Around the time a baby reaches 6 months of age, he or she is typically ready to begin eating solid foods. One of the absolute best foods for a 6-month-old baby is breast milk or formula, which should still make up a large portion of his or her daily calories. Iron-fortified cereal is mild on most children’s stomachs and can be a good starting food, while pureed fruits and vegetables, preferably made from single ingredients, are also good options. Blended or mashed meats, tofu, or beans can help to add additional protein and iron to a child’s diet.
Although a baby of this age is usually capable of learning to eat solid foods barring any health or developmental issues, breast milk, formula, or a combination of the two are still the best foods for a 6-month-old baby. At this point, any other source of nutrition is typically for practice and the introduction of new flavors, and only slightly about adding additional nutrients to a child’s diet. Healthy children should still be offered the breast or bottle several times a day and allowed to eat until he or she shows signs of fullness.
Iron-fortified infant cereal, which can be made from numerous grains, is commonly given to children of this age as a practice food. It is generally mild in flavor and gentle on the stomach, making it one of the perfect practice foods for a 6-month-old. Cereals can also be mixed with breast milk or formula, making the flavor something similar to what the child is used to. The addition of iron in these cereals can also be helpful for infants, as anemia in children this age can have drastic effects on their development.
Single ingredient purees of fruit and vegetables are some of the most popular foods for infants of this age. These can not only add healthy vitamins and nutrients to a child’s diet, but can also introduce him or her to a wide array of flavors. In most cases, especially if the 6-month-old baby is just starting to eat foods other than breast milk or formula, it is recommended that only one fruit or vegetable puree is fed at a time to make it easier to pinpoint an allergy if a reaction occurs. Some popular types of these foods for a 6-month-old baby include peaches, apples, and bananas, as well as carrot, green bean, and sweet potato purees.
While many parents or caregivers wait to give infants pureed meats, tofu, or beans, these foods can also be an excellent addition to an otherwise well-rounded diet. Often rich in iron and protein, meats such as chicken, beef, and turkey are often considered to be good options for young infants. For those that would like to add protein to their child’s diet without meat, tofu and legumes, such as kidney and butter beans, are all good foods for a 6-month-old baby. Children just starting to experiment with solids should have meats, tofu, and legumes pureed with a small amount of water to make the texture of the food more manageable. As a child progresses, these foods can be mashed with a fork after being cooked or cut into very small pieces so that the child can practice with finger foods.