Feeding Baby: How to Introduce New Foods & Achieve Nutritional Balance

PHOTO BY Jakub Kapusnak

Introducing new foods to your babe takes patience and perseverance. Sometimes it seems like they love a food right away, and other times they are pushing the spoon away. There will be days when your baby’s appetite will be ravenous, and there will be other days when it seems like your baby won’t eat a thing. This is especially true as they move through growth spurts. So, how do you achieve nutritional balance for your baby, no matter what kind of day they’re having? We are here to help.

My Baby Doesn’t Seem to Like The Food I Just Introduced: What Do I Do?

Don’t worry! Adorable, confused faces are common when introducing new foods to your baby. Not only are babies confused by the taste of new foods — but they are also trying to figure out how to eat solid foods. Up until trying solid foods for the first time, they’ve only recognized the nipple as a source of food. It takes them time to understand that food can also come on a spoon. Not to mention, swallowing food is a bit different than swallowing milk.

How Long Does It Take for a Baby to Become Interested in a New Food?

The guidelines vary, however, in general, it can take a dozen or more tries before a babe grows accustomed to a new food. It’s important to continue to allow baby to try different foods, even if it seems like they don’t love it at first. The foods that you give your baby will help establish their dietary preferences for life, so it’s important that you give them a variety of fresh, organic, whole foods that will nourish their bodies and help them grow. Patience is key. 

Think about the breadth of flavors in the world. Vietnamese kids, for instance, are not predisposed to liking fish sauce, that salty, tangy condiment of Southeast Asia. Instead it’s repeated exposure to flavor — even exotic ones — that breeds familiarity.

My Baby Likes Solid Foods, But I Still Don’t Feel Like They’re Eating a Balanced Diet. What Do I Do?

No need to panic. At the very beginning, it’s perfectly normal for your baby to not eat a perfectly balanced solid food diet. Remember, at about 6 months they are still getting the large majority of nutrients from breastmilk or formula. The key is to continue to introduce a wide variety of foods. Soldier on!

i’m not sure if my baby is getting the right balance of nutrients every day, how worried should i be?

Once they transition to a fully solid diet, there might be days when they don’t eat from certain food groups. Rather than looking at your baby’s food intake on a daily basis, look at it on a weekly basis. As long as your baby is achieving balance during the span of a full week (as opposed to just focusing on one day), then you’re doing just fine.

How do I decide what to give my baby next?

This is ultimately up to you as the parent. In the early stages, we encourage giving your baby a variety of foods and textures. In the early stages, think avocado, banana, steamed veggies, and scrambled eggs. As your baby progresses in solid foods, you can move towards more complex flavors and textures such as cooked beans, whole wheat toast, smashed berries, and roasted root vegetables. Your baby will eat whatever you give them, so it’s up to you to provide them with healthy, nutrient-dense options. Don’t be afraid to venture out – this can be a great time to introduce your baby to new flavors and reinforce healthy eating habits for the rest of your family.

2 thoughts on “Feeding Baby: How to Introduce New Foods & Achieve Nutritional Balance

  1. Daria says:

    When is it ok to give a baby a mashed avocado? My son started solids at 5 months and eats solids / formula 50/50. Could I offer him an avocado?
    In the article cooked beans are called “more complex flavors”- however white and black beans are included in basics in helloyummi range. So are they ok to be offered to a 6 months old with some solid food experience?
    Thanks

    1. admin says:

      You can give a baby avocado as soon as they start on solids! Avocado is a great starter food because it’s so soft – you can mash it up or give them little chunks. With regard to beans, we think they’re great for babies who are just starting on solids (in pureed form) and as they get more comfortable with solid foods, you can serve beans that are not pureed as much (more texture) / soft cooked whole beans 🙂

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