Your baby probably loves fruit juice as most babies do, but too much juice isn’t good for your baby and it may very well end up replacing breast milk, formula or other foods that can provide needed nutrition for your baby. Offer your baby breast milk or formula first, then water. Limit the amount of juice to only 4 ounces a day. Any more juice may decrease the amount of times your baby nurses or bottle-feeds. If your baby loves juice and does not seem satisfied with 4 ounces, try diluting the juice with some water.
It is a good source of vitamin C, although a baby that is still nursing or bottle-feeding gets enough vitamin C to meet the daily requirements. Juice, like other foods, should be added to your baby’s diet slowly. When adding any kind of juice, watch for negative reactions such as rashes or diarrhea. Some babies prefer fluids to solids. If you offer your baby too many fluids, your baby may not be willing to try solids. In general, offer fluids toward the end of the meal and between meals. Your baby may enjoy a little bit of juice after eating cereal. The vitamin C in juice helps your baby absorb iron.
Iron is an important nutrient in your baby’s diet. Babies whose diet includes only breast milk get an adequate amount of iron. Babies drinking formula should be fed iron-fortified formula. When cereal and solid foods are added to your baby’s diet, your baby cannot use the iron in the breast milk or formula as efficiently. For this reason, choose an iron-fortified cereal for your baby in addition to breast milk or formula to ensure that your baby is getting the iron that he or she needs.
Offer new solid foods at the rate of one new food a week. Watch for any signs of allergies, such as diarrhea or rashes. If your baby refuses a new food, try that food again later. Your baby’s tastes are changing and developing.
Consistency–One of the most important considerations at this age is offering your baby a food that is appropriate to your baby’s development. Any solid food should be tender and soft enough also easy enough to squash with your fingers. If you want to serve your baby the same food that the rest of the family is eating, try overcooking, finely chopping, or using a baby-food grinder. Not all table foods can be prepared to be small or soft enough for your baby to eat. Mashed potatoes and cooked carrots are good choices. Table foods that are stringy, such as celery, broccoli, squash, and asparagus, can cause choking. By a year, your baby can probably handle most small, tender table foods.
Meats– Most babies that are younger than a year have trouble eating meats. Many parents choose not to offer meats until the baby can chew thoroughly enough to manage them. Others chose to feed their babies commercial meats that are prepared especially for babies. If your baby is eating a wide variety of foods and nursing or bottle-feeding, meat is not a necessity during the first year. When you do want to offer “baby food” meat, choose plain, unseasoned meats. “Real” meats (including poultry and fish with no bones) can be chopped and pureed. These may seem a little thick for your baby, but they can be mixed with a little breast milk or formula. At first, expect your baby to eat only 1 teaspoon of meat a day. By a year, your baby may be eating as much as 1 or 2 tablespoons a day. Baby food “dinners,” which combine meat and vegetable in the same serving do not offer as much protein and iron as plain meat served with a plain vegetable. Offering a little meat, vegetable and fruit at the same meal will be nutritionally better for your baby.
Seasoning–If you taste your baby’s food, you might decide it’s a bit bland. Your baby doesn’t know the difference. He or she isn’t use to added salt and sugar, it tastes just right. Seasoning your baby’s food is not necessary. Studies have not proved that an early introduction of salt increases the risk of high blood pressure, but the question of a possible relationship between the two is enough to advise caution. Adding sugar won’t allow your baby to enjoy the natural sweetness of food. It may also start a habit that will be difficult to break.
Amounts–During these months, many parents become concerned that their babies aren’t eating enough. The amount your baby eats at a meal may seem very small. The typical meal for a year old includes 1 tablespoon of each food group. That menu may translate into a tablespoon of cooked carrots, two bites of rice, a taste of meat and a couple bites of a pear. During the first few months of your baby’s life, you concentrated on watching your baby for signs of hunger, thirst, and cues that your baby’s hunger was satisfied. Keep watching these signs rather than the amount of food still left in the jar or on the plate. Good eating habits begin now. Teaching your baby to clean the last bits of food off a plate should not be a goal. Coaxing your baby to eat more, or playing tricks to get your baby to eat more, does not allow your baby to stop eating when he or she is full. By watching your baby for cues of being hungry or full, you can help your child learn that mealtime is a time to satisfy hunger.
***Foods that might cause choking***
Any food that will not soften or dissolve easily in your baby’s mouth or cannot be swallowed whole is a choking hazard. Babies are most likely to choke on:
-Grapes, berries or raisins
-Raw or undercooked vegetables
-Candy and gum
-Potato chips and popcorn
-Peanut butter (on a spoon)
-Hot dogs and luncheon meats, unless cut into lengthwise strips
***A choking baby can’t make any sounds. The baby’s face will turn bright red, then blue. Be prepared to help your baby!