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Infant Foods

Frequently Asked Questions

What nutrients do infant vegetables and fruits provide?

Infant vegetables and fruits are rich in many nutrients. Here are just a few:

  • Vitamin A keep eyes and skin healthy and helps protect against infections
  • Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy
  • Potassium helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body
  • Folate helps produce DNA and form healthy new cells

NOTE: The infant vegetables and fruits allowed by WIC have no added sugar or salt.

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What nutrients does infant meat provide?

  • Iron helps carry oxygen in the blood to every part of your body; this helps you to have energy. Iron also helps protect you from infections.
  • Zinc helps form protein in the body and assists in wound healing. It plays a role in general growth and maintenance of all body tissues.

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My baby is ready for solids. How do I start and use the infant foods?

Here are some guidelines for starting infant foods:

  • Start new foods one at a time. Wait 5 or more days to see how your baby accepts them. If a new food causes stomachache, diarrhea or skin rash, wait a month and try it again.
  • Always feed the infant foods from a spoon.
  • Your baby may take only a few spoonfuls of a vegetable or fruit the first time.
  • When you open a new jar, listen for the "pop". If it doesn't "pop", throw it out or take it back to the store.
  • Always feed infant foods from a dish. Don't feed your baby right out of the jar. Saliva will make the food spoil faster. Throw out food left in the dish after a meal.
  • Use refrigerated infant food within 2 days.
  • Remember, your baby's tastes are different than yours. His food doesn't need salt, sugar, butter, margarine or seasoning.

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My baby is older and ready for more textured foods. What are ways to use the infant vegetables and fruits available from WIC?

  • Try the diced fruits and vegetables. An older baby can pick up the diced pieces with their fingers. The amount in the jar is a perfect snack size.
  • Mix infant fruits and vegetables with soft pieces of fruits and vegetables or other table foods.
  • Mix infant applesauce or a vegetable with finely-chopped meats to provide moisture.
  • Add infant fruits to infant cereal or cooked cereal.

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How do I make homemade baby foods?

Most babies will need more food than is provided by WIC. Babies love to eat the same foods that the family is eating. Here are some ideas for making healthy baby foods:

  • Do not add any salt, sugar, butter, margarine, gravy or seasoning.
  • Blend or grind foods to the texture that is appropriate for your baby’s development.
  • Puree foods – offer pureed foods to an infant just learning to eat solids. Puree soft fruits, vegetables or meats.
  • Mashed foods – offer soft, mashed foods with tiny lumps when your baby can chew from side-to-side (not just up and down). Try: cooked noodles; applesauce; mashed, cooked whole peas; and mashed potatoes.
  • Ground, finely chopped foods – offer ground, finely chopped foods to your baby when he is ready. When your child picks up foods in her fingers or palms, puts food in her mouth and chews, she is ready for finger foods. Try: ground meat; soft cooked vegetables; soft ripe fruit pieces; crackers; dry cereal; canned fruit.

For specific instructions on how to prepare homemade baby foods and for recipes go to Making Baby Foods

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Are there any foods that babies should not eat?

Avoid foods that can cause choking. Foods that are too large in size; shaped like a sphere or cylinder; or firm and smooth can all cause choking. Avoid the following foods:

  • Tough or large chunks of meat
  • Hot dogs, meat sticks or sausage
  • Fish with bones
  • Large chunks of cheese
  • Peanuts or other nuts or seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Whole beans
  • Whole uncut cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Raw vegetable pieces
  • Whole uncut grapes, berries, cherries, or melon balls
  • Fruit pieces with pits or seeds
  • Popcorn
  • Potato/corn chips
  • Hard candy, jelly beans, caramels or gum drops
  • Chewing gum
  • Marshmallows

NOTE: To help prevent choking, an infant should always eat sitting straight up in a high-chair or similar chair. Infants should not eat when lying down, playing, walking, crawling or riding in the car. Be sure to watch your infant when they are eating.

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