Breast milk is still the preferred (and only) food most babies need for the first 6 months of life. And breastfeeding should continue through the first year, if possible. Use an iron-fortified infant formula if breast milk is not available, say experts.
Iron-rich foods should be added to baby’s diet around 6 months of age for optimal neurological development and growth. (Iron stores from birth begin to wane by 6 months and breast milk is not a great source this essential mineral.) Foods which are rich in iron include meats, seafood and iron-enriched cereals.
In addition to iron, babies need more zinc-rich foods around 6 months of age for proper growth and strong immunity. Zinc-fortified cereals, beans and meat are good sources of this essential mineral.
Around 6 months of age is also the best time to Introduce baby to foods from all food groups (I call them nutrient groups because each category provides a mix of nutrients required for optimal growth and health.) These groups include baby-friendly vegetables, grains, fruit, protein and yogurt and cheese, including soy-based varieties. Experts continue to advise withholding cow’s milk until 1 year of age.