Baby Food Tips
If you’re lucky, your baby will eat everything that you give him. If you’re not lucky, you will get a fussy, irritable baby who doesn’t eat anything. For the most part, most babies will fall somewhere in between. They like some foods, but not all foods. Here are some random thoughts I have regarding baby foods.
Start Off Simple
When it comes to baby food, my advice is to start simple and then progress to the more complex. With cereals, start with baby cereals (rice, oat, barley). When your baby looses interest in these, then add some banana or apple sauce to spice it up. And when this get’s boring, then proceed to plain Cheerios with milk or formula. Only much later, when you are out of options, should you go to the flavored cereals like Honey Nut Cheerios (added sugar here).
I particularly like Cheerios because it is the shape and size that toddlers can grasp with their thumb and index finger (pincher grasp). As well, cheerios dissolve/disintegrate relatively quickly so there’s less fear of him choking on a piece that went down the wrong way. Oh yes, the hole in the middle might allow air to flow through even if the Cheerios happened to get lodged in his throat.
Same is true with vegetables: cook them plain and only after your child is bored with them should you add a dash of salt, sugar, or butter to enhance the flavor.
For pasta, serve it up plain. Next, add a bit of olive oil. Then proceed to a dash of butter. Lastly, some red or cream sauce. Your child has to be quite old to appreciate pesto sauce.
Start simple, so you have a place to advance to. Keep in mind that to a baby, everything is new and exciting; so you don’t need to introduce the high-flavor foods right off the bat – keep these for later.
In the beginning, I keep a chart and tick-off the food that my child has already eaten. This may sound silly and unnecessary, but it does help keep your baby on a well balanced diet. My chart is divided into types of food such as:
– green vegetabels
– yellow vegetables
The chart was handy when my husband asks “what should I feed him?”. I would simply reply, “Look at the chart.” If he hasn’t had a yellow vegetable yet, cook up some diced carrots! Here’s a sample of my chart:
By now you probably know that young babies who are breastfeeding or on a baby formula diet do not need extra water or juice. But, as they get older and are weaned from the breast/bottle, you can start giving them extra fluids.
I strongly encourage you to give your child water. After all, he’s drinking to quench his thirst and provide his body fluids. He’s not drinking to increase calories, vitamins, or nutrients; that comes from the good food you provide.
Yes, eventually he does get bored of water especially if you drink juice and soda pop. When you give him juice, my first advice is to dilute the juice to 25%. That is to say one part juice and three parts water. You don’t need to get your graduated cylinders for this, just fill the cup with juice about ¼ of the way, and then fill the rest up with water. Later, you can up it to 50% juice (half juice and half water).
As a matter of fact, I usually only give half a cup of dilute juice so he doesn’t fill up on juice. If he drains the cup of juice in less than a minute and immediately asks for more, I negotiate for him to have a cup of water and then more juice. By the time he finishes the water (if he finishes the water) he isn’t thirsty anymore.
- Read this article to understand how juices and soda pop causes childhood obesity.
Baby Bottles vs Zippy Cup
If your child is consuming too much milk or juice, and is (1) getting fat, or (2) won’t eat his dinner, then you should take him off the bottle and start him on a no spill cup. Baby bottles are so easy to carry around and your baby may be attached to it so that he is drinking too much. Switch him to a zippy cup and use this transition as a time to regulate what he drinks and how much.
- See no spill cups here.
When a toddler starts eating solid foods, I don’t give the toddler any dessert. Why fill him up with dessert when he should be filling up with good, nutritious food? Plus, as a baby, he doesn’t know any better, so why give him a sugar treat if it’s not necessary?
If you really want to increase his happiness by giving him a dessert, give him fresh fruits. A slice of fruit is so tasty and it’s good for you too (vitamins, fiber).
After fruits, my second choice would be a baby cookie like the ones made by Arrowroot or Gerber. These cookies taste good and (to our minds) are quite plain – no sprinkles, no chocolate, no nuts, no jelly and so forth. But for a baby, it’s heaven! There’s no need to introduce him to sugar coated, chocolate dipped, cream filled donuts. There will be time for that later.
I strongly discourage you from feeding your toddler the baby food jars of dessert. These contain added sugar and fillers. They are as good for your baby as a slice of cheesecake. Yes, I love cheese cake, but it’s not good for me – and it’s not good for your baby.