Feeding the 6 month old
Here are some ways to help baby develop good eating habits:
- Provide a pleasant, relaxed mealtime.
- Feed him with the rest of the family. Baby will feel like he belongs, and can see family members eating different foods.
- Don't make her eat more than she wants to eat. Baby's appetite will vary from day to day. Don't make meals a battleground.
- Give foods from the basic food groups for meals and snacks.
- Plain fruits and meats are more economical and nutritious than cobblers or vegetable-meat combinations. Read baby-food labels.
- Use colorful foods to make eating more fun.
- Slowly introduce coarser textures to help chewing skills.
- Introduce a variety of foods, one at a time. By the time baby is two, she should be eating some foods from each of the Food Guide Pyramid groups: grains; vegetables; fruits; the milk, yogurt, and cheese group; and the meat, fish, poultry, dry beans and eggs group.
Most babies are ready for three meals a day plus snacks and breast milk or formula sometime after 6 months of age. Let baby's hunger be your guide.
If you are breastfeeding, we recommend you continue for at least the first year. If your baby has been introduced to eating baby cereal and pureed vegetables, you can start giving him soft mashed fruits such as bananas, peaches, apricots, prunes, plums, pears, or applesauce. Start out slowly, with one new mashed fruit at a time.
For finger foods try these foods: crackers; dry cereals like Kix or Cheerios; pieces of tortilla; mild cheese cubes or strips; cooked noodles or rice; pieces of soft-cooked vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, peas, or zucchini; or pieces of soft peeled fruit such as bananas, peaches, pears, or melon with no seeds. Give just a few bites at a time - no more than you're willing to pick up off the floor.
Some foods can easily slip into a child's throat and cause choking. Don't give foods that are small and hard, round, or slippery. These include peanuts, raisins, whole grapes, hard candies, popcorn, raw carrots, and circles of hot dogs. Cut hot dogs the long way for children under 4 years old. Never let a child walk or run with food in her mouth. Also, don't let your baby lie on her back with food in her mouth.