I get this question a lot. It also looks like, “Is this suitable for a 6 month old?”
They are totally valid questions. I asked them, too, back when my big baby was a littler baby. It just doesn’t make sense to give your 6-month-old (6mo) a steak with mashed potatoes and green beans, does it? But alas… it IS okay. For most, though, that isn’t a comfortable idea.
“What can my baby eat? She’s 6 months.”
First, congratulations on your baby! And welcome to the world of solids. For me, it was bittersweet. While I’m still nursing now at 14 months, I was ONLY nursing back then. And it felt like that relationship was going to change (it did, a little). For others, it’s a big exciting milestone. Maybe you are ready to jump in, head first.
You can read a lot more at the ABOUT page at the top. But the basics are this:
- no added salt or sugar
- no whole nuts
- no honey in any form
- grapes (and cherry tomatoes and other similarly-shaped firm foods) should be cut in half lengthwise
Those are the basics.
[When should you start solids? First, wait until 26 weeks if you can. Some babies may be ready before then, but don’t mistake putting things in their mouth for being ready for food. At that age, they put everything in their mouths! Second, your baby should be able to sit up fairly well, unassisted. If you were to put him in a chair/booster seat, would he sit up confidently? If not, wait a week or two until that happens. And third, does your baby bring objects to his mouth? If he can’t find his mouth at all, he may not be ready for solids just yet!]
Here are some foods that are also common concerns:
- milk – Before a year old, don’t offer milk as a beverage. But you can cook with it. You could even make smoothies with it for your baby. It’s best to use whole milk or goat’s milk because they’re more fatty, like breastmilk. What a lot of mothers choose to do is mix breastmilk into a smoothie instead of offering whole milk. Conclusion: Milk is okay except as a beverage.
- cheese/yogurt – Same as milk, although I can’t imagine you would offer cheese as a beverage 🙂 …. We use cheese a lot. Cheese is usually salty, so you don’t want to overdo it.
- meat – There’s no reason you shouldn’t give meat to your 6mo. Just make sure it’s fully cooked. If you prefer your steak to be medium rare, you need to be sure the sliver you give to your baby is cooked all the way. Other than that, beef and chicken are great sources of protein and iron. Most babies are not going to bite off and chew through beef or chicken. It’s just too tough, and they most likely only have the front teeth. That said, just sucking and gnawing will release some great flavors and juices, and those juices contain lots of nutrients! Conclusion: Don’t fear meat! Just make sure it’s fully cooked.
- fish – Fish and fish products are totally fine, but just like with meats, be sure they are cooked through. Many folks wait until a year to offer shellfish, but that’s an allergy issue. If there’s no history of allergy, go for it. I wouldn’t offer it more than once a week, though. Conclusion: Fish is okay to dish as long as it’s cooked!
- bread – Grains are tough on new tummies (even adults can’t process large doses very well), so keep it light on the bread. A little slice of toast is fine, but I wouldn’t offer bread every day at every meal. Conclusion: Bread is okay in moderation.
- pizza/hamburger/this thing I’m eating – If it’s salty to you, it’s likely too salty. Give a pinch if you’d like, but I wouldn’t give a 6mo a slice of pizza. A hamburger, done well, is fine! It may have a pinch of salt, but as long as it’s cooked through, go for it. Think through what might be a choking hazard in your food. If there’s no honey, whole nuts, whole grapes, or loads of salt/sugar, then it should be okay as a bite or two. As a rule, though, I wouldn’t offer takeout food (or frozen dinners) very often. (See my personal note at the bottom!)
- peanut butter – I’m talking more in depth about this tomorrow, but the short answer is that peanut butter is fine. (Creamy not crunchy) If your baby’s siblings or parents have a peanut allergy, you may want to hold off for a while. The other concern with it is that peanut butter is super sticky! If you give too much at once, it can be a challenge for your baby to move it around in her mouth! Conclusion: Outside of allergies, peanut butter is fine.
Later today, I’ll post another commonly asked question!
Is there another food you’re not sure of? Just ask!
(My personal note: Once I got really into solids and baby led weaning, I was very conscious of what we were eating. I wanted to offer the baby a variety of fruits and vegetables, so we started buying new fruits and vegetables, trying new recipes, and making sure to eat a little better. Baby led weaning has helped ME to eat healthier overall!)Continue reading »