Preparing Baby's Meals and Finger Foods

A well-balanced meal for an older baby or toddler doesn’t take much time. Much of what the rest of the family eats can be shared with the baby with a little extra preparation.

  • Vegetables should be steamed, allowed to cool and then cut up into small bits. If you grow your vegetables (or fruit) in your home garden, it’s a good idea to have your soil’s lead level checked to be sure your produce does not contain any lead.
     
  • Beef and chicken should be well cooked, tender and cut into small, easily swallowed pieces.
     
  • If you wish to feed your baby with a spoon, mash the food with a fork or puree in a blender, adding a little of the water in which it was cooked.
     
  • No need to add sweeteners or salt; your baby will learn to prefer the simple flavors of food without sugar or salt if you start now.
     
  • Save tiny portions by filling an ice cube tray with mashed food, freezing them and then storing the cubes in plastic bags in your freezer.
     
  • Heat food in a small pan on the stove or in a plastic container in warm water. Microwaved food can contain hot spots that might burn a baby’s fingers or mouth. If you do use a microwave, stir the food well after heating to be sure that it is not too hot and is the same temperature throughout.

Satisfy your baby’s appetite and developmental needs at the same time by giving him nutritious foods that are easy to pick up and put in his mouth. Popular choices include steamed carrots and sweet potatoes, sliced bananas, pears, melon, peaches, bagel pieces, bread sticks, Cheerios, graham crackers, pasta and tofu.

See also ...

•  Finger foods for babies

•  Sample menu for an 8- to 12-month-old from the American Academy of Pediatrics

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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