Parents are under intense pressure to introduce their children to nutritious foods as early as possible. And the advice on how to do this has changed dramatically over the years, from breast milk to formula to commercial baby food, back to the breast, and then homemade organic broccoli mash. (See What’s Best for Baby’s Tummy? The History of Baby Food.)
When a baby reaches four to six months old in the U.S., she is commonly treated to spoonfuls of bland rice cereal or oatmeal, followed by a slow and careful parade of fruits and vegetables like avocado, sweet potato, banana, carrots, and peaches. Then there’s the question of when to introduce peanuts or shellfish, which could cause an allergic reaction in sensitive babies, and there’s the warnings against honey, which should be avoided in the first year, due to a slight but potentially deadly risk of botulism.
But in other countries, the approach seems a little more relaxed—just mash up what the adults are eating and give the baby a taste. This may explain why baby palates in other countries develop more broadly than those in the U.S., where children seem almost programmed to go for chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese.
Cumin, rosemary, ginger and even mildly spicy peppers mixed into baby’s meal are now considered OK by U.S. pediatricians who may not have recommended them in decades past, but it’s taking awhile to catch on with parents.
No matter what you decide to feed your little one first, it’s practically a requirement that they have at least one photo of themselves with birthday cake smashed on their face that can be used for blackmail later. So enjoy our Your Shot gallery of babies and food.