You’re at that magical 6-month mark and your little one is showing all the signs of readiness – he watches you intently while you eat, seems constantly hungry, and has started trying to grab at your sandwich. Well, you won’t be sharing that tuna salad on rye for a while yet, but your baby is letting you know he’s ready for that next big step. While you begin to choose new foods to supplement baby’s staple diet of breast milk or formula, it’s important to keep in mind his changing need for iron. Health Canada recommends babies between six and twelve months should be offered iron-rich foods two or more times a day. 
So we are all familiar with good sources of iron such as meat and alternatives, but it’s going to be a while before baby is ready for a steak or a handful of cashews! In the meantime, be sure to choose an iron fortified baby cereal. As a do-it-yourself momma who purchased a grand total of 3 jars of baby food (more on that later!) I was confident from day 1 in feeding my daughter store-bought baby cereal. Nestle Gerber cereals are iron-fortified, and free of preservatives, artificial colours and flavours.
The dietician at my local well baby clinic recommended that I purchase baby cereal rather than make my own, and her reasoning was that baby cereals such as Nestle Gerber brand are specially formulated for babies with the iron they need, and are made to be easily digestible at each stage of development.
This is what I love about the Nestle Gerber line of baby cereals:
- Easy colour coded stages from starters (easy to digest single grain cereal) to toddlers (multi-grain with added fruits) make in-store decisions quick and painless.
- You can choose “add milk” or “add water” varieties. When you start off, you can use your own breast milk or formula to mix the cereal. This gives it a familiar taste to help baby become accustomed to the whole new world of solids! Don’t have time to pump? The “add water” varieties already have formula mixed in.
- As your baby grows, the stages introduce new grains and fruits to help expose your baby to a variety of tastes and grains as he or she is ready to digest them.
Now my baby would have preferred if I had fed her nothing but cereal, but I was determined to introduce her to a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and meats.
Nothing could be easier than making your own baby food. All you need is a stove or microwave and a fork. Really! I used these simple steps with sweet potato, apple, broccoli, green beans, peas, carrots etc.
1. Wash and peel (if necessary) the fruit or vegetable
2. Cook in water on stove or in microwave until very soft
3. Remove from water and start mashing with the fork – add a little water to soften if necessary
4. Place globs of your nice mushy veggies into a clean ice cube tray
5. Once frozen you can store your baby food cubes in labeled zipper-top bags (don’t forget the date!)
6. Defrost a cube for feeding any time
I personally made 6 months’ worth of food in a single afternoon (and really it was probably more like an hour).
So, I mentioned that I bought 3 jars of baby food – that would be beef, turkey and chicken. I do not own a food processor and I didn’t think my fork mashing would work very well on meat. My little girl found it about as appetizing as you would – pureed meat was not a big hit, and those three jars went completely uneaten after several attempts. We just waited until she had some teeth and was able to eat little chunks of meat as a finger food, and I would probably go the same route again.
Starting solids is an exciting milestone in your baby’s life. Check out the contest below to help get you started!
Enter to WIN a “Feeding Time Fun” prize pack!
Valued at over $100 the prize pack includes:
- Three boxes of Nestlé Gerber Cereal
- Safety 1st Recline & Grow 5-stage Feeding Seat
- Gerber snack bowls
- Gerber Kiddy Cutlery 3-Pc Set
- Babies R Us 10 pack bibs
- Babies R Us – 12-pack super soft washcloths
A guest post by Meg – a mom of 1 spirited little girl and a dedicated elementary school teacher
Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Nestle Gerber Baby. All opinions are strictly my own.