in the baby's growing years. Leafy vegetables should also form a part of the child's diet.
Meat: meat is essential for a child's needed amount of protein. Meat can be cooked properly without many spices and salt before being fed to babies.
Nuts: Nuts like cashew and almonds can be given to children but not in huge amounts as they can be difficult to digest. Dry fruit powder can be stored and added to milk or cereals in small quantities to make the food tasty and healthy.
Bread: Whole wheat bread is a great breakfast option for 18-month-old babies. Avoid white bread as it is made from refined flour. Bread sandwiches with fresh vegetables are favourite food items for children.
Whole grains: whole grains in the form of cereals is great baby food. Cereal is a great breakfast or even snack. The benefits of whole-grain cereals are they are rich in fibre and nutrients.
Parents are always worried about what kind of food should they feed their babies. As new parents, they are confused and scared to try anything new. A balanced diet is all you need to give babies; it might be formula or homemade food.
Which food should never be included in a baby’s diet?
Since babies cannot communicate their problems, as parents, you should be extra careful in choosing baby food. You should avoid whole nuts, whole grapes, raisins, candies, dried fruits, seeds or any other hard food before your baby learns to chew and swallow properly. They can lodge in your baby’s throat.
What baby food should I introduce first?
Formula milk or cow’s milk is the first baby food introduced after mother’s milk. After that, whole grain cereals, pureed vegetables, pureed dal, mashed meat and fish might be introduced when the baby is given solid food items. New food items should be introduced slowly, as the baby’s digestive system cannot tolerate huge differences at once.
How do I know if my newborn is getting enough food?
There are many ways to find out if your baby is getting enough food regularly. The first sign is wet and dirty nappies and diapers which prove that your baby is eating food. The baby's doctor might check the weight and height to see if the baby is growing properly and getting all the required nutrients. You can talk to your children’s healthcare provider about their growth and eating habits to know if they are eating properly.