Often your baby gives the signal that he/she wants to move on to baby food. The baby does this by showing interest in the food of the grown ups, often trying to reach to their plate and put something of this exciting stuff into his/her mouth. This is a sure sign that you can start offering your baby solid food for the first time.
Important: To prevent choking, your baby must be able to sit by him or herself or at least manage to keep upright for a while with support ‒ without slumping down!
No matter whether you cook baby food yourself or buy it, your baby will be provided with all important nutrients in both cases. However, it is nicer and less expensive if you prepare the baby food yourself. This enables you to directly select the ingredients and vary the composition ‒ and you also know exactly what the meal contains.
And it is not as time-consuming as you may imagine, as relatively few ingredients are required and producing the meal is very easy. It is best to prepare a larger amount and to freeze this in portions.
By the way, children who are not fed with industrially produced baby food demonstrate a higher tolerance to foodstuffs later on.
In the beginning: Vegetable and potato purée
Start with a simple vegetable and potato puree, and offer your baby only one new ingredient per week. After all, your baby needs to first get used to solid meals and it also takes a little time for the digestive system to adapt.
Later on, you can vary the food you offer every three to four days and even add meat or fish.
One month after starting with solids: Milk and baby cereal
Only give your child small amounts of cow's milk during the first year. Larger quantities still put too much of a strain on your baby’s kidneys. You should thus be cautious with dairy products such as yoghurt, cottage cheese or milk pudding.
It is best to use your own breast milk or formula milk for preparing the milk and baby cereal.
Towards the end of your baby’s first year, you can replace the milk and baby cereal with a bread-based meal. This is the earliest point at which your child can then drink pure cow's milk.
Two months after starting with solids: Baby cereal and fruit
Baby cereal with fruit is suitable as a third solid meal. Up until the end of the first year, it would be good if three pureed meals and two milk-based baby cereal dishes were on the menu.
- Important: It is taboo to sweeten your baby’s food with honey or maple syrup! The fructose contained in the fruit or fruit juice provides the food with enough sweetness anyway.
Both honey and maple syrup may contain germs which generate poisons in your baby’s bowels, leading to infant botulism. These block the muscles and can lead to complete muscle paralysis. In older children and adults, the intestinal flora prevents the formation of this poison.
- In the beginning, your baby will only want to eat very small amounts of baby food. It is thus a good idea to fill the cooked baby food into ice-cube trays prior to freezing.
- You should sometimes replace the meat in the baby food with fish, such as salmon fillet. But ensure that there are absolutely no bones anywhere in the fish!
- The water used for preparing baby food does not need to be boiled in advance. Take normal tap water. However, be sure to let the water run for a bit before using it.