Before you go grocery shopping for baby food, decide whether you will feed your baby homemade baby food or commercially prepared baby food. Your decision may be based on your lifestyle and your concerns about baby foods. You may want to use both homemade and commercially prepared foods.
Commercial baby food. Ready-to-eat baby food from jars is very convenient; it’s portable, no fuss, and foods come in a wide variety of flavors. These baby foods have been specially prepared for babies and tested for nutritional value. Foods are also prepared according to baby’s age. Always start with foods for beginners before giving your baby foods made for toddlers. Start off with foods containing “single fruits or vegetables” before giving him “mixed fruits” or “mixed vegetables.”
Organic baby foods are available in many grocery and health food stores. Parents who are concerned about foods grown with chemicals may want to offer their baby organically grown foods. But these foods often cost much more than standard prepared baby foods.
If you use commercial baby foods:
• Store unopened jars at room temperature; if the vacuum seal pops up before you open the jar for the first time, throw out that jar of food — the food may not be safe
• When you’re ready to open the jar, make sure the “use by” date has not expired
• As you open the jar, the center of the lid should pop up; a sign that the seal is good and the food is safe
• Avoid feeding your baby from the jar; instead, remove as much food as you think your baby will eat
• Once the jar is open, put the leftovers in the refrigerator right away. Keep leftovers for only a day or 2.
More About Starting Your Baby on Solids Foods
• When should I offer solid foods and what should those foods be?
• Is Your Baby Ready to Try Solid Foods?
• Changes in Bowel Movements
• Feeding Himself
• Shopping For Baby’s Food
• Your Baby’s Menu
• Food Supplements
• Food Allergy or Food Intolerance?
• Preventing Poisoning and Choking
Feeding Tips for Month 7
Once your baby gets used to cereal, offer him strained baby foods. Introduce one new food every 2 or 3 days to make sure your baby tolerates each food well. The most likely foods to cause reactions are cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, chocolate, nuts, shellfish, corn, soy, peas, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and strawberries.
Start with yellow and green vegetables such as carrots, peas, and squash. Start with fruits such as bananas, applesauce, pears, and peaches. When your baby first begins eating solid foods, he will probably eat 2 to 3 tablespoons at a meal. Older babies may eat a full jar of a single food. Feed your baby from a dish rather than the jar so that leftover food in the jar can be kept in the refrigerator.
Juices are usually started at about 6 months of age. Juices help your baby absorb the iron from his cereal. Too much juice can cause diarrhea. Start with half water and half apple juice first. Offer orange and grapefruit juices when he is a little older.