(KUTV) — Whether it’s organic vs. non-organic or homemade vs. store bought, there are many options when introducing solid foods to your baby.
Traditionally, rice cereal has been the first food for many babies.
“Now there are so many options out there, and it’s not really the gold standard anymore,” says Amelia McBride, MS, RDN, an outpatient dietitian with Primary Children’s Services at Riverton Hospital.
McBride recommends starting with a single-ingredient, bland-flavored puree.
“That’s going to be more along the lines of your vegetables – whether it’s a sweet potato, peas, carrots, green beans – whatever you have or whatever you want to do,” McBride says.
Depending on your preference, you can buy baby foods from the store or make some right at home. In terms of nutritional profile, both options are going to be the same.
The grocery store is convenient and allows parents to keep food at room temperature in their pantry. On the other hand, making it at home lets parents know exactly what is in their child’s food.
Whether it’s food at the store or at home, parents will need to choose between organic or non-organic.
“The difference between organic and non-organic is pesticides exposure," McBride said. "A study done in 2012 indicated that baby foods were not exceeding the pesticide exposure of what’s allowed by the EPA."
In terms of nutrition for your baby, there is no difference. If cost is a concern, a downfall of organic is that it is more expensive.
McBride has a few additional tips when it comes to solid foods for your baby:
- If you are making baby food at home:
o Homemade baby food will hold for 24-48 hours in the fridge
o You can make a big batch and put it in the freezer. McBride recommends using ice cube trays so you can thaw one serving at a time.
o If the consistency isn’t what you want, try adding some breastmilk or formula to make it thinner.
o Be sure to follow food safety standards such as washing your hands and food.
- Food pouches are convenient but do not allow a child to practice their motor skills. McBride recommends only using them while on-the-go.
- As your child gets older and is closer to eating table food, try putting whatever the family is eating in a blender or food processer to change the consistency. This will make the food easier for a young child to eat.
- Make bites age appropriate and watch for choking hazards such as grapes and hotdogs.
- Have fun! Mealtime can be stressful for both parents and kids. Allow children to touch, smell, and play with food. Let them get messy. Sensory exposure is all part of the eating process.
Children will likely start eating solid foods sometime between 4-6 months old. Before starting your baby on solid foods, be sure to check with your pediatrician to make sure your child is developmentally ready.