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.

Freshly stewed and pureed apples are a great first baby food.
Freshly stewed and pureed apples are a great first baby food.

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.

Purées:

  • Green Beans
  • Pumpkin
  • Banana
  • Cooked apple
  • Cooked pear

Cereal:

  • 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.

Mashed avocadoes are very versatile and can be mixed with other foods such as pumpkin or banana.
Mashed avocadoes are very versatile and can be mixed with other foods such as pumpkin or banana.
Zwieback or 'twice cooked bread', is a great chewy treat for baby.
Zwieback or 'twice cooked bread', is a great chewy treat for 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:

  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Carrot
  • Potato
  • Tomato

Chewy 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.)
  • Crackers

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
  • Pasta
  • Sandwiches, cut into bite sized triangles
  • Sliced fruit, cut to easy to hold slices

Attributions

Stewed apples by jules:stonesoup

Avocado by BluEyedA73

Zwieback by heffer

Qubies photo thanks to Qubies Website

More by this Author


Comments 16 comments

Vishakha Bajaj profile image

Vishakha Bajaj 3 years ago

Very useful hub.A big thanks for sharing this excellent hub.


Sarah 4 years ago

I have done baby led weaning from 6 months and thought it was the best thing!! I was dreading weaning with all the purees etc until I discovered this. It is a little slower than the 'traditional' method but my little girl is now nine months an will pretty much tackle any food that I put in front of her no matter how big (or small). The risk of chOking is no more than another baby being fed purée food, in fact my little girl can deal with food much better than babies who are much older than her because we have taught her independence and how to trust the signals that her body sends her.

It is the most natural way of weaning.......what would humans have done before food processors and supermarkets??!


sarahs notes 4 years ago

Great ideas! My baby loves pumpkin mixed with a little oatmeal. We're not quite there yet with avocado, lol...


thebookmom profile image

thebookmom 5 years ago from Nebraska

So helpful!


WryLilt profile image

WryLilt 5 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author

Yes Caroline, an 18 month old can have raisins. My daughter had them as young as 12 months. The only thing I would caution you about is maybe chopping them up first. When swallowed whole they swell up in the digestive system and can cause a bit of pain coming out the other end.


Caroline Lennox 5 years ago

can 18 month olds have raisins


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Great and wonderful information for parents and aspiring parents who really want to have healthy and attractive kids.I really enjoyed going through this article.


Avamum profile image

Avamum 5 years ago from Canada

Hi Wrylilt - I agree, this is a useful hub. My 8 month old has 5 teeth now and she loves her solid food! I find that she prefers food with a little substance now, as opposed to the rice cereal that she started with. We have a couple of Nuby Nibblers for her and they are fantastic little things - a rubber handle with a tiny cloth netting "nest" attached that we can fill with apple slices, cantaloupe, or peach slices. She can eat without choking.....


katrinasui profile image

katrinasui 5 years ago

This is a very useful hub for all the mothers who have babies. Thanks for the baby food ideas and tips.


mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

This is a nice little baby food guide, WryLilt. Also some nice, extra tips in the comments. I think a lot of new mothers will find this hub very useful.


divacratus profile image

divacratus 6 years ago from India

Useful tips! Thank you :)


WryLilt profile image

WryLilt 6 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author

BLWF - You'll find that from six months if baby's aren't eating at least something, they often have more trouble sleeping at night since milk just isn't enough for them.

Also, it's important that baby gets enough iron - which is easiest obtained in baby cereals which can be mixed with purees for easy consumption.

As recommended in my guide, it's a good idea to start baby on chewy foods from six months but since they cannot bite off and swallow chewy foods till generally 8-10 months, it's a good idea to give them some food they don't have to work too hard for.

Of course, if your baby loves chewing and hates purees, move onto the chewy foods but remember that a baby who doesn't chew properly can choke on large pieces.

I'm sure some babies are fine eating chewy and chunky foods from a young age but you'll find the majority are better with at least mashed food.


baby led weaning fan 6 years ago

have you read this new book, Baby-Led Weaning? I am reading it now, it is fantastic, it blows a lot of the "traditional myths" out of the water. There does not really need for there to be a pureed, spoon-fed stage at all! Wheeeeee!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

This is great information for parents whose babies are making their transitions from milk to solid foods.

We always took our cues from the baby. At 4-6 months we offered cereals and pureed foods, and if she wanted them, she had them. If not, we stepped back.

When she was old enough to sit in a highchair and watch the goings-on at the table and also expressed an interest in what everybody else was eating, we let her try our table food which we had pureed or blended, along with the finger foods that are appropriate at that age.

We didn't have the Qubies; we made do with old-fashioned freezer ice cube trays. I can still remember the baggies of frozen cubes of homemade applesauce, pureed peaches and nectarines, and even moussaka, ready for warming and eating.

Jarred baby foods are absolutely necessary for some families, and we used those, too, but there's nothing like doing it yourself. After all, home-prepped foods are the foods we older folks eat at the table; baby likes to try them too.


richtwf profile image

richtwf 6 years ago

Enjoyed reading your great ideas for feeding baby and they will come in handy when my wife and I have our first child. I don't why but these days I seem to be thinking about birth and life - maybe it's all the hubs I'm writing about (life and love and time)! Just yesterday I wrote a poem about new entries coming into the world. Must be something to do with all this hubbing! Anyway thanks for enduring my ramblings - and very useful hub too!


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Oh WOW these are great and useful baby food ideas and tips. I especially like how healthy and fresh these baby food ideas are. Good for baby!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working