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How to cook baby’s first meat

As your baby begins to try foods for the first time, it is important that he or she eat foods that are rich in iron and zinc. Iron is a key nutrient that is important for babies’ growing bodies and brains. Meats – like chicken, turkey and beef – are full of iron and can make a great first food your baby.

Here are steps to cook ground beef for your baby:

Step 1: Prepare the ground beef
Place ground beef and about ½ cup of water in a saucepan

Step 2: Cook the meat
Cook over medium-high heat until meat is cooked thoroughly and no longer pink (approximately 6 to 8 minutes). Ground meat should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 3: Puree or Serve as a Finger Food
For a smoother texture, you can puree the beef in a blender. Add water, breast milk or infant formula and blend until it is smooth.

Now enjoy watching your baby pump that iron! And remember, talk to your child’s pediatrician or health care provider about any questions or concerns.

To learn more, check out these additional resources related to this topic:

Frequently Asked Questions

How to win at mealtime

Your baby is hungry… now what?

With these helpful hints, mealtime can be as easy as Ready, Set, Go!

  • Get Ready: Before you feed your baby, wash your hands and theirs.
  • Get Set: Set your baby in a high chair so that he or she is sitting up-right. And help set the mood by removing distractions, like cell phones and TV.
  • Go! Go ahead and get into it! Show your baby just how yummy food can be. Don’t forget to smile and make eye contact while you’re feeding your little one.
  • All-Finished: Your baby will let you know when he or she is finished eating by turning his or her head, closing his or her mouth or pushing away food. Every day can be different so trust your baby to show you when he or she is full.

And remember, this is not actually a race! So let you your little one explore, have fun and get messy! You’re helping your baby develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.

And as always, talk to your child’s pediatrician or health care provider about any questions or concerns.

To learn more, check out these additional resources related to this topic:

Frequently Asked Questions

What to expect when introducing first foods

So your baby is ready to try foods for the first time? Great!

As a first step: Start with a small amount of a single-ingredient food. As a tip, you can put a small amount into a bowl for your baby to sample, and then store the rest in the refrigerator or freezer to use later – this helps to save money and avoid waste.

Now here’s what to expect as you introduce a new food:

  • Expect a Funny Face. Funny faces are perfectly normal as babies taste different flavors and textures.
  • Expect to Try…and Try Again. It can take 10 to 20 different times before a baby learns to like a new food. Give your baby a chance to try foods again and again, even if your baby does not like them at first. Babies may need to try some foods many times before they like them. Here are some tips that might make trying foods again and again easier:
    • Wait a week before you try the new food again.
    • Try mixing the new food with a food your baby likes, such as breast milk.
    • Remember that it may take more tries for your baby to learn to like vegetables (because of their bitter taste) than other healthy foods like fruits (which are sweet). Continue offering a variety of vegetables, and let your child decide when he or she is ready to start eating them. Be patient and keep trying.
  • Expect a Mess. Messy meals are part of the experience, but it can leave you wondering… Did my baby actually eat anything? Well here’s how you can tell…
  • Expect a Poopy Diaper: You can tell your baby is eating by a change in his or her poop’s texture and color. More solid food means more solid poop. And don’t be surprised if the poop oddly resembles the food that he or she just ate. Did I see a pea in the diaper?

And here’s one final tip! Wait 3-5 days before introducing a new food, especially if there is a family history of food allergies.

But most importantly, HAVE FUN! You’re developing your baby’s taste buds for years to come. And remember, talk to your child’s pediatrician or health care provider about any questions or concerns.

To learn more, check out these additional resources related to this topic:

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should I feed my baby?

Wondering how much to feed your baby? Here’s a tip: Learn to read his or her hunger and fullness cues and you’ll always know when and how much to feed your baby.

Babies will let you know if they are hungry or full, but you have to watch for the signs. There are lots of ways your baby might tell you what he or she needs.

Your baby may be hungry if he or she:

  • Reaches for or points to food
  • Opens his or her mouth when offered a spoon or food
  • Gets excited when he or she sees food
  • Uses hand motions or sounds when offered food

… and if no one listens to these cues, then your hungry baby may get “HANGRY”!

Your baby may be full if he or she:

  • Closes his or her mouth when food is offered
  • Turns his or her head away from food
  • Pushes food away or shakes his or her head “no”

When it comes to feeding – whether it’s breast milk, infant formula or food – let your baby decide how much he or she wants at that time. Your baby does not need to finish a bottle or all of the food on the plate. Food is not a good reward or punishment.

And remember, talk to your child’s pediatrician or health care provider about any questions or concerns.

To learn more, check out these additional resources related to this topic:

Frequently Asked Questions

What should your baby be drinking?

Now that your baby is trying foods, are you also wondering what drinks he or she should try? Between 6-12 months, babies only need to drink breast milk and/or formula AND water. That’s it!

  • Breast milk and/or formula. Continue feeding your baby breastmilk and/or formula throughout your baby’s first year. It will remain your baby’s main source of nutrition even as you start to introduce foods.
  • Once you start introducing foods, you can also start to give your baby water in a cup (about 4 ounces). But just plain water. Using a cup (with a lid is fine for early learners) will help your baby to develop the motor skills needed for feeding him or herself.

And for the record, your baby does NOT need the following drinks in the first year:

  • Cow’s milk. Drinking cow’s milk before 1-year-old can cause intestinal damage to your baby.
  • Alternative milks. Alternative milks like soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, etc. should not substitute breast milk and/or formula in the first year.
  • Sugary drinks. Juice (yes, even 100% juice), soda, tea/coffee, horchata, etc. should be avoided in the first year.

And remember, talk to your child’s pediatrician or health care provider about any questions or concerns.

To learn more, check out these additional resources related to this topic:

Frequently Asked Questions

What foods should my baby avoid?

Before your baby turns 1, there are some foods you should avoid giving him or her. Some foods should be avoided because they could cause sickness or safety concerns, while other foods should be avoided because they are unhealthy.

Foods to avoid include:

  • Cow’s milk: Drinking cow’s milk before age 1 may put your baby at risk for intestinal bleeding. Instead of cow’s milk use breast milk or infant formula before age 1.
  • Alternative milks: Alternative milks like soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, oat milk, etc. should not substitute breast milk or formula in the first year.
  • Honey: Honey (even as an ingredient) may cause a serious health problem called botulism. Your child can start to try honey and foods that contain honey only after he or she is 1-year-old.
  • Sugary drinks: Sugary drinks like fruit juice (even 100% juice), soda, tea/coffee or horchata encourage babies to crave sugary foods and can cause cavities, even before your baby has all of his or her teeth.
  • Salty foods: Foods that are high in salt, also known as sodium, should be avoided because babies’ kidneys can’t handle too much salt. Check food labels to find foods low in sodium.
  • Choking hazards: Small, hard foods pose high risks of choking. Common foods that are most risky include nuts, popcorn, hot dogs and whole grapes. As a tip, you can cut grapes into small pieces and then serve them to your baby. And just remember, anything can be a choking hazard so be sure to watch your baby carefully as he or she eats.

By knowing the foods to avoid, you can keep your baby healthy and safe!

And remember, talk to your child’s pediatrician or health care provider about any questions or concerns.

To learn more, check out these additional resources related to this topic:

Frequently Asked Questions

What should your baby eat in the first year?

When your baby is 6-12 months old, it is important to start getting him or her onboard with a variety of healthy foods, including:

  • Different food groups. Introduce your baby to a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and proteins.
  • Different colors. Encourage your baby to eat bright colored foods like green broccoli, orange sweet potato, yellow banana, red strawberries, black beans, and more!
  • Different textures. Between ages 6-12 months your baby will be ready to try different food textures including smooth, chunky and soft finger foods.

But remember, your baby is still learning how to chew and swallow so be sure to watch your baby closely when he or she eats because anything could be a chocking hazard, especially foods that are small and/or hard. As a tip, you can soften foods by cooking them or pureeing them into a smoother texture.

By introducing a variety of nutritious foods now you are teaching your baby healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime. So have fun with it. You’ve got this!

And remember, talk to your child’s pediatrician or health care provider about any questions or concerns.

To learn more, check out these additional resources related to this topic:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is your baby ready to start eating foods?

How do you know if your baby is ready for foods other than breast milk or infant formula? Every baby is different – but you can look for these signs to tell that your baby is developmentally ready to start trying foods:

  • Your baby has good head control. Your baby can keep his or her head in a steady, upright position.
  • Your baby can sit up with little or no support. Your baby needs to be able to sit upright in a highchair to swallow well.
  • Your baby is able to grab objects. Your baby uses his or her hands to grab and hold onto objects, like a spoon.
  • Your baby shows interest in what others are eating. Your baby opens his or her mouth and leans forward when food is offered.
  • Your baby is about 6 months old. At around 6 months of age your baby’s gut has developed to digest foods other than breast milk or formula.

If your baby can do ALL of these things then he or she is ready to try first foods.

Breast milk and/or formula will remain a key source of nutrition for your baby throughout his or her first year. But by introducing a variety of nutritious foods beginning around 6 months you can teach your baby healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime. So have fun with it. You’ve got this!

And remember, talk to your child’s pediatrician or health care provider about any questions or concerns.

To learn more, check out these additional resources related to this topic:

Frequently Asked Questions