8 First Foods to Excite Your Baby’s Taste Buds

Chiomah Momah

For many new mums, after months of feeding their baby with breast milk or formula, they look forward to introducing baby’s first foods. Apart from the pre- packed baby food, there’s often a dilemma as to what exactly to give babies once they are ready to be introduced to the world of solids and semi-solids. These nutritious foods are guaranteed to excite your baby’s taste buds.

1. Squash

Also known as Anyu (Igbo) or Kabewa (Hausa), it’s rich in Vitamin A, Folates and Calcium. Squash is a delicious and nutritious first food for your baby. You can prepare it by boiling for a few minutes and pureeing with a food processor (ensure you have a separate processor for your baby’s meals like the Munchkin mini blender or Tommee Tippee Explora Baby Food Blender). There’s no need to add salt or sugar, instead you can add a little infant formula or breast milk and you’re good to go.

2. Avocado

This is a great first food as not only is it rich in Vitamins A, C, Niacin and Folates, but also contains Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron, Magnesium and Calcium. It doesn’t need to be cooked, just mash till smooth or purée.

3. Okra Soup

Every baby loves draw soups (and every mum hates the mess they make). Okras are rich is Vitamins A and C, Calcium and Potassium. Make the okra with no seasoning and use oily fish like Titus to give it a natural flavour. Serve with Garri or Semovita.

READ ALSO: Starting Your Baby On Solids: The 8 Rs You Should Know

4. Fruits

Mangos and other tropical fruits such as pawpaw and banana are packed with vitamins. A good way to serve fruits to your baby is puréed. Mix varieties of fruits to give your baby wholesome nutrition. See a tasty puree recipe here.

5. Sweet potatoes

These are great and very tasty too!  Rich in Vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes are also a great source of Calcium and Iron. As your baby gets older, you can increase the amount of ingredients in his meals and try a purée of potato, peas and chicken.

6. Applesauce

This was a favourite for all my children when they were babies. Apples are rich in Vitamins A, C, Folates, as well as Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium. Simply boil or bake some sliced apples for a few minutes and then purée. Adding banana creates a tasty combo. If you want to add fruits to baby’s regular cereal, you could purée some cooked apples and then store in an ice cube tray in the freezer. Simply add a cube of frozen fruits in your baby’s cereal and let it thaw.

7. Oatmeal Cereal

Oatmeal is full of fibre and nutrients such as Potassium, Calcuim and Iron. You can buy baby oatmeal or grind regular oatmeal so that it’s not too lumpy for your baby. Once cooked, mix in formula or breast milk and puréed fruits if desired.

Note: If using instant cereal, make sure it’s not a variety with high levels of sugar and salt.

8. Corn Pap

Also known as Pap, Akamu in Igbo and Ogi in Yoruba, it’s one of the favourite first foods for babies and is often used to wean and introduce them to the world of semi- solid and solid foods. For proper hygiene, it’s advisable to prepare from scratch and store in the freezer. Try mixing millet which is rich in Potassium and Iron with yellow or white corn for variety and added nutritional value. Once prepared, mix with breast milk or formula (don’t add sugar).

READ ALSO: A Simple Guide to Starting Your Baby on Solids

Introducing your baby to these new foods and more can be exciting but don’t forget the following:

1. ALWAYS use clean hands, clean pots, utensils and so on when making and preparing food for your little one.

2. Don’t be in a hurry to introduce your baby to solids. 6 months is usually the norm as by then, his tongue thrust reflex should have disappeared and he should be sitting up with good head control.

3. Never introduce more than one new food at a time. This will help you notice whether your little one has allergies to any particular food.

4. Start with simple foods like pap or rice cereal before introducing different mixtures.

5. Never give babies under a year old honey as it could cause botulism.

6. Avoid giving your baby peanuts until the age of four. Instead, you can give smooth peanut butter.

7. Don’t give semi solids in a bottle, rather, feed with a spoon as this will reduce the chances of choking.

8. Remember to make your baby’s food separately as the food eaten by other household members will be too spicy.

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