You can introduce foods with more than one ingredient – such as soup, cereal, and pasta – once your baby is comfortable eating solid food and has tried each ingredient separately without having an allergic reaction.
When first introducing solid food, offer single ingredients – meat, a vegetable, or a fruit – in the form of a puree. Wait three to five days before introducing another new food to make sure that your baby doesn't have an allergic reaction.
Keep a running list (on your phone or taped to the fridge) of the foods you've introduced. If your baby has a reaction to any food, note that on your list.
As your list grows, you can combine foods your baby has successfully tried (without any adverse reaction) and add additional ingredients, such as spices. For example:
- Easy combos: Mix foods that your baby is already eating. Puree bananas and mangoes together, swirl pureed prunes into oatmeal, or blend meat and a veggie. Once your baby can handle thin purees, you can introduce thicker purees and soft mashes – root vegetables make a great first mash.
- Tasty additions: Flavor vegetables with lemon juice, butter, or olive oil. Sprinkle cinnamon over apple and pear sauce, cumin on pureed lamb, or nutmeg on mashed sweet potato. Roast garlic and puree with meat, or sauté and then puree onions with spinach, kale, or chard. Don't add salt or sweeteners, especially not honey.
- A growing menu: Expand your baby's palate by continuing to build on familiar flavors. For example, once your baby is eating avocado and yogurt (two of our 10 best foods for babies), squeeze in some lime juice to make baby guacamole. When you make the next batch, add fresh cilantro.
Premade food. When you're shopping for premade food, such as soup, look for products that contain real-food ingredients (vegetables, meat, fruit, grains, and so on) that your baby has already tried. To make it easier to find foods in this category, look for ones with fewer ingredients. If your baby is okay with wheat and eggs separately, for example, try small pieces of cooked egg noodles.
Avoid additives such as sweeteners, salt, and artificial colors.
Read cereal labels carefully. O-shaped oat cereal may contain corn and wheat starches, so be sure your baby tolerates wheat and corn individually, in addition to oats, before offering cereal that contains all three.
Baked goods. Baked goods always contain multiple ingredients, including leavening agents like baking soda, baking powder, and yeast. You can't introduce those separately, of course, but fortunately they're unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.
Introduce baked goods the same way you would any new food, waiting three to five days before introducing another new food, to see if your baby has an adverse reaction.
Once your baby has eaten a grain and had no reaction, you can test simple bread (flour, yeast, and water) made with that grain. Begin by pinching off small pieces (less than a half inch), which can literally melt in his mouth. As your little one gets older and more adept at chewing, you can introduce teething biscuits for gnawing on.