Whether they are rocking back and forth on hands and knees, responding to their own name, or even sporting their first tooth, there are many milestones to look forward to when your little one crosses that 6-month mark.
One of the most exciting milestones around this time is starting solids and introducing new foods! As your child starts to eat in earnest, snacks will become a part of their everyday feeding routine and if done right, an essential way for them to get the nutrients they need to grow. Be sure to introduce age-appropriate and nutrient-dense foods so that every bite counts.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some of our favorite tips on introducing the best baby snacks for 6-month-olds.
Baby snacks are a great way to complement mealtime and pacify hungry babies, but make sure they are developmentally ready to try these new foods. Though different for each child, general signs of readiness for baby snacks and finger food include an interest in feeding themselves, munching up and down while watching you eat, or sipping from a cup with help.
The AAP and USDA also recommend introducing common allergens, like eggs, shellfish, wheat, and nuts, around 6 months of age. Introducing a variety of diverse foods can help guide the immune system by training it to recognize potentially allergenic foods as safe.
Avoid snacks that are too hard, like unsoftened carrot or apple slices. Fruits and vegetables should be soft enough to mash between your fingers. Also avoid raw foods, like eggs that have not been fully cooked. For a more complete list, check out our blog, Foods To Avoid For Babies Under 12 Months.
When introducing snacks, you will have to experiment with what works best. If they are shaking their head no, turning away, or refusing to open their mouth, don’t try to force it.
Most calories in your little one’s diet at this age will still come from breastmilk or formula. In fact, the AAP recommends continuing breastfeeding as complementary foods and snacks are introduced for 1 year or longer. During this time, formula is also a great option for moms who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed.
At 6 months, there will be days when your baby is much more interested in trying new and delicious snacks, like applesauce and scrambled eggs, than in having breastmilk or formula, and vice versa. This is all normal as your baby grows in independence, but make sure they are still getting their normal day’s worth of breastmilk or formula.
More than ever, it’s important to make every bite count. By introducing peanuts, eggs, cow's milk products, tree nuts, wheat, soy, sesame, shellfish, and fish alongside complementary foods, you can reduce your child’s risk of developing an allergy to that food.