Baby Food Ideas - 4-18 months
Having a baby involves making a lot of changes in your life - and food is one area that requires a lot of experimentation at first.
When you first experiment with baby food, you'll find your baby isn't very interested in the whole concept - in fact baby is too busy staring in awe at the food or trying to grab it with their hands to pay much attention. And often baby is so surprised at the taste that is so different to the milk they're used to, that they just flat out refuse to eat it. If you need advice on helping your baby eat solids, check out this guide on helping babies eat.
It can be difficult deciding what to feed your baby. As they grow their diet changes - from simple purees all the way up to solid foods. They learn to enjoy different tastes. Keep reading to find out more about foods for your baby as well as tips for easy home cooking for baby and storage of baby food.
Home Made or Shop Bought Food
Of course, when you are pregnant you make yourself all the promises that you'll cook everything for your baby from scratch, use cloth nappies and never let them in your bed at night. But chances are, after a few months with a baby, a lot of your resolutions will fall by the wayside.
Completely Home Made - If you have the time and the energy, this is a great way to go. You know exactly what goes into the food and can make exactly what you need. However if you can't do this, don't stress.
Home Made & Store Bought - A great midway option to make sure your baby gets variety as well as freshly home made food. I personally chose this option as it allows leeway based on your schedule.
Store Bought - If you don't have the time or inclination, this is fine too. If you're worried about ingredients, there are plenty of speciality brands that have carefully chosen pure organic ingredients.
Food Ideas ~ 6+ Months Purees
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and many leading paediatricains strongly recommend holding on on solid foods till at least 6 months of age. Some babies don't even begin to eat properly till 8-10 months and many may go off food when teething or sick. Some medical professionals recommend babies begin their introduction to solid foods at 4 months or younger but this can put the baby at risk of complications both to their unmatured gut and even of things like SIDS.
There is no reason a baby has to have pureed food and baby led weaning (BLW), which involves feeding the baby exactly what the adult eats, is becoming quite popular. Purees are a recent western introduction and aren't usually needed. However some parents feel more comfortable testing their baby with mashed or pureed foods before moving onto other solids.
- Green Beans
- Cooked apple
- Cooked pear
- Baby rice cereal (such as farax) is NOT recommended for babies as it has a very low nutritional value and is basically starch. It also contains arsenic. It heightens the risk of diabetes. The iron supplements are much more difficult for babies to absorb as they are man made. Delayed cord clamping, naturally present iron in breastmilk and iron in natural food is a lot more beneficial for a baby.
Food Ideas ~ 6-10 months Baby Led Weaning/Finger Food
From about 8 months of age, the majority of babies will be on solids. If you've skipped purees and are doing baby led weaning, the following can be begun from 6 months of ages, if baby is showing signs of readiness.
For this stage it's best to stick to large chewy foods that baby can chew on but not bite off, or small cut up chunks of food that baby can chew on.
Roughly sliced foods:
- Celery Sticks
- Zwieback Toast
- Hard Rusks
Other food ideas:
- Custard (test only small amounts of dairy on baby at first.)
- Egg yolk (The white is allergenic and shouldn't be fed to baby till 12 months of age.)
Food ideas ~ 12 months +
From 12 months your baby will be able to eat almost anything an adult eats, including gentle testing with common allergy foods. By this stage you may need to still roughly cut food, but if you've done baby led weaning, your baby may be able to feed themselves the majority of food you eat without an issue. Some great ideas for this age range include:
- Tuna Bake
- Sandwiches, cut into bite sized triangles
- Sliced fruit, cut to easy to hold slices
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