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What Foods Are Good for My Child to Eat?
Whether you’re breastfeeding, formula feeding, or carefully choosing what baby food to give them, you care deeply about their nutrition, and Yumi is here to help!
What Foods are Good for My Child to Eat?
Your baby’s nutrition during the first two years of their life is a vital factor to their development and growth. What you eat while pregnant and what your baby eats until age 2 helps determine their health and nutrition for the rest of their lives. Even things like taste preferences and a sweet spot for sugar are set during this time.
So, it’s important to make sure your baby gets the nutrients they need to thrive now and set the stage for their future!
This may make you feel a little overwhelmed, but don’t worry! There is a world of resources to help you make sure your baby gets the nutrition they need. In fact, that’s why we do what we do here at Yumi.
We care about cultivating fresh, organic food that’s packed full of the nutrients your baby needs, without any of the unnecessary ingredients or additives. We believe every bite counts!
In this guide, we’ve broken down food categories and have come up with the best foods for your child to eat, as well as some to avoid!
For the first 6 months of your baby’s life, they rely on you for their nutrition. And guess what, mommas? You give it to them! Every nutrient they need during the first 6 months of life can be found in breastmilk. Even once you begin introducing solids to your baby’s diet, they still rely on breastfeeding for much of their nutrition!
Breastfeeding provides your little one with iron, proteins, vitamins, fats, and carbohydrates, as well as all the hydration they need! There are also numerous benefits for you and your baby when you breastfeed.
But remember, fed is best and there are many great formula options.
As you introduce solids into your baby’s diet, one of the most important foods to start with are vegetables! Vegetables give your baby vitamins, minerals, fiber, and tons of other good stuff that help them grow and thrive.
Vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts can even help counteract heavy metals found in soil, water, and some baby foods.
Here are some of the best vegetables to start with!
- Brussels Sprouts
- Beets are packed with nutrients and
- Sweet Potatoes
When you do start introducing veggies, a good rule of thumb is to aim for variety. Your baby needs a balanced diet full of different colors, textures, and tastes, so don’t be afraid to mix up flavors and feed your baby the rainbow.
Whole fruits are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for your baby! They’re also rich in fiber and can help with digestion and tummy relief if your little one experiences constipation or digestion troubles.
Here are some of our favorite fruits to give our babies!
- Dragon Fruit
Whole grains are an essential part of your baby’s diet as they provide them with iron!
While your little one relies on breastfeeding and the iron stores in their body from birth to 6 months of age, they run out when they begin eating solid foods. For this reason, it’s especially important to ensure your baby is eating iron-rich whole grains!
Here are some of the best grains for your baby to be eating!
Quinoa became a popular superfood in America starting in 2014. Health foods have used quinoa to replace other flours and grains such as rice, and the health benefits have proved too large to ignore!
Our bodies need 20 amino acids to build proteins and carry out important functions in our bodies. Quinoa contains every single one! Quinoa is gluten free, high in folate, manganese, and phosphorous, and promotes bone health, skin health, and digestive health.
Not only is quinoa a great way to provide your baby with the essential nutrients they need, but research also shows that quinoa can help protect against heavy metals.
You can begin to introduce quinoa into your baby’s diet as soon as 6-8 months. Try our Squash Quinoa Pinchable Combo to start out with!
Oats are another great grain for your baby! They provide fiber and nutrients to help with digestion and growth. As a bonus—cooking with oats can be pretty fun. There are tons of simple recipes packed with nutritious ingredients to cook from home. Try making these Banana and Oat Pancakes with your little one for some sweet bonding and just plain fun!
Meats and poultry such as turkey, beef, chicken, and fish are great sources of iron, iodide, zinc, vitamins, and fatty acids! While Yumi is veggie-forward, meats are a great way to promote your baby’s muscle growth, protein synthesis, and strength as they grow and develop.
Introducing meat into your baby’s diet should begin at around 8-10 months of age (when your baby should be able to eat and chew softer finger foods such as chopped up avocado, steamed carrots, and chopped up fruits).
When you are first introducing meat into your baby’s diet, chicken is a great place to start! It is soft, easy to break apart, and has a fairly bland flavor. Your baby’s taste and texture preferences are developing, so beginning with a strongly flavored meat as well as a new texture could take some time to get used to.
Red meat such as pork or beef are great sources of iron, zinc, and vitamin D for your baby. Iron is responsible for carrying oxygen through our bodies and fueling important processes such as cognitive growth and development and your child’s ability to learn new information!
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that promotes bone health as it regulates the absorption of calcium in the gut. As your baby is growing and beginning to crawl, stand, and even walk on their own, they need strong bones. Vitamin D is a vital nutrient during this time to support their bone strength and muscle!
Zinc is a nutrient vital to the formation and support of your baby’s immune system, as it helps the body heal and protect against infection. Zinc also supports the formation of proteins, DNA, and metabolic functions. Consuming zinc in food is especially important because it isn’t synthesized by our bodies.
Tip: when feeding your baby red meat, be sure to choose a leaner cut to help their digestion and nutritional balance!
Feeding your baby fish such as salmon can also support their brain health. Salmon is packed with omega-3s that are vital for cognitive development, energy for the body, and protecting the brain against free radicals that could damage the brain and body!
Baby Food Guide
To break down which foods are best for your baby and what age to introduce them, we’ve made a helpful baby food guide for you!
- 0-4 months old: During this age, your baby only needs breastmilk or formula. When your baby is 0-1 month, aim to feed them around 6-8 times each day. This adds up to around 24 ounces. When your baby is 2-5 months, expect to breastfeed or formula feed 5 to 6 times a day, but increase the amount of milk for each feeding. This will total around 32 ounces a day.
- 4-6 months old: Somewhere in this stage, your child will begin eating solid foods. When they show signs that they’re ready for solids, you can slowly introduce 1 to 2 tablespoons of pureed fruits, vegetables, and meats twice a day. They can also have 3-5 tablespoons of iron-rich grains. Keep in mind that during this stage your baby will still need 4 to 6 feedings of breastmilk or formula per day.
- 7 months old: At 7 months old, your baby’s breastfeeding or formula needs lower to 3-5 times per day as you introduce a few tablespoons more of solid food. Your 7-month-old can have 3-5 tablespoons of iron-rich grains, 2-3 tablespoons of pureed fruits and vegetables, and 1-2 tablespoons of meat.
- 8 months old: Your 8-month-old requires the same amount of breastmilk or formula as they did when they were 7 months, as well as the same amount of fruit, vegetable, and meat soft, mashed foods. However, they can eat 5-8 tablespoons of iron-rich grains!
- 9 months old: Your 9-month-old still needs 3-5 feedings of breastmilk per day, but they can have up to 4 tablespoons of mashed fruits, veggies, and 3 tablespoons of meats. These can be in soft bite-size pieces! |
- 10-12 months old: From 10-12 months of age, your little one’s breast milk needs decrease to 3-4 feedings per day, which is as little as 24 ounces per day. They can have 5-8 tablespoons of iron-rich grains, 2-4 tablespoons of bite-sized fruits, vegetables, and meat. They can also have mild cheeses at this age!
Take a closer look at your baby’s nutritional needs at different ages with our baby milestone plan!
What To Avoid
Feeding your baby rich and organic vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and meats provides them with all the good stuff they need to grow and thrive. However, there are some foods you should avoid giving your baby, and the biggest culprit below may just surprise you!
Whole fruits are great for your baby! They provide rich nutrients and antioxidants that have a number of health benefits. However, fruit juices can be dangerous and cause serious harm to your baby’s health. Here’s why.
According to Dr. Pisharody, fruit juices contain excessive amounts of “free sugar.” This means these sugars are not bound to fiber but floating freely by themselves. In fact, there are as many grams of sugar in 8 ounces of 100% apple juice as there are in 8 ounces of cola.
The amounts of fructose present in fruit juices can have a negative impact on your baby’s metabolism, blood glucose levels, insulin resistance, and heart health! Not only can these sugars harm your baby now but giving your baby juices and other foods with sugar sets the stage for their future.
Your baby develops taste during the first two years of life. This means that what you feed your baby now will set the stage for their tastes and preferences later. If they consume a lot of sugar from juices or other foods, they could struggle with a sweet tooth and a higher risk for obesity, heart disease, and other health issues.
So, while you’re exploring different foods to give your baby and different drinks such as water and milk, avoiding fruit juice is a vital help to their health!