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Archive-name: misc-kids/starting-solids
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-Modified: January 13, 1995

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
           Frequently Asked Questions
                           Starting Solid Foods 

Collection maintained by: David M. Poduska,
Last updated: 4/96
Copyright 1996, David M. Poduska.  Use and copying of this information
are permitted as long as (1) no fees or compensation are charged for use,
copies or access to this information, and (2) this copyright notice is
included intact.
To contribute to this collection, please send e-mail to the address given
above, and ask me to add your comments to the FAQ file on Starting Solids.
Please try to be as concise as possible, as these FAQ files tend to be
quite long as it is.  And, unless otherwise requested, your name and
e-mail address will remain in the file, so that interested readers may
follow-up directly for more information/discussion.

For a list of other FAQ topics, tune in to or
Of particular interest may be the Bottle/Cup FAQ and the Finger Foods

   Thanks to Paula Burch, without whose contributions this FAQ would
be about 1/2 the size it is, and to Travis Jensen, who organized the
bulk of it.


Welcome to the Starting Solids FAQ.  This FAQ is designed specifically
for infants who are just beginning solid foods.  It has been organized
in the following manner:

  <1>   WHEN to get started--nutrition and what to stay away from.
  <2>   HOW to get started--equipment.
  <3>   HOW MUCH and HOW OFTEN to feed.
  <4a>  Starches--getting started and making them edible.
  <4b>  Starches--recipes.
  <5a>  Veggies--getting started and making them edible.
  <5b>  Veggies--recipes.
  <6a>  Fruits--getting started and making them edible.
  <6b>  Fruits--recipes.
  <7a>  Meats--getting started and making them edible.
  <7b>  Meats--recipes.
  <8>   Flavors--do babies like spicy foods?
  <9a>  Printed References--Baby food cookbooks
  <9b>  WWW References (including vegan diets)

<1>  WHEN to get started--nutrition and what to stay away from
From: Paula Burch <>

When Should 'Solid' Foods Be Introduced?
---- ------  -----  ----- -- -----------

When most of the readers of were small, the fashion was to feed
solid food (actually mush) to very young babies, even those as young as
two weeks. Now research has shown that there are several reasons to delay
introducing supplemental foods until quite a bit later. The reasons to
avoid introducing supplemental foods early range from the simple fact that
tiny babies cannot digest complex foods or starches well to the serious
though small risk of developing food allergies or even diabetes.

Avoiding allergies
-------- ---------

Normal adults do not absorb whole proteins, but instead break them down in
the process of digestion. The normal infant gut does absorb whole proteins,
however; this is what allows infants to benefit from antibodies taken in
from their mother's milk. Normally, infants gradually lose this ability
around the age of one year. Foods typically noted as being allergenic
should not be introduced to the babies diet until as late as practical,
especially if allergies tend to run in your family, unless there is some
reason that makes it worth the risk.

The commonest allergies to food involve:

	dairy products
	soy products
	corn (maize)
	egg whites
	nuts including peanuts

Opinions on when is the right time to introduce these foods vary, but one
year is a common choice. Some also avoid spinich and citrus fruits as
potentially irritating, but this is a different issue than allergies.
Rice cereal is a favorite first food because rice is generally regarded
as non-allergenic. In most cases, it is best to wait until the child is
six months old before introducing even rice cereal to the diet, though
parents' eagerness to start solid food is so great--perhaps because of the
unfounded myth that doing so hastens sleeping though the night--that the
lower age limit is generally given as 4 months. Sometimes a child eats so
much formula that cereal is started at an earlier age than even four
months. It is unwise to do so without the advice of the pediatrician.

Avoiding diabetes
-------- --------

An additional worry concerning early introduction of supplemental foods
is recent research linking Type I (juvenile, or IDDM) diabetes to
including dairy products in the diet before a child is a year old.
This research is quite recent, so not all pediatricians are aware of
the connection to warn their patients' parents about it.  The research
is also quite controversial. While it's clear that a correlation exists,
the degree of correlation is not clear, and causation is not established.

Basically, the antibodies that may arise when whole cow's milk proteins
are absorbed in the infant's gut can sometimes lead to the destruction of
the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.  It has been suggested, as a
potential mechanism, that some protein on the surface of the cells 'looks'
like a cow's milk protein, as far as the antibodies are concerned. While
most infants who receive cow's milk before they are old enough for it do
not go on to develop diabetes, some researchers have claimed that most
cases of Type I diabetes could be prevented by avoiding cow's milk in the
diet of under-one-year-olds; the risk is not large for any individual child,
but diabetes is an extremely serious disease, so it's worth some effort to
try to reduce the risk.  It appears that milk leads to diabetes only in
susceptible individuals, but it's difficult to tell who is susceptible
without tests (for HLA markers) which are not commercially available.


Where does formula fit into this? Generally, the more processed a
formula, the less allergenic the milk proteins in it are. Fresh milk
is more allergenic than exaporated milk, which is more allergenic than
regular formula, which is more allergenic than hydrolyzed formulas;
the latter should be no problem at all, as the proteins are completely
digested into amino acids. They also cost a lot more and probably
taste a whole lot worse. Breastmilk is safer than formula, but if you
have a reason to use formula, it's no doubt worth this small risk.
Women with type I diabetes in their families may decide to breastfeed
longer than they would have otherwise. In the absence of a high risk
for diabetes, it is probably best to go for a cheaper formula unless
the child has already shown problems with allergies. Soy-based
formulas are not associated with diabetes, since their proteins are
quite different (although as far as allergies are concerned, children
who are dairy-allergic are often allergic to soy as well); families
with type I diabetic relatives might prefer soy-based formulas for this

Dairy products may count even in the mother's diet!
----- -------- --- ----- ---- -- --- -------- -----

An interesting point is that cow's milk antigens can reach an entirely
breastfed infant if its mother consumes dairy products AND has what is
known as a 'leaky' gut, which passes whole proteins into her bloodstream.
About half of cases of colic may be resolved if the mother cuts out dairy
products altogether from her diet. If you wish to test this, wait at
least a week after going off dairy products to assess the results, as
that's how long it can take for the diary proteins to be cleared from the
mother's system.  Parents whose children's colic cleared up when the
mother gave up dairy products may wish to be particularly careful in
introducing dairy products to the child's diet later on, and may even
wish to reduce exposure to dairy products during future pregnancies, as
the colicky infant's sensitivity to dairy products is developed in the

Choking hazards
------- -------

In the absence of particular problems, the general rule is that all
foods are okay after a child is a year old, but you have to watch out
for choking hazards for years after that. Hazards include:

hot dogs (these must be sliced in half lengthwise, as the
          cross-section of a bite of hot dog plugs the 
          esophagous very well)
whole grapes (same reason as hot dogs)
carrots (carrots must be cooked before being given to babies who 
         have teeth)
nuts and peanuts
round hard candies

Even an item as small as half of an (unchewable adult) vitamin pill
has caused the death of a three-year old by choking.

Food poisoning
---- ---------

Food poisoning is much more hazardous for babies (and the elderly and
pregnant) than for the average adult, so you have to pay a little more
attention to this problem with baby foods.

Note that as many as one-third of brands of hot dogs tested in a 1992
study were contaminated with Listeria bacteria, although hot dogs are
marked 'ready to eat'. Be sure to give your child only foods that have
been cooked adequately, and cook all hot dogs until this problem is
cleared  up. Fresh cheeses should be made only with pasteurized milk
for the same reason. Aged cheeses such as chedder are safe without 

Too much orange?
--- ---- -------

Babies that eat a lot of carrots, sweet potatoes, etc., may turn a
little orange in the nose. There is no need to be concerned about
this. As long as they are only eating these foods (as opposed to
drinking lots of carrot juice, say), there is no hazard, no matter how
much they eat. It is impossible to get vitamin A toxicity from
over-eating orange vegetables because the enzyme that converts beta
carotene into vitamin A quits working when the body has gotten enough
vitamin A. If you don't like the yellow nose, you can try to cut back,
of course.

From: (Tracy Larrabee)

My daycare people told me that their pediatric consultant gave a
presentation to a local daycare seminar and talked about the problem
in inhaling nuts, raisins, and raw fruits and vegetables.  They said
the doctor was about in tears as she talked about how important it was
not to give small children small, hard, inhalable pieces of food.
They gave me a time cutoff, and all I registered at the time was that
it would be when he was well into the toddler room--so I would guess
sometime after 2 years old.

They said cooked raisins or fruits or vegetables are fine, but things
easily inhaled can be dangerous.  Note that an inhalation hazard is
different than a choking hazard.
Tracy Larrabee

From: Gefferie Madera <>

This maybe common knowledge, but I certainly didn't know about it at
the time, and that is not to feed eggwhites to babies until they are
at least a year old. (Check w/ the pediatrician for the recommended

When Brittney was 7 MO, and I was experimenting w/ new foods to feed
her, so I beated an egg, and added in some chicken broth, and steamed 
it for about 20 minutes, and waited for it to cool before giving it 
to her. She loved it, but within 10 minutes of eating the first bite,
she broke out in a terrible rash.  Luckily I was able to get a hold of
our pediatrician immediately, who noted it must be an allergy to
eggwhites, and recommended some Benedryl.  The Benedryl took care
of the rash in about two hours, but it sure had me in a frenzy for
those two hours.

I didn't give her any eggwhites again until she was about 15 MO, just
to be on the safe side.  She still loves the steam egg dish though.

Gefferie Madera


The one thing we were told by our pediatrician which made a lot of
sense to us is to introduce new foods one at a time, and give each
new food at least a week. This is to make it very easy to determine
if the child is allergic to anything, and exactly which foods.

I guess this would go under General Info.

ben                            father to Limo (2 yrs 11 mos)

From: (Grant Basham)

This won't be for everyone, but the folks in my family have all
had food allergies for as far back as anyone can remember. Since
Pam was going to an allergist (bee stings) when our first one
was born, we asked the allergist what would be best. Based on
that recommendation, all our babies have been only nursed for
the first year.  We add non-alergenic foods during the second
year. We hold back nuts, citrus, fish..., the highly allergenic
stuff, the third year.  After that, they eat what they want.  I
don't have the food list at hand, but they are easy to get.

Pam likes nursing the babies and is a full time mom, so we can
do this.  The kids do fine with it ( 7yrs, 4yrs, 7mo ); all have
thrived and are healthy and without apparent food allergies.  By
the time they are a year old, adding food is not a problem.  Cut
it up small and put it on their plate. They eat it (or not).
They keep nursing till they want to quit so you don't have to
worry about if they are getting a balanced diet.  By the time
they quit nursing (in the second year for both of them) they are
"good" eaters.  LaLeche league can give you info on this
approach if you want local support.


>One friend suggested *peeled* grapes and bits of melon cut very small,
>because they're slippery and easily swallowed. Is this okay?

	BAD IDEA!  Sure, they're slippery and easily swallowed but they
	are just as likely to go down the wrong pipe that much easier.

>Another said that miniature water bagels make good teething implements,
>and the bits that the baby can gum off the surface can be easily
>swallowed. How about it?

	This seems like it might work, because the baby would presumably
	ingest stuff that is fairly gloppy due to the "gumming" action.

>When is it appropriate to add strained meats to Malcolm's diet? He's
>fine with fruits and orange vegetables.

	Feed him whatever he wants.  If he likes meat now, fine.  If not,
	don't force it.

>Malcolm nurses and is teaching himself to drink juice from a cup;
>he seems to have bypassed the bottle stage. Should a drink of juice or 
>water accompany any solids?

	We have tried to avoid juice due to high sugar and potential
	for tooth decay.  Our 2.5 year old has no interest in drinking
	juice.  He likes milk & caffeine free diet coke.  Probably should
	have liquid on his tray, but I can't see making a drink of fluid
	*mandatory* after every bite.  Let him decide how he wants to do 

(someone asked about giving juice or diet soda)

How about WATER!?  I would be very hesitant to let any kids near diet soda.
Neither saccharine nor aspartame are recommended for young kids (or anyone

As for solids+liquids: Baby fruit/vegies have a lot of water in them and
many kids won't need a drink along with them.  However, once you start
with less moist foods (pureed meat/chicken, less diluted cereal), it may
be necessary.  Often a kid will reject the spoon after several bites and a 
little sip will get the ball rolling again.  Take your cues from the baby.

From: (David M. Poduska)

While our pediatrician said many babies love bread, he also warned to
be careful about giving babies commercial breads.  Whereas homemade
breads dissolve when gummed by infants, many commercial breads become
pasty, and it's possible for an infant to choke on a wad of the pasty

From: (Troy D. Evans)

> In our childbirth classes, it was stressed very strongly NEVER
> (and I really mean NEVER here) give a child under one year of age honey
> - I believe it can be deadly becuase of the harmful spores. - Perhaps
> someone on the net can verify this.

It is because of the harmful spores.  Some infants cannot destroy the
spores of botulism bacteria that are normally present in honey.  Although
it does not affect all infants, it is so dangerous for those who do come
down with botulism that honey should never be fed to anyone under the age
of one. 

Claudine Evans

<2>  HOW to get started--equipment.
From: (Sharon C.Kelly)

I felt compelled to share my experiences feeding my children (now
15 yrs, 13 yrs, and -1 month).

Both my boys were breastfed until 1 year of age, but when it came time to
start solid food (my first son was interested at at  4-1/2 months), I
tried a jar of baby food. It was horrible, so I mashed up a banana with
plain yogurt, which he loved. Then I bought a Happy Food Baby Food Grinder
(for about $8, today's $$), a simple, easy-to-clean manual one-serving

>From that time on, he (and the subsequent son) ate only food which I
prepared in that grinder. I traveled a lot at the time, taking the baby
with me, so I would just take the little grinder, and grind up something
good off my plate at a restaurant. He loved everything, ate very well, and
thrived. On a visit to Texas at 9 months, he ate and loved ground-up hot
tamales. He loved ground-up Chinese food, using wonton soup broth to liquefy
it a bit. At home, he ate what we ate; I just ground it up for him. Some
things are kind of dry when they're ground up (hamburgers or soy burgers,
even many vegetables). I would just add some appropriate liquid, like yogurt,
juice, water, soup broth - whatever was convenient and would taste good with
the ground food.

Making the kids' food was almost effortless! It was fun to create interesting
and healthy combinations from the food on our plates. The babies loved eating!
Neither of them have ever eaten a bite of jarred baby food, except that awful
first taste. Both of them have grown up healthy, strong, normal weight.
Neither of them have ever had an allergy (but then I don't either, although
their father had a lot of allergies and asthma), and have hardly even had
any kind of cold or childhood illness.

Morgan is now due to be born in 5 weeks! I plan to feed her the same way -- 
it's so easy, cheap, and I imagine she'll like it as much as her brothers did!


From: (Marjorie R Peskin)

>Does anyone have a good recommendation for a good baby food grinder?   I 
>have used by food processor ( I have a small one and a large one.. ), the 
>small one, and it doesn't grind the food up enough for my almost 8M old 
>daughter....  I almost need something that "liquidify's" the stuff... 

Any good Cuisinart will almost liquify the foods IF you add liquid
to the food.  My gastroenterologist told me that the gerber first foods
are almost 90% water!  Thats why they are so smooth.  I found that
addidn the liquid that I cook the veggies in is often not
enough to really make a good mush, so I add liquids like broth,
juice, etc.  Depends on what I am making.

I often make raviolis and mush them up in the Cuisinart with some
jar spaghetti sauce (I use the Classico 4 cheese, not too spicy
and taste great).  I add a bit of water and it gets mushy.  ANd
now I am adding less and less water and making the foods chunkier
so that they will get used to texture.

My neighbor uses the small cuisinart with great success, but you have
to make a new batch of food at every meal, rather than making a lot
and freezing it.


From: nancy@chemistry.Stanford.EDU (Nancy Hansen)

Stock up on ice-cube trays.  We have about 6 that are constantly
filled with various frozen vegetables and meats.  Be sure to
cover them with cellophane (especially if you have automatic defrost
in the freezer, since the food will evaporate), and you've got
cubes ready to microwave for quick meals.

From: (David M. Poduska)

As an alternative to Nancy Hansen's ice tray suggestion, one can
transfer the food to freezer bags AFTER it has been frozen in an ice
tray.  The freezer bags are more flexible than ice trays when you're
trying to fit them in a freezer with little space left, and you only
need 1 or 2 ice trays to freeze the food.

<3> HOW MUCH and HOW OFTEN to feed
>I have just discovered this group and have enjoyed reading the posts
>I have a 5 month old son who has been exclusively breastfed, now we  
>are trying to introduce rice cereal and hopefully some other foods.
>How much cereal should we be feeding him?  He eats what ever we give
>him with great enthusiasm ( well actually most of it ends up on his
>hands and me!) How many times a day?
>Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Feed him as much as he will eat! My daughter just loved to eat in the
morning. By 7 months she usually polished off two bowls right when she got
up. My son was more an afternoon snacker. I would work up to 3- 4 times a
day. One thing ( I breastfed my kids too) I found helpful was to use
reconstituted evaporated milk to mix the ceral with. I really never liked
expressing my milk, didn't have nay formula aroundthe house, what am I
supposed to mix this stuff with. Since the evaporated milk has been heat
treated, it's easier on the digestive system than whole cows milk. Cheaper
than formula, too! 

I got the idea from a book, Child of Mine, by Ellyn Satter. She's a
redistered dietician and socual worker who works at the University of
Wisconsin. ( And it's great book on child nutrition) [See section 

From: (Stephen Mounsey)

We went into parenting determined to do "the right thing" all the way along.
First off, demand feeding. Great in theory. "Your baby will stop feeding when 
he's had enough" they tell you. Alasdair would have fed 24 hours a day if we'd
let him. He _didn't_ know when he'd had enough he just fed and fed and fed until
he was sick. So we (very reluctantly) imposed 3 hourly feeds on him and he coped 
fine. We didn't rigidly enforce this regime, but it was the framework around
which we decided we had to work. 

We wanted to keep him off solids until he was 6 months old (_especially_ because
the grandmother-from-hell wanted him to be weened at about 6 weeks). But we
started him on baby rice at 4 months because we really believe that it made him 
happier than constant hunger while the milk supply filled up again. And he 
enjoyed eating - it was never an ordeal for Alasdair from the first spoonful.
We certainly didn't want to give him formula milk (wisely as it turned out)
and we kept him off gluten, but I don't think he came to any harm eating baby 
rice, and then fresh fruit and vegetables. By the time he went to nursery at
6.5 months he was a better eater than any of his compatriots in the baby room.

I can't imagine a happier or healthier baby than Alasdair so I don't think we 
did anything too wrong. By all means be guided by current ideas about good
child-rearing, but don't let them be a millstone round your neck. 


From: (Mike Dedek)

I would agree with those who advised giving him as much as he'll eat, with
the warning that (IMO) he should be getting 28-32 oz. of formula or b-milk per
day.  If he's eating so much that he doesn't want that much formula, you might
cut back.  I've read this as well as been advised this by our ped., and
it makes sense since the baby really doesn't _need_ solids to grow until
about 1 yr., but does need the nutrients (and liquid) in the milk.  I think
of solids as a supplement - if Mikey (7 mos.) is sick or tired and doesn't 
eat as much, we cut out solid meals before bottles.  And we don't really 
worry if he doesn't want his solids (rare!), but if he goes a couple of 
bottles without eating we do get concerned.

As far as feeding the solids, we started with rice cereal and added veggies,
then fruits, a new food every 3-5 days.  It's convienent and satisfactory to
Mikey to give him cereal, 3 foods, and a bottle at his 2nd and 4th or 5th
(brunch and dinner) feedings.  We've thought about going to 3 solid meals,
but he's doing fine and gets 25-35 oz. formula/day, so we don't want to
risk cutting down on formula.  Maybe when he starts getting teeth.

A "meal" is 2-4 tablespoons of cereal (mixed with formula), 2 veggies and 1
fruit (each food is an ice-cube size, about 2 tablespoons).  He'll take 
anywhere from 4-8 oz. of formula after the meal.

-Mike Dedek
dad to Mikey 5/24/93 and ??? 7/2/94!!!

[Since posting this, Mike's sig has been updated to:
-Mike Dedek
dad to Mikey 5/24/93 and Tessa 6/23/94!!! -- Ed]

From: (David M. Poduska)

If a baby is eating dairy products, such as yogurt or cheese, they do
not need as much formula/breastmilk.  Our pediatrician normally
recommends babies (6 MO) get anywhere from 10-32 oz of formula/breastmilk
per day, depending on how much other dairy products the baby is eating.

<4a>  Starches--Getting started and making them edible
From: (Monica L. Murphy)

Tarra didn't take to the cereal and formula idea at all...
So I mixed it with diluted apple juice and voila!  In a couple of days she
was eating four tablespoons or so of apple juice/water/cereal and washing
it down with about four ounces of formula.

Monica L. Murphy
mother to Tarra, who started eating solids at 4 months, just to give you a

From: (Tracy Larrabee)

>My doctor suggested that you
>put one teaspoon of cereal in an 8 ounce bottle the first day, two the
>second day and then finally three on the third day (unless there are any
>problems)  You shouldn't put cereal in every bottle.  Right now I am only
>giving my son two cereal (rice) bottles a day and he is doing just fine. 
>He still eats about every four hours but he can go as long as 5 to 6 hours
>after a cereal bottle. 

There are lots of different customs in the world and in history (25
years ago in this country they introduced solids very early and 100
years ago they said put off solids for a full year), but today many
doctors (and Penelope Leach, among others) recommend against putting
cereal in a bottle.  They say if you must feed cereal, use a spoon.
If the child can't eat from the spoon, he isn't ready for solids
(babies thrust their tongues forward when they are newborns and stop
at sometime after that, though I've seen pictures of newborns sucking
breastmilk off a spoon---I think it was in "BeastFeeding").  I
remember something about how putting solids in the bottle is like
putting too much formula powder in the bottle: it messes up the babies
sense of food/drink and it means he can only eat more when he really
needs to drink more.
Tracy Larrabee

<4b>  Starches--Recipes

Mushed Sweet Potatoes
------ ----- --------
Peel one huge sweet potato and cut into 1 inch chunks. Microwave five
minutes with half a cup of water. Stick it with a fork. If it's not soft
yet, repeat with additional two minute intervals in the microwave. When
it's soft, mush in the processor and freeze as for the peas. 

From: (Andy Lowry)

One of Lindsay's favorite foods is a Chinese dish called "jook"
(rhymes with "book").  I've seen it called "congee" as well.
Basically, it's rice cooked much longer than it has any business being
cooked.  It ends up being sort of the consistency of oatmeal, or it
can be served a bit watered down and it's like a thick soup.  You can
add just about anything you can think of to it for flavoring...
ground/shredded/sliced meat, fish, vegetables, ginger, garlic, etc.
For Lindsay, so far we have generally been keeping it pretty bland,
but recently she's started showing an interest in spicier foods so
maybe we'll start adding ginger or something.

Anyway, the general recipe is to just put some rice and about three
times as much water as you would normally use in a saucepan, bring it
to a boil, and then simmmer it until it becomes thick.  In the late
stages you can throw in ground meat (uncooked) or vegetables or
whatever, and let it cook during the remaining simmering time.  If
you're going to add spices, you may want to add them earlier.

We usually make a batch and then freeze it in an ice-cube tray, then
pop the cubes into a freezer bag and microwave two cubes at mealtime.

One of the nice things for Lindsay is that the jook is sticky enough
that pretty early on she could manage to scoop up a spoonful and get
it to her mouth without dropping it, even though on the way to her
mouth the spoon would be upside-down or vertical or whatever.

<5a>  Vegetables:  Getting started and making them edible
------------------------------------------------------------------------- (Mike Wheaton) writes:
> I am in need for recipes for Baby Food for a 8-month-old fussy eater.  He
> doesn't seem to like many of the "brand-name" baby foods because most of the
> meat-veggie combinations contain carrots.  

From: (Paula Burch)

I saw a couple of baby recipe books in a book store, but they were
stupid. Lots of complex things that include all sorts of ingredients and
take loads of time to make...if I'm going to cook, I'm going to make
enough for everybody! Plus they contain things I was wanting to hold off
on until the baby's a year old--my list is wheat, all dairy products, egg
whites, nuts, and citrus. (Recommendations for GOOD baby recipe books
hereby requested....) 

Will loves carrots, but I haven't given him any since his nose turned 
yellow. I wonder if I was feeding him too much beta-carotene, or if 
it was coming from my diet, since I eat a lot of carrots. I still feed him
sweet potatoes, though, as they're his favorite, and he seems to be getting
less yellow. (He's certainly not jaundiced, and his doctor says there's no
such thing as too much beta-carotene.)

Is anyone else appalled that the baby rice cereal in the grocery stores
is made from refined white rice? You have to go to a health food store
to buy whole grains for babies. Ridiculous.

Paula Burch


I've been experimenting with making baby food for my six-month-old, by 
cooking vegetables and running them through a food processor.  (FP is 
not exactly the right tool as it is designed to chop rather than puree, 
but it's what we've got.)

Caroline rejected the initial batch of carrots out of hand.  I hadn't
cooked them long enough, and ended up with finely ground, rather than
pureed, carrots.  Don't be afraid to cook the vegetables until they
are a little soft.  Let them whirl around in the Cuisinart for quite a
while, or use a mill.  The second batch of carrots was a big hit.
Spinach, surprisingly to me given how strong it tastes, has also been
a win.  Tofu, given a little water and enough time in the food
processor, will eventually turn into a nice smooth mess that babies
seem to enjoy.  You can add a drop of vanilla for variety.  Last week
we tried broccoli, which she gobbled up, but was very fussy that
evening.  Suspecting stomach upset, I'm holding off for another week
or so before I try any more of it.

Suggestions for non-vegatable eating children:

1) Frozen vegetables - serve frozen.  My kids love still frozen peas and corn.

2) Dipping sauces - serve broccoli with a dish of melted butter and a little
	lemon juice squeezed in it and let the child dip the broccoli in the
	sauce  (carrots, asparagus, etc. can be used.  I recommend against
	artichokes at this age, however).

3) Corn ON the cob - slice the corn into about 1" thick wheels with the corn

4) Let them cut the vegies, using a dull knife, of course.  Baby carrots are
	best, but broccoli can be cut by a small child with a butter knife.
	Kids like eating things they helped make.  And they LOVE having their
	parents eat them.

All of the above work well in our house.  Of course, my children really enjoy
most foods.  They'd rather eat oranges than chocolate (really).  I attribute
this to their having more access to chocolate than fruit.  Fruit's a treat.

1. Stuff that sticks to the spoon is great.  My 16 mo. old has her
best luck with foods such as mashed potatoes, Yoplait Custard Style yogurt,
rice with a cheese sauce, etc. 

2. Sometimes it even works to mix up stuff in the 'sticky'
bean pieces in mashed potatoes, chopped-up fruit in yogurt, little pieces
of broccoli in rice w/ cheese sauce. (This mixing is riskier, because I
have seen my daughter take one bite, SIGH, and painstakingly pick out all
the chunks I have mixed in, or refuse it altogether.  But more and more,
she just eats it...they taste good!).

2. Get several children's forks (regular [metal] forks, only made for
kids so that the tines are really pretty dull, with a short, fat handle.)
Spear his peas for him with one fork, and leave it sitting on his plate
for him to pick up.  While he's eating with that fork, load the next one.
Three forks guarantees that he has one for each hand and that you have
one to load.  (You will have to somehow get a fork back from him every
now and then)

The above suggestions will help him get some food in his mouth, but 
should also encourage him to do more and more himself (at least they
seem to work like this for my daughter.)

<5b>  Vegetables:  Recipes

Mushed Peas
------ ----
Microwave half of a 20 ounce bag of frozen peas five mintues on high with
a half cup of water. Stir, and microwave another 4 or 5 minutes. Put in
food processor and puree until there are no more lumps. Put today's peas
in a bowl and put the rest into an ice cube tray. A standard ice cube
tray holds one pint--16 ounces--and, conveniently, usually has 16 cubes
in it. Cool in the refrigerator first before freezing. I microwave two
frozen cubes for 50 seconds, then stir until VERY well mixed and test by
sticking my finger into it. Experiment with your microwave times and the
amount of water you add--you may want to add more in the processor.

Jarred baby peas taste like canned peas, and I'd rather give yummy 
frozen peas to my baby. He seems to appreciate them more, and the 
almost fluorescent bright green color is fun.

Paula Burch

From: (David M. Poduska)

Of course, Paula's recipe for mushed peas carries over to other frozen
vegetables, such as carrots, beans and corn.  I tend to follow the
directions on the bag and then add a minute to the final cooking time;
the softer the vegetables are, the less work that needs to be done when
using the food processor.  You may also need to add extra water in the
processor, especially with carrots since they aren't soft.

From: nancy@chemistry.Stanford.EDU (Nancy Hansen)

I find Thomas really enjoys banana squash boiled for a long (about 20
minutes) time.  It has a stringy consistency which makes it almost
finger food, and it freezes very well in ice-cube trays.

He also enjoys peas when they're mixed with yogurt and applesauce.  Go

<6a>  Fruit...getting started and making it edible
>>One friend suggested *peeled* grapes and bits of melon cut very small,
>>because they're slippery and easily swallowed. Is this okay?

Even unpeeled grapes can be a choking hazard!  As for melon, make
sure to cut away ALL of the rind or hard part near the rind.

>Just a nifty trick we discovered: to peel grapes (for feeding to a
>molarless infant), slice them in half and then scoop the good stuff
>out using one of those small melon-ball gadgets.  Works like a breeze!

The only thing we watch out for is choking hazards, and grapes
would be one - we slice them if we have the time/knife, or just spilt them
with our fingers if we are in a hurry/don't have a knife.  Never bothered
removing the skins, and he doesn't seem to mind.  (We also leave the skins
on potatoes).

From: nancy@chemistry.Stanford.EDU (Nancy Hansen)

Some folks recommend waiting to introduce fruit until after lots of 
veggies, thinking that kids will reject the veggies for the sweeter
fruit.  We did this with Thomas, and he still rejects the veggies :-)

From: (Stephen Mounsey)

Someone asked:
>Hello; I have a 5 month old who weighs in at 21lbs and doesn't seem to 
>fill up with the stage 1 foods. My question is about processing table 
>food {blender} or canned fruit. Can it be done at this stage? Can I use
>canned fruit? Obviously it would be a great advantage to feeding time.

Absolutely. At 5 months old our son was pretty much exclusively fed on
home processed food - _steamed_ fresh vegetables, fresh fruit (avoid
strawberries due to allergy risks and oranges due to their laxative effect -
good fruits to try are nectarines, peaches and kiwi fruit (Chinese gooseberry)),
and some tinned fruit (especially apricots) in juice not syrup. Good vegetables 
are marrow, courgette (zucchini), broccoli, potato, cauliflower (watch out for 
wind!), lentils, peas, carrot...... And stewed apple or pear is great (mix in a 
bit of baby rice if you want more body). Some things are fairly obvious but 
deserve repeating - _never_ add salt or sugar at any stage. And chillis are 
probably out :-) 


From: (David M. Poduska)

If you want to give your baby fruit, but live someplace where fruit is
prohibitively expensive, or even unavailable (at certain times of the
year), you can use canned fruit.  Del Monte even has all natural peaches,
pears and fruit cocktails, so you can avoid the sugar in the syrup of
many types of canned fruit.

<6b>  Fruit--recipes
From: Debra Haas <Debra.Haas@LBB.STATE.TX.US>

Apricots - when the fresh ones are too expensive or not
available, I buy the dried ones (Turkish are the best - really
moist) and put them in a pan and cover them with water. 
Bring the water to a boil then turn the flame off.  Let the
apricots soak in the water about 30 minutes, until they are
plump.  Then put apricots and some water in the food
processor.  Puree - adding water from the pan (it contains
good flavor and nutrients) until the mixture is smooth enough
for baby to eat.  These are really yummy.

Pears - buy fresh pears (we like Bartletts), peal and poach
(about 2 minutes per pear in the microwave).  Place the
pears (no water!) in the food processor and puree.  Another

Raspberry applesauce - not the stuff you buy from Motts - it
has starch and colors in it - yuk.  Buy organic applesauce
and frozen raspberries.  Defrost the raspberries and put them
in a food processor.  Puree.  Add applesauce and pulse in
the processor until the raspberries are mixed in.  (Be sure to
use a bib when feeding this one - it stains).

Hope people enjoy these.

<7a> Meats:  The basics and making them edible.
From: (james.mumper)

>In article <> (Anne-Marie K. Gorman) writes:
>>We make our own baby food, but we're having trouble with meat.  It
>>comes out of the blender as lots of little fibres surrounded by water,
>>not as a puree or even a lumpy puree.  The babies hate it!  Does any-
>>one have any suggestions?  

We boil chicken breasts with various veggies for flavor.  After it cools off
we grind up about 1oz in the blender.  Mix with about 2 1/2 tablespoons of
low-fat plain yogurt and some wheat germ.  Libby loves it!!


From: (Susan Gauch)

We wait until the baby is ready for lumpy foods (about 6-7 months with
Brian).  Then, I dice soft meat very finely with a sharp knife and mix
it with pureed vegetables.  Dinner consists of this mixture, pureed
fruit, and cheerios (after the spoonfed food).  I've used my own
poached chicken and pork chop, and fried hamburger recently.  I
started with canned chicken or tuna.  Recently, I used turkey and
roast beef cold cuts.  

The first few times, I put a little meat in a lot of veggies.  Gradually
increase the proportion of meat (and chunkiness).  Quick, easy, and
tastes better than the jarred baby meats.  Well, it smells better.
Never could bring myself to TASTE the baby meats.  That's when I decided
to skip them altogether.  I mean, how could I expect them to eat food
I wouldn't even taste?
Susan Gauch

In article <>
   (Amy Moseley Rupp) writes:
>We gave Elizabeth some Gerber baby food 2nd foods chicken--UGGGGHHH!!!
>It stinks, the texture is that of sandy water, and it doesn't even taste
>much like chicken.  She doesn't think much of it.
>Can one make chicken & puree for babies?

From: (Marjorie R Peskin)

I make pureed chicken for the babies all the time.  Its easy and
tastes good, and they like it.

How to make chicken mush:

Take several chicken breasts (boneless) and rinse them off.
Put them in a pot with about 4 cups of water.  Add
one onion, one carrot, one celery stalk.  You can add a 
garlic clove if you like, its optional.

Boil these all together for about a half hour, till the
chicken is throughily cooked.

Put the hot chicken, and the carrot in the cuisinart. 
Turn it on to mince the meat.  Then add the stock a bit
at a time until you get the consistency you desire.

Spoon into ice cube trays, top with plastic wrap and freeze.
When frozen, place cubes in a ziploc freezer bag and voila!

Don't add the celery or onion because even tho they are cooked
they don't mush up right and could cause a young baby to choke.

Hope this helps.

Marjorie can do this with chopped turkey as well.  And thats really cheap.

<7b> Meats:  Recipes

Mushed Beef
------ ----
Buy one pound of well-trimmed stew beef (I bought "all-natural" stuff
from the health food store); brown a little bit in a non-stick pan, then
add a cup of water and cook gently until soft enough to cut with a wooden
spoon--about two hours. Treat as above, but then be sure to mix with
something cohesive such as brown rice cereal (which I prepare with
mother's milk) or with mushed peas--the meat is a little hard to swallow,
straight. Makes enough for one tray plus a little bowl to keep unfrozen.

Mushed Turkey
------ ------
I microwaved this, but it was less successful. Will will not accept it
unless it's mixed with at least twice as many cubes of peas. I think
dark meat would have been more acceptable, treated as for beef, above, to
break down the connective tissue. The gelatin content would make it
gooey-er and therefore better in the baby's opinion.

Mushed Egg Yolk
------ --- ----
Egg yolk mushes better with a fork when it's boiled before separating 
than when you separate it and then microwave it. Will likes it a lot, 
mixed with a bit of mother's milk. 

Paula Burch

<9>  Flavor--Do babies like spicy foods?

> Adults like spices w/chicken--do babies really LIKE unspiced foods,
> or are spices bad for babies? 

One reason we need to spice chicken is that we buy the
nationally-advertised factory-produced stuff that doesn't really taste
like chicken.  Look for locally-raised chicken -- maybe in a Kosher
butcher or a health-food store. Babies have very subtle taste buds.
What seems hopelessly bland to us is full of novelty to them.  Make
your baby's food out of fresh, high-quality and flavorful stuff and
don't overwhelm them with spices.

One thing to avoid is salt --- it is reputed to  put an unnecessary
load on babies' kidneys, and they seem quite happy without it. 

From: (Joanne Cook)

>We gave Elizabeth some Gerber baby food 2nd foods chicken--UGGGGHHH!!!

>It stinks, the texture is that of sandy water, and it doesn't even taste
>much like chicken.  She doesn't think much of it.

I agree - the babyfoods meats and mixed dinners are disgusting.

>Can one make chicken & puree for babies?  Adults like spices w/chicken--
>do babies really LIKE unspiced foods, or are spices bad for babies?

Weelll, the first real food that Colin had (aside from single fruits/veg
purees) was a pasta/chicken/leek/mushroom thing that I was eating - gave him a
taste, figuring he'd hate it, and he wolfed down about 1/3 cup - I was
mashing as fast as he was eating.  The next night was a thai chicken/coconut
milk/lemongrass sort of curry, not terribly hot, but very spicy - loved it.
 He was about 8 months old at the time.

Now he's almost 14 months, and loves anything spicy/hot/garlicky, and seems
to be thriving.  We're going through the no veggies phase, but he will eat
as much guacamole as offered (hey, I want _some_ for myself) and fresh
tomato salsa. His digestive system seems impervious to these assaults and he's
gaining weight nicely - he was early, only 5 lb, and is now up to 23 - yay!

So my .02 would be to try it out with Amy and see if she likes spicy food,
and if it adversely affects her, then wait a month or so, and try again.
Colin's fine - his grandmothers, on the other hand, are utterly horrified

Joanne Cook

<9a> Printed References--Baby food cookbooks (all recommended at least once on
AUTHOR:       Knight                                                        
TITLE:        Baby Cookbook: Revised                                        
IMPRINT:      Morrow, William & Co., 1992. (Paperbound. ISBN:0-688-10358-8) 
PRICE:        $13.00                                                        
AUTHOR:       Satter                                                       
TITLE:        Child of Mine 2/E                                            
IMPRINT:      Publishers Group West, 1991. (Paperbound. ISBN:0-923521-14-3)
PRICE:        $14.95                                                       
AUTHOR:       Lansky
TITLE:        Feed Me I'm Yours 2/E
IMPRINT:      Simon & Schuster Trade, 1994. (Paperbound. ISBN:0-671-88443-3)
PRICE:        $9.00

<9b> WWW References (including vegan diets)

International Food Information Council Foundation

    The IFIC is a non-profit organization providing scientific information
    on food safety and nutrition.  The IFIC homepage is located at

    The IFIC has an "Info for Parents" page located at

    And, of particular relevance under the "Info for Parents" page is a
    pamphlet on stating solids, located at

Beech-Nut Home Page

    By one of the major baby food manufacturers, this site includes an
    FAQ, feeding tips, and, of course, plugs for all the Beech-Nut

Healthtouch Online

    Provides info from trusted organizations, including a guide to Infant,
    Child, and Teen Nutrition written by the American Dietetic Association.

Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG)

    A non-profit organization promoting vegetarian diets.  Two of their
    publications are "Feeding Vegan Kids" and "Wholesome Baby Foods from
    Scratch" which can be found, respectively, at the following URLs

Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom

    A charitable organization promoting vegatarianism.  Two of their online
    information sheets are "Infant Diet" and "Vegetarian Nutrition for
    Children" which can be found, respectively, at the following URLs

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