At around 6 months old, Baby is probably about the right age to join you in the wonderful world of solid food, but that doesn’t mean that he is ready for a five-course meal. It also doesn’t mean he is stuck eating nothing but pre-packaged, jarred baby food until he has a full set of teeth. Some foods are more baby-friendly than others, even if they’re technically ‘adult’ foods.
Avocados make a great ingredient in homemade baby food when they’re mashed up, but they’re also a great snack for Baby all on their own. Avocados are packed with potassium, vitamin K, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, and omega-3s, but they also have the most protein contained in anything that’s technically a fruit. And the fact that they’re naturally squishy and creamy and smooth, instead of needing to be boiled to get that way, makes them an ideal baby food.
- Sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are mild enough – and, yes, sweet enough – to appeal to Baby’s sweet tooth (or lack-of-tooth), but they’re deceptively vitamin-packed. They’re full of all the vitamin A Baby could need, and they’re not a bad source of fiber or vitamin C, either. They’re great as soft chunks for Baby to gum, and just as good as a solid base for a more complex homemade baby food.
Yogurt may be packed with calcium, brimming with live cultures that could help boost Baby’s immune system, and gentle on the digestive systems of children with lactose sensitivities, but its real appeal for Baby is its texture. The coagulated texture of yogurt is ideal for staying on shallow, rounded baby spoons, even when your little mealtime explorer starts making some more radical movements. Once Baby is at least 6 months old, yogurt is a great early food option.
Lentils aren’t just for vegetarians, though they’re not bad for that either. Lentils are packed full of both protein and iron, and when they’re cooked, they’re the perfect squishy, mushy texture to help Baby start to get used to textured food, as he starts to transition away from purees. And if they is still in his puree phase, they’re also easy to puree or mash.
- Mandarin oranges
If you and Baby are embarking on a self-feeding adventure, it’s probably a good idea to brace yourself for things to get a little messy. To save yourself a lot of cleaning trouble, try choosing finger-feeding-friendly foods for his earliest meals. Mandarin orange slices cut down to the right size are definitely a good place to start – they’re easy to grip, not so easy to smear, and Baby may get a little sticky eating them, but that’s probably the worst of it. They’re also a great source of vitamin C and vitamin A.