I recommend you give baby less of a new food when introducing and give baby time to inspect and touch it. If baby makes a face and spits it out the first time, re-introduce another 1 ounce the next day. Once baby is familiar, you’ll really know if s/he likes it or not.
At 6 Months
Your baby has just started seeing all the colors by around 5 months (fun fact, red being the first primary color babies see), and now it’s on to food and eating. Babies start dappling with pureed foods and holding/licking various solids such as carrots, broccoli, or even a chicken bone. We know more of the food ends up in their bib or on the ground, but imagine the curiosity, surprise and—hopefully—delight!
At 8 - 12 Months
Babies enjoy their own experiments and construct their own food combinations—their culinary building blocks. Using hands is a great way for baby to get comfortable. This is messy for parents to clean up, but wonderful for baby. A confident baby mess is a side effect for baby’s exploration of food and eating.
My older daughter’s first creation at about 9 months was whole wheat bread watered via her sippy cup with cheese cubes (also watered) with mango or apricot. She is now 24 and still enjoys cheese on hearty breads with apricot jam.
Nourishment for babies:
Babies need fats in order to absorb vitamins and develop their brain and other organs. Different cultures have different preferred fats. In India, babies are fed plain yogurt and a bit of ghee (clarified butter). In Japan, Korea, Philippines babies start early with fish and chicken in broth. Other babies are given a bit of extra virgin olive oil. My Bambiri uses ground sunflower seeds, extra virgin olive oil, or sour cream.
Relaxed feeding is great for baby’s relationship to eating and food. Try your best not to stress if your baby doesn’t eat for 8 hours. If your baby shows no interest in eating what you put in front of him/her, don’t keep adding food after food in hopes they’ll eat.
This may sound gross, but before the advent of food processors and blenders: parents pre-chewed the harder but nutritionally important foods for their infants. Some worry about disease but if you aren’t sick your enzymes are great for baby in terms of immunity.
Babies like sugar as did we and all our ancestors. Best to accept this and use fruits (in moderation and organic if possible) to a healthy feeding advantage.
A, B, C, D, F, I
Remember that up to age 2, babies have different nutritional needs.
Vitamin A is for healthy skin and vision
Vitamin B’s (importantly B12) are for red blood cells
Vitamin C is for preventing infections and strengthening tissues, muscles and skin
Calcium is vital for healthy bones and teeth
Vitamin D is for strong teeth and bones
Fat is also needed for fat soluble vitamins (A,E)
Iron is for production of blood and building healthy muscles
Main sources of fat are oils, ghee (clarified butter), full fat yogurt, cheese, seeds (sunflower, pumpkin) and nuts.
Main sources of B vitamins are dairy, chicken, fish, egg yolk.
Healthy and Delicious Food Additions for Baby:
1. Buckwheat or any kind of pancake.
Babies don’t need you to follow a recipe to perfection as long as they like it. I used ½ cup buckwheat flour, ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 ½ cups milk, 2 tablespoons melted butter and 2 eggs. Whisk it all together. Lightly oil a frying pan, heat and make baby and (grown-up) size pancakes. One batch lasts in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
2. Multi grain or whole wheat bread from a local bakery.
I cut up bite size pieces of bread for my girls to dip into whatever else they were eating. This is a great way for a babies to use their hands and experiment with various self-created flavours.
3. Mashed and cubed canned kidney beans.
I drained a can of organic kidney beans and then roughly mashed them with my hands. Kidney beans are mushy yet firm enough to reshape into bite size cubes. Once my daughters could chew and swallow (or I wasn’t afraid anymore that they would choke!) I gave them the whole kidney beans, which they enjoyed eating one by one.
4. Organic chicken
I suggest chicken (organic and ideally the liver) for children 2 and under because it’s a good source of heme iron and vitamin B12. Above the age of two, they can become vegetarian or vegan. Saute the chicken liver in a bit of oil. Chop it up and mix in with some cooked rice.
Our family ate meat once a week and was vegetarian for the rest. My older adult daughter is now a vegetarian and my younger daughter continues the once a week meat diet.
5. French toast
Nothing sophisticated, cut it up into bite size squares and let your baby dip and eat away. The egg and butter (or oil) are great for baby. Whip up one organic egg, dip both sides of slice of bread into it, and cook it on an oiled skillet as you would an omelet.