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I have an infant who is 4 months, and we want to introduce some food (like Cerelac). But I have very strong reservations about Cerelac being a Nestle product. So are there any alternatives to that? Thanks a lot for helping a fellow parent out.

P.S. I have seen the related questions, but they don't answer my particular query.

P.P.S. As mentioned in Help Center | Asking | What topics can I ask about here?, "shopping recommendations (too localized, and not timeless)" are off-topic on this site. Thus, I am not looking for specific product links in the answers. But if you feel that these are needed, instead please describe how one should look for those specific non-Nestle alternatives to Cerelac.

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You do not need to have any special baby food at all to feed a baby! If you look up baby led weaning you just present baby with some of the food you are having and let them get on with it. You need to cut up food into more stick like shapes (about the width of their finger) and cut round food like baby tomatoes and grapes into quarters. No honey before one year old, and those are about the only rules.

If you wan to wean in a more traditional fashion, starting with baby cereal, then buy some porridge oats and use a food processor to grind them up a bit more finely and then prepare as usual for porridge. Otherwise, steamed/boiled and mashed vegetables and fruits are fine.

The standard age to start feeding solids in the UK is six months, though a little before is acceptable. A child should show signs of readiness - having lost their tongue thrust reflex (so they don't just poke the food straight back out), being able to sit up supported or unaided and have good head control.

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Chewing food is something that needs to be learned. So, for the first food you introduce to your child, you need to have something that can be swallowed without chewing of any kind.

The foods that are usually advised to start with are (boiled) vegetables and (soft) fruits. If you can make that into a fairly smooth puree, then that would be an option to start with.

Cerelac appears to be a brand of baby cereals. Those are usually similar to adult cereals, but more finely ground. If you want something similar, but just not that brand, you could take a look at the list of ingredients in Cerelac and make your own baby cereal based off those ingredients.

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    the first food you introduce to your child, you need to have something that can be swallowed without chewing of any kind is true for weaning methods that rely on getting consumption going via puree. There are other ways, widely accepted by health authorities, that allow them to learn chewing and explore food while getting their nutrition from milk, as discussed in the other answer.
    – Chris H
    Nov 25 at 16:35
  • @ChrisH Why would you possibly give an infant who has never chewed something they could choke on? And your claim that BLW is "widely accepted by health authorities" is dubious considering there is little to no research on it to say one way or another. But certainly, until you know baby can chew, you can't give them something that can get lodged in their airway. They can learn, and lead, on pieces large enough to actually learn but small enough that if they mess up they don't choke.
    – corsiKa
    Nov 26 at 6:35
  • @corsiKa You can buy smocks that are mesh-y. You stuff fruit in them and let the child play around with it. They'll soon be gnawing on it. Or you can give them food items that they cannot choke on, but still can "eat". Approximately 100 billion children has learnt to eat, roughly 99 billion learnt it without modern precautions on airways and choking. Nov 26 at 8:48
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    @corsiKa I won't get far into that discussion here, but the UK National Health Service says "finger foods and letting them feed themselves from the start"..."There's no more risk of choking when a baby feeds themselves than when they're fed with a spoon." (scroll down to "Baby-led weaning"). More detailed advice deals with things like grapes that should be cut up as they can actually lodge tightly in the airway.
    – Chris H
    Nov 26 at 9:14
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    It's more the opposite approach - start on stuff that's too big to choke on - they don't have incisors to bite of little bits that can get stuck. Learning on finely chopped stuff encourages them to gulp down without chewing, so isn't learning (it's valid, it just doesn't teach chewing)
    – Chris H
    Nov 26 at 9:15

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