Here Are the Foods You Should (and Shouldn’t) Start Your Baby On

Just when you become a nursing or bottle-feeding pro, a new challenge awaits in the form of introducing foods to your growing babe. Here's a handy guide on where to start for baby's first food.

So your baby is ready for solid foods—she’s sitting upright on her own, has total head control and seems to have serious envy over what you’re eating. Good news: Bringing baby to the table can be a great bonding experience for the whole family, messes and all. And these first foods for baby are soft enough to mash and spoon-feed—and some even work for cutting and using as part of baby-led weaning.

Just keep a steady supply of bibs (and wipes) at the ready, and remember to enjoy the fun of introducing the wonderful world of food to your mini-me!

(Remember, though, to talk with your pediatrician before starting any potentially allergenic foods such as nuts and eggs. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until baby is around six months old before introducing any solid foods.)

Start With: Avocado

It’s hard to go wrong starting with avocado as baby’s first food. This fruit is high in healthy fats that are good for the brain and body, as well as vitamins B, E and K. The soft and creamy texture of an avocado makes it easy to mash and chew (or gum!). Even better, there’s no cooking involved. Mom win!

Curious about how to tell if an avocado is ripe? Here’s how to know.

Start With: Soft Egg Yolk

The choline in egg yolks makes them good for your baby’s brain and eyes. Plus, they’re an excellent source of healthy fat and cholesterol. To prepare an egg yolk for your baby, hard-cook it on the stove. Crumble or mash it to make it easier on your child’s growing digestive system.

Start With: Banana

High in potassium, vitamins B6 and C, magnesium and fiber, bananas also contain an enzyme called amylase. This enzyme helps the body digest carbohydrates, such as those found in bananas, making them a great first food for your little one.

Find yourself with more ripe bananas than baby can possibly eat? Here are some great recipes to use them up!

Start With: Cooked Squash or Sweet Potato

Roast winter squash or sweet potatoes to create a soft, sweet food your baby will enjoy. Squash is easy to digest, high in vitamins and minerals and low in nitrates. It’s also a great source of usable vitamin A when combined with a little fat (such as that in avocados).

Start With: Peas

A great way to go green with baby food is through peas. Check out how our Test Kitchen cooks peas, choose one and then puree the peas into a spoonable mixture you can give your child. With peas, you offer your baby high amounts of vitamins A and K, not to mention fiber and protein.

Start With: Pears

Naturally soft and high in nutrients, pears are another fruit babies tend to love. They’re also gentle on a stomach that’s new to the world of solids and helpful for encouraging good digestion.

Start With: Green Beans

As a first food, green beans are another nutritious choice. Learn how to cook green beans perfectly here, and then puree them with a little water to create a mix for your little one. Later, as your baby grows, you can transition to serving whole green beans, chopped in small pieces.

Skip: Cow’s Milk

Before your baby turns one, stick to breast milk and formula over cow’s milk. If you’re eager to start dairy before then, try whole-milk yogurt, which has gut-healthy probiotics.

Looking for the best yogurt you can buy? See what our Test Kitchen discovered here.

Skip: Citrus

While oranges are high in vitamin C and other nutrients, they’re also acidic. In young digestive tracts, this can lead to tummy trouble. Most pediatricians recommend waiting until at least nine months to introduce foods like these.

Skip: Nuts and Seeds

In the early days of solids, you’re going to need to avoid choking hazards, which include nuts and seeds of any kind. A better way to introduce nuts (with your pediatrician’s blessing) is to stir nut butter into yogurt and mix it well.

When you’re ready to venture beyond the first flavors, try making parent-approved recipes for baby food!

Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is an experienced copywriter and food blogger with a master's degree in Writing. She likes tested recipes, organized refrigerators and the pleasure of a good bite.