Feeding your baby

By Mina Radman • Published: September 13th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

In recent months, celebrities Hilary Duff and Alicia Silverstone made parenting choices that sent the Internet into a frenzy. Duff fed her 2-month-old son, Luca, a little bit of oatmeal, while Silverstone fed her 10-month-old son, Bear, food she had chewed up in her mouth. Both celebrities made some people wonder: What can and can’t you feed babies at the different stages of their development?

First, chewing your baby’s food and feeding it to him or her from your mouth is probably not the way to go. Experts say this practice leads to colds and contributes to tooth decay because parents can pass on bad bacteria to their children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents keep baby on a diet of breast milk or formula exclusively for the first six months of life. Breast milk contains a unique mix of fatty acids, lactose, amino acids, vitamins and minerals that work together to make the perfect baby food.

At four to six months old, babies can start eating pureed food like sweet potatoes or apples if they show interest in food, can hold themselves up in a highchair and make chewing movements. Watery iron-fortified cereals are also a go.

The key thing is to offer one new food at a time and wait three to five days before introducing another food. Otherwise, if your child has an allergic reaction, you won’t know what caused it. Signs of an allergic reaction can include facial swelling, hives and a rash.

At eight to 10 months, babies may be able to pick up solid foods with their fingers, put food in their mouths and chew. It’s time for finger foods. Good choices are pasteurized cheese, small pieces of banana or cheerios.

As babies reach age 1, they should be able to eat all these foods and more. Sounds like the perfect time for a piece of birthday cake.