Choosing the Best First Foods
Once upon a time two of the most popular first foods were rice cereal and bananas. As we started having more babies in our family and seeing more babies in our pediatric practice, I realized this custom made no sense because neither of these first foods contained any fat. A baby’s rapidly-developing brain is 60 percent fat. I get moms to remember this by humorously addressing their babies as “fatheads” during routine checkups. As a result, our custom in the Sears Family Pediatric Practice is at six months we start with avocado and sweet potatoes; at seven months we add pureed wild salmon. These contain healthy fats. We also want to teach parents to “think outside the box” when it comes to feeding their babies and children.
The concern about infant rice cereal was highlighted in the May issue of Infectious Diseases in Children in which the FDA recently released data surveying the levels of inorganic arsenic in 76 samples of rice cereals for infants. They found that 47 percent of infant rice cereals sampled from retail stores had concerning levels of arsenic. One thing good about commercial infant formulas is they do contain iron. Infants are often low in this vital nutrient between six and twelve months of age, yet they don’t need to get their iron from food in a box. Good sources of iron are beans, prunes, tofu, and iron-fortified cereals.
For more resources to help your baby develop lifelong, healthy eating habits, please visit our page entirely devoted to feeding infants and toddlers!