Is your baby ready to start on solids? Congratulations on this milestone! Before you automatically reach for that box of powdered rice cereal, consider this: some pediatricians have now started recommending avocado as a first solid food. It was one of Jem's first solids and my only regret is that it wasn't his very first! He loves it, and it gives him many of the healthy fats and nutrients essential to his little growing body. Many of the nutrients found in rice cereal are supplemental (added) nutrients, which tend not to be as easily absorbed and used by the body as nutrients found in fresh fruits and vegetables.
Avocado is also incredible easy to serve, no cooking required. It can be pureed, mashed or, for slightly older babies, diced and served as a finger food. Even when not organic it is generally very low in pesticides, which is always a bonus when organic options aren't available!
Avocado can easily be combined with other pureed or mashed foods, like applesauce or bananas, for a little extra sweetness. However, it's wise to try all foods by themselves for several days to keep an eye out for sensitivities (allergic reactions, tummy troubles, diaper rashes, etc).
The healthy fat content of avocado makes it a great food for plumping up undernourished babies. If your doctor feels that your baby really needs the extra carbs (for instance, if he or she is losing weight instead of gaining) by all means use the rice cereal! I would, however, encourage you to use the rice cereal in conjunction with avocado or other nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, like bananas, pumpkin, and cantaloupe.
For a full list of the nutritional benefits of avocado, visit WholesomeBabyFood.com, a wonderful resource for learning to make your own baby food! Stay tuned to Jem's Room for more simple baby food tips and recipes!
This information is not intended to encourage mothers to stop breastfeeding exclusively if that is what they feel is best for their babies. Many babies are able to breastfeed exclusively with no weaning at all, baby-led or otherwise, until they are a year or older. If this is the case for your baby, go for it, you are already giving your child the perfect food! The information in this post is intended for mothers who cannot continue to exclusively breastfeed or were unable to/chose not to breastfeed for any reason.