The Novice Parent’s Guide To Baby Food

The Novice Parent’s Guide To Baby Food

Moms and dads who are expecting their second, third, or fourth child are already experts when it comes to baby food. For first-time parents, the grocery store shelves can seem overwhelming. To be sure, there are many types from which to choose and it’s not always clear how long they’ll keep or how to prepare them. In this article, we’ll bring novice parents up to speed on the solid meals they’re providing their infants.

What’s Inside The Jar?

Baby food manufacturers learned long ago that adults aren’t the only ones who enjoy variety in their meals. While you can still purchase meals consisting of individual vegetables and fruits, you can also buy them mixed. That said, it’s a good idea to stick to the single-ingredient jars until you’re certain your little one will tolerate and enjoy the blends.

Going Through The Stages

Your child may have graduated from breast milk or formula to solids, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready for “chunky” options. Many manufacturers have begun to include development stages on their jars. For babies who have recently made the jump to solids, Stage 1 pureed products are appropriate. Babies who have been eating solids for awhile might be ready for Stage 3 products. Including the stages on the labeling makes it easy for first-time parents to select a suitable option.

Buying Organic

A pureed strawberry mix might look benign, but it’s likely that pesticides were used at some point before that product appeared on the store shelves. A lot of moms and dads are vigorously opposed to feeding their babies anything on which chemicals were used. Instead, they buy organic baby food. This is entirely a personal decision. The most important thing is that your little one receives the nutrients she needs in order to develop properly. In other words, don’t cut back on key veggies just to avoid chemicals. That will do more long-term harm than good.

Storing Leftovers

Unless your infant has a consistently large appetite, you’ll find yourself putting opened bottles of baby food back into the refrigerator. It’s important to follow the manufacturers’ suggestions (when they’re available) regarding how long they’ll keep before you have to discard them. As a general rule of thumb, throw away any jars with traces of meat or fish after 24 hours. Jars consisting only of fruits and veggies will last for two or three days. Anything put into the freezer can last a month, but keep in mind it won’t taste the same to your little one.

Think of choosing the right baby food as one part practicality and one part adventure. The labeling makes it easier than ever for novice parents to navigate the selections available. At the same time, it’s difficult to tell what your little one will enjoy until you feed her. The good news is that it won’t take long for you to become a bona fide baby food expert.

Author: ParentingMaven

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