Thursday, March 4, 2010

Food For Older Babies

Question: What can I feed older babies who have outgrown baby food but can't really handle our spicy or tough to chew meals?

Answer:  older babies around 9 to 10 months can start having what you're having for meals... usually.  Be careful to make sure the food is soft and can be mashed up with their gums, and small enough that they can swallow it whole, which they'll probably do some of the time, without choking.  One thing I like to do for a quick and easy baby-friendly carb is to cook up a pot of brown rice (LOADED with pottasium, and better for you than white rice), and dump in a can of reduced sodium cream of mushroom/chicken soup.  Give it a good stir and divide it into freezer bags that you can thaw out when you need a little something for him or her.

When you've got it thawed out, add a vegetable of your choice.  I prefer canned vegetables for babies who are new to the whole table food thing because they are softer and easy for them to gum up.

Serve with some soft fruit cut into small pieces.  I like bananas (quartered down the length of the banana before removing it completely from the peel, then sliced up), tomatoes, canned pears or peaches (avoid heavy syrup, feel free to rinse any syrup off) mandarin oranges (beware, the poop will be awful), anything soft.

Another option is to use macaroni noodles with the soups. You can throw in some shredded cheese too.  Other ideas for older babies are crackers, regular cheerios, yogurt, cut up spaghetti noodles, diced toast, ground beef/turkey/chicken, soft foods with low sugar and low sodium.  Remember, honey is dangerous and can cause botulism.  You should not give them honey until they are at least one year old.  When it comes time to wean them off of formula or breastmilk, they should drink whole milk.  Our pediatricians tell us the extra (healthy) fat in whole milk is good for their brain development, and they should stick with it until they turn two, at which point they can switch to skim (or 1% or 2%). 

Check back tomorrow!
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