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Raising a baby requires a lot of time, effort, and responsibility. There are a great many things you must do in order to raise a child up correctly. One of the most important things you must do for a baby is feed him or her the right foods. You can feed any food to a baby with the right equipment. But what are the right foods? Here are the top 10 best foods for babies.
1. Breast Milk
While you can certainly give your baby specially designed formula, there is no better food for a growing baby than breast milk. Breast milk has every nutrient a baby needs. Whereas cow’s milk and other mammals’ milk is low in iron, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and other nutrients, human breast milk provides all of these nutrients in spades. Formula just quite simply doesn’t measure up to breast milk. It’s not as easy to digest, and it’s not as helpful for the immune system.
Bananas are a great source of potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, calcium, and iron for your young one. The fruit can be served to small children in a number of ways. Babies with teeth can eat bananas in slices. Younger babies without teeth would be better suited by processed bananas. A suggestion is to make a puree out of bananas and other fruits. This will allow your child to consume the food easily and safely.
Filled with healthy monounsaturated fats, avocados are terrific foods for a growing baby’s brain development. These fruits have a smooth, buttery consistency that is very easy for a young child to swallow. In addition, they’re very easy to prepare. A good idea is to mix them with some breast milk, creating a puree that a toothless baby can handle with ease. You can also use a baby food processor.
4. Red Meat
High in iron, zinc, and protein, red meat should be one of the first solid foods you ever feed your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends first feeding your child red meat at 4 to 6 months old. To serve meat to your child successfully, try pureeing it to a thin, liquid consistency. This will make it much easier to eat, and will also eliminate the chance of choking, keeping your child completely safe while he or she eats.
Another terrific fruit to feed your baby is blueberries. Blueberries are high in antioxidants, and also contain high doses of fiber, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Because of their small size, they are easy to take with you anywhere, allowing you always to have a snack at the ready. When feeding blueberries to your child, you can either serve them whole, or puree them with other foods such as bananas, pears, yogurt, and more.
While they aren’t a good food to feed newborns, Cheerios are excellent snacks for children who are 9 months or older. High in fiber, they can be taken anywhere with little to no effort involved. Throw them in your purse or diaper bag so that you can give them to your child whenever he or she is hungry.
7. Sweet Potatoes
Delicious and nutritious, sweet potatoes are excellent sources of Vitamin A, potassium, Vitamin E, calcium, and folate. When feeding them to a baby, it’s best that they are pureed. This is best done with breast milk, but can also be done with yogurt, lentils, rice, raisins, and a variety of other foods. The ideal time to start serving sweet potatoes to your child is when he or she is about 10 months old.
8. Cooked Peas
Great for a first vegetable, cooked peas are rich in fiber and other important nutrients. Like all foods, peas are best pureed for babies. To puree peas, simply put them in a processor and wait for them to turn to a more liquid consistency. This is the ideal preparation for children under 10 months. For children over 10 months, try mashing the peas with a wooden spoon. This will make them a little chunkier, and a little more similar to whole, physical foods.
9. Shredded Chicken
Pediatricians recommend that you begin to feed your child chicken at some point between 8 and 10 months old. Chicken is high in protein, iron, and a number of other nutrients, and is one of the more easy foods for babies to digest. You can either serve shredded chicken to your child as is, or you can mix it in with other sliced vegetables. It’s best prepared inside of a crock pot.
An excellent source of dairy containing quite a few valuable nutrients, yogurt is a food that you can start giving to your child at 4 to 6 months. Yogurt can be served either plan or mixed with a variety of different foods. Some ideas are to mix it with blueberries, bananas, peaches, or even vegetables. However, before serving yogurt to your child, you should ensure that he or she is not lactose intolerant.
Image Courtesy of Flickr User Carlos