Teething usually starts around 6 months of age; but, like everything with babies, there is a range and some won’t get any teeth until later. Your baby can mash food between his gums, but you may be concerned about what to feed him until those first pearly whites appear. There are plenty of soft, easy-to-chew snack foods that are safe for your toothless tyke.
You need to hold off on milk until your little one reaches a year, but the American Academy of Pediatrics states you can offer yogurt after the 6-month mark. Check with your pediatrician first if your baby has a milk allergy or intolerance. Most children in the U.S. don’t meet calcium requirements, and yogurt is an excellent source of this nutrient. By introducing it early, you’ll help establish a taste for this high-calcium food that will benefit your baby's bones and teeth for years to come. Choose pasteurized, whole-milk yogurts and avoid too much added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Your little one may spit out a lot of vegetables the first time around, but most babies gobble up sweet potatoes because they are, as the name suggests, sweet-tasting. They also provide your baby with potassium, vitamin C, fiber and beta-carotene, making them a nutrient-dense food to fill your little one’s tummy. Mash them and spoon-feed them to your baby or cook them hard enough for your little one to pick up, but soft enough for him to chew with his gums.
Most babies love the taste of fruit, and you can easily make most fruits into a soft, easy-to-pick-up snack. Fruits contain important vitamins, minerals and fiber essential for healthy growth and development. Offer very ripe fruits, such as peaches, kiwi, pears and bananas, so they're soft enough. Remove the skin and cut it into pea-sized chunks. Don’t forget avocado, which has more protein than any other fruit and contains healthy fat for your baby.
Macaroni and Cheese
There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of mac and cheese for a snack. Pasta is enriched with iron and B vitamins. Whole-grain pasta has fiber, too, but its harder texture makes it more difficult for your baby to get down. Offer over-cooked, cut-up pieces of pastas like rotini, ziti or orzo and shredded cheese. Shredded cheese is easy to pick up and doesn’t pose a choking hazard. Cottage cheese is also an option because your baby can pick up the curds and swallow them.