My 7½-month-old son doesn't like to eat baby food. He will eat crackers and cookies that I buy in the baby section at the store, but will not eat the jarred food. I have been giving him carrots and potatoes that I've cooked with our family meals; is this okay? Should I be concerned and take him to see the doctor. He is gaining weight (20 lbs.) and drinks about 40 oz. of formula a day.
Allie, babies have their preferences for the tastes and textures of foods, just as adults do. Your baby seems to prefer the taste and texture of your home-cooked food, which might be a sign of good taste! There’s no harm in continuing to try giving your son the jarred foods once in a while, since he might change his mind. But you don’t need to force him to eat jarred baby food as long as he’ll eat the table food you prepare for him.
Jarred baby foods are merely a convenience; they’re no more nutritious than table foods. It involves a little extra work now to puree your own baby food by hand or with a food mill or electric blender. But there are advantages to giving your baby table food instead of jarred baby food: you can ensure that the food he eats is fresh and nutritious with no added salt, sugar or preservatives; your son gets used to your food from the start and doesn’t have to make any transitions from the jarred food to your table food; and you save money from not having to buy jarred food.
In addition to crackers and cooked carrots and potatoes, give your son baby cereal and a wide variety of pureed fruits, vegetables and meats. Try each new food for a few days at a time to make sure your baby isn’t allergic to it. Try sweet potatoes, squash, peas, beans, bananas, pears, peaches, plums, applesauce, pureed chicken and beef, and yogurt. Soon your son will be able to eat table food with more texture, such as scrambled egg yolks (wait until after 12 months to give egg whites since they can cause allergies), well-cooked pasta, mushy rice, tofu, cooked beans, and small chunks of cheese and meat.
Over the next six months, your son should be eating more and more solid food, and drinking less milk. Aim for no more than 24-32 oz. of milk a day. If he continues to drink 40 oz. of milk a day, he’ll get filled up on milk and not have an appetite for solid foods. Try feeding your son the solid foods first, when he’s most hungry, and then give him his milk afterwards. You can also start teaching him to drink his milk from a cup so he’ll be good at drinking from the cup by 12-18 months of age and be better able to give up the bottle.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.