Once your brave little one is ready to take the leap from purees to finger foods, it's time to switch up your grocery store and kitchen prep routines. Follow this smart advice for easing the transition, and click through to see some of the best fresh, frozen, and on-the-go solid starter foods for your hungry little one!
Graduating from breast milk and formula to solids is a major milestone in a baby's first year. If your little one is ready to make the leap, throw away your preconceived notions that baby's first foods have to be monotonous and dull. These 15 recipes incorporate unexpected flavors and ingredients to make the early days of eating a whole lot more fun!
Here's some food for thought — a new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 40 percent of babies are being fed solids at least two months before the American Academy of Pediatrics's recommended age of 6 months, according to The New York Times. Nine percent of mothers reported starting their children on solids as early as 4 weeks.
For the past 20 years, the AAP advised mothers to wait until a baby was 4 months of age to introduce solids, and last year, encouraged by the health benefits of breast milk, they raised that age to 6 months. Parents' reasons for starting their babies on solids at a younger age included not being aware of the recommendations or finding them to be hard to follow.
"When a baby is ready to start eating food, he will put his hands in his mouth, and you will see him actually making chewing motions," Dr. TJ Gold of Brooklyn-based Tribeca Pediatrics told The New York Times. "At 2, 3 months, they can't even hold their head up well, and they can't sit," he added, inferring that it could be dangerous to introduce solids at such a young age.
Gold also stated that the consumption of solid food leading to a better night's sleep was nothing more than a myth, and should not be a factor in introducing real food to a baby before 6 months.
Recycling's great, but upcycling is both fun and productive! Baby food pouches may be slowly overtaking traditional glass jars when it comes to lil ones' pureed food, but that doesn't mean the ubiquitous jars aren't taking up precious space on mama's countertop. Before dumping them in the recycle bin, check out some interesting ways the jars can live a second life — your counter and the environment will thank you!
The temperature doesn't have to be pushing the 100-degree mark to be thinking about popsicles. As any parent of a teething tot can attest, ice-cold pops can be a lifesaver any time of year. If you're already making your lil one her own baby food, homemade fruit and veggie pops are just another way to use your purees, and a great way to introduce new tastes. Simply add the mixtures to your favorite popsicle mold — we're partial to Annabel Karmel's Fill and Freeze Puree Pops — for a quick (and healthy) teething remedy. Not sure which flavor combinations might work well together? Check out these five unique baby food popsicle recipes. From sweet creamed corn to strawberry banana yogurt, these pops are sure to please year round.
If you haven't jumped on the homemade baby food bandwagon, it's not too late. For many mamas, the idea of buying, steaming, chopping, and mashing fruits, veggies, and proteins sounds intimidating, especially when jars and squeeze packs are easy to grab as you run through the grocery store. But we're here to tell you that making it yourself is easier than you think — and a lot less expensive too. All it takes is a little preplanning and a few tools that you probably already have around the kitchen. Our handy guide will put you on the path to creating your very own baby café in the comfort of your own home.
We've been bitten by the baby food pouch bug! Lighter, easier to recycle, and available in more interesting flavors than traditional baby food jars, squeezable baby food has quickly taken over the shelves at our favorite stores. But until recently, the squeezable trend didn't have room for homemade baby food advocates. That is until now. Over the past few months, we've seen an onslaught of packages designed to be filled with purees mama's whipped up (literally) at home. Check out six options that redefine the concept of make and take when it comes to homemade baby food.
In the Japanese culture, cooking is a thoughtful process that's executed with careful intention. In addition to combining ingredients to appeal to the sense of taste, food is meant to stimulate the brain, eyes, and mouth simultaneously. With that in mind, Mika Shino developed Smart Bites for Baby — 300 recipes designed to make mealtime a nutritious, mentally stimulating, and fun experience for babies and toddlers.
Utilizing a range of textures, colors, and flavors, Shino's recipes include foods that are proven to promote brain development — think fish, soy, nuts, berries, sesame, and more. Smart Bites for Baby is organized by age, making it easy for kitchen-savvy parents to know when to introduce each recipe.
We were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at three of the inventive recipes in Shino's book: creamy orzo with crabmeat, coconut curry soup, and chocolate sesame cupcakes. Check them out, try them on your tots, and let us know what you (and your little ones) think!
Finger foods are the gateway to self-feeding and the first step toward independence at the dinner table. Kiddie chef extraordinaire Annabel Karmel cooks up all kinds of yummy, family-friendly meals, but the first step is easing your child's transition to solid foods. Here, Karmel provides us with tips and tricks for introducing finger foods to hungry (and grabby) tots.
Starting grains with your baby doesn't have to be bland. Add some flavor to your lil one's diet with this simple and tasty recipe. If you've never cooked quinoa before, don't worry — it's easier than you think. Found in most grocery stores, quinoa is packed with everything good for developing bodies and brains. The small, round grain is high in protein and antioxidants, perfect for growing babes. Quinoa also has a slight crunch, making this baby-food blend perfect for teething tots!