Good Health: Feed Your Baby Soup

When starting solids for babies, parents are told to begin pureed foods at age four to six months. In particular, I strongly recommend my patients stay heavy on fruits and vegetables because they give your baby substances called phytochemicals. Phytochemicals help build the immune system and provide important nutrients that can’t be replaced. While I continue to advocate fruits and vegetables for starter foods, I also routinely recommend that parents give their baby soup broth starting at six months old.

Here are my answers for the most common questions on how to incorporate soup into your baby’s diet.

What types of soup should I give my baby? Give your baby soups that you would eat. This point is part of my quest to advise you not to be a short order cook for your baby. If you like southwest chicken soup, why not give him a small taste of the broth?

I have noted in my practice that many mothers from India routinely give their babies tastes of foods they are eating, including soup broth. In this way, the baby gets used to the flavor of delicious Indian food, and the parents have the enjoyment of introducing their child to important food staples.

But what about the spices in soup? What about them? Babies can greatly benefit from a variety of spices. Start out with a blander soup, such as chicken broth seasoned with onion and parsley. Give more flavorful soups as your baby grows. Your baby is likely to be upset if you give her a “hot” spice such as jalapeno or Tabasco, but any other flavorful spice is a good addition.

Give the soft vegetables from soup as finger food to babies ages nine months and up. Get yourself a strainer, and you have a great addition to your older baby’s meal. Once your baby starts loving the new flavor, you may see some serious overstuffing of the mouth. Remember to give one piece at a time to avoid choking.

What if my baby won’t eat the soup I cook? If your baby doesn’t like the soup you give, try again. Many babies have to try the same food multiple times before they accept the flavor. If your baby still won’t eat it, try another soup. If you keep trying until you find a soup your baby will eat, you will provide good nutrition and develop a good taste palate for your baby.

I don’t usually eat much soup but would make my baby soup. If you aren’t much of a soup eater but would like to cook one for your child, here’s a recipe for congee, which is a traditional Chinese soup. If you like chicken soup with rice, here’s an easy recipe to make a meal for the family and allow your baby to enjoy a tasty broth.

Bon appétit!

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