Introducing New Foods to Your Baby
Now into her seventh month, your baby is learning to eat solid food and enjoy new flavors and textures. You may be wondering what she should be eating, how much and even how often. Here’s a guide to help you make sure she’s getting the nutrients she needs, while keeping her little belly full.
What to feed
Now is the time to introduce your little one to as many flavors and textures as possible, so that she’ll grow up to enjoy lots of healthy foods. Introduce new foods one at a time, a couple of days apart, to watch for signs of allergic reactions. Iron is important for a breast-fed baby, so look for ways to incorporate iron-rich foods such as fortified cereals, meats and dark leafy greens like spinach. Otherwise, have fun watching your baby try a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, meats, legumes, eggs—whatever you can mash or puree into a baby-safe meal. And, remember that just because a baby doesn’t like a food the first time (or the first several times) doesn’t mean that they never will. Sometimes it takes 10 to 15 exposures over time for a child to accept a new food.
What not to feed
Your 7-month-old isn’t ready for most dairy foods (other than plain yogurt and small amounts of cheese). Honey is also a no-no until her first birthday, and sugary foods and drinks are best left at the grocery store. Other than that, watch out for choking hazards like large pieces of food, round foods (sliced hotdogs, grapes) and sticky foods (globs of peanut butter, melty cheese).
How much and how often
Try to have sit-down family meals when possible, so your baby can learn good eating habits and social skills early. Snacks should be given whenever baby shows signs of being hungry. Put a good variety of food on her plate (once she’s tried multiple foods), but not too much, and banish the clean-plate club from your table. Once she loses interest in eating, it’s time to end the meal. Encouraging a young child to eat beyond the point when she feels full will only lead to overeating in the future.