At 4-6 months, you start with single grain cereals, beginning with rice cereal and transitioning to oatmeal. These are fortified with iron and are mixed with baby for- mula or breast milk. It may taste horrible to you but babies love it. It does not need to be sweetened with sugar or any other kind of baby food, especially in the begin- ning.
At 6-8 months, you can begin to give your baby strained or pureed fruits such as prunes, applesauce, pears, or bananas. All food should be organically grown, cooked and pureed with a blender or mashed with a masher. It should be watery at first, until the baby tolerated thicker foods.
7-8 months is a good time to give your baby pureed or strained organic vegetables like carrots, squash, peas, potatoes and avocados. All vegetables should be organ- ically grown and washed. They can be baked, boiled or steamed until soft and then pureed with a blender or food processor. You can make it more liquid by adding breast milk, water or baby formula. The food can be thicker as your child grows. At 7-8 months, your baby needs protein. This means cutting up or pureeing small pieces of meat like chicken, turkey, boneless fish, or beans like black beans, red beans or pinto beans.
At 8-10 months, you can get away with mashing organic fruits and vegetables. The
food doesn’t have to be pureed anymore but can simply be mashed until soft. Baby should have some teeth by now but if he doesn’t, he can chew with his gums. At 8-10 months, you can use oat cereal pieces and other pieces of finger food. The finger food must be cut up so your baby can swallow it without choking. Teething crackers are good as are small pieces of whole grain pasta.
At 10-12 months, the baby can begin eating the same food you are eating as long as it is cut up in the proper chunks so the baby can easily chew and swallow it. Watch how your baby chews to make sure he or she is chewing and swallowing ade- quately.
Like you, your baby will have certain dietary needs and certain caloric needs. As long as you keep within certain guidelines and feed your child the foods he or she can tolerate and consume, your baby should have a healthy diet. Once you know your baby doesn’t have an allergy to a food, you can give the baby a variety of foods—even 2-3 different foods per meal. Your baby will learn to love the variety and will get more nutrients out of a varied diet.