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When Can My Baby Eat...

Guidelines for Giving Baby Food

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It was not too long ago that complicated feeding charts were used to guide parents in when their baby could have certain foods. However, new research has shown that parents do not need to focus so much on what foods can be introduced at what age.

While the American Academy of Pediatrics maintains waiting until 4 to 6 months to introduce solids foods, the door has opened widely on the kinds of foods your baby can have during the first year. Below are suggested guidelines for certain baby foods with links to serving suggestions for babies. As always, talk with your pediatrician about his insights on when your baby can eat these foods.

1. Yogurt

Depending on your pediatrician, he might recommend starting yogurt between 6 to 12 months of age. Be sure you give your baby yogurt made from whole milk yogurts as the added nutrition is excellent for her quickly growing body. Read on to find out tips for feeding yogurt, how to save money, and which brands of yogurt is the best for your baby.

2. Cheese

Depending on your doctor's advice, you may find that starting cheeses between 8-10 months is ideal for your baby. Many babies start out better with certain types of mild cheeses, rather than cheeses with fuller flavors or different textures. Once again, stick with cheeses made from whole milk, and do be mindful to avoid unpasteurized or uncultured cheeses.

See link for more details for recommendations on types of cheeses and serving suggestions.

3. Eggs

When I had my first child several years ago, I had been advised to give a long delay before giving my baby eggs. And back then, it was suggested that I could give my baby egg yolks sooner than I could give her egg whites. How complicated!

However, those new studies have found that there is not a need to delay the introduction of cooked eggs. See link for About.com's Food Allergies Guide explanation on how early you can introduce eggs and how the risk for egg allergy can increase with longer delayed starts.

4. Nuts and Nut Products

It is likely that you are going to read a good deal of conflicting advice when it comes to giving your baby nuts and nut products. With so much attention placed upon nut allergies in recent years, new medical studies on nut allergies are being released regularly and the standards have been changing. Bottom line: when it comes to giving your baby nuts or nut products, you definitely need to see what your doctor suggests from your baby's unique health and development needs.

Depending on what he suggests, the range could be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Do keep in mind that nuts and nut butters can be a choking hazard. If you do offer your baby nuts, make sure your baby is capable of chewing the pieces safely. Also, be mindful that thick amounts of peanut butter can be hard to swallow. If you do use nut butters, keep it to a thin smear!

5. Honey

So while many foods used to be on the no-no list for babies are now considered safe, honey is not one of them. Due to a concern with infant botulism, honey and any products which contain honey are not recommended for babies until after 1 year of age. Read on to read more about the concern of giving your baby honey.

6. Berries

Berries also used to be a taboo food before on year, but many pediatricians are saying they could be introduced earlier- provided no history or signs of food allergies have been seen. When you introduce berries, be watchful for signs of a food allergy.

Other points to keep in mind:

  • Berries can be a choking hazard. If you do choose to offer your baby berries, be sure to cut them in halves or quarters depending on the size of the berry.
  • Many berries, particularly strawberries, are grown with the use of pesticides. If this is a concern for you, you may prefer to give your baby organically grown berries.

7. Fish

For the longest time, it was recommended that parents delay fish to no sooner than 1 year to 3 years of age, depending on whether it was fish or shellfish being offered. Now research is indicating that babies can have fish soon after they start solids. Parents do need to be particular about what kinds of fish they offer and how the fish is prepared, however. See link for more details on selecting and preparing fish for your baby.
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