A possible advantage of adding vegetables before fruits is that your baby will not be expecting everything to taste sweet. Start with string beans, peas, squash, carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes; give each one for a few days, to be sure that your baby doesn’t develop a rash.
There are other vegetables — such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, kale, and onions — which, as usually cooked, are so strong-tasting that some babies don’t like them. If your family likes these foods, try straining them and serving them to your baby, perhaps mixed with a little apple juice to counteract their strong taste. Stay away from corn early on, because the large husks on the kernels can cause choking.
You can serve your baby fresh or frozen vegetables, cooked or strained, and pureed in a food processor, blender, or grinder. Store-bought baby vegetables in jars are fine, too. Buy the straight vegetables rather than mixtures. Only feed your baby out of the jar if you plan to use the whole jar, because saliva can spoil foods. Work up to several tablespoonfuls or half a baby jar, as desired. The rest, if refrigerated, can be given the next day. Cooked vegetables spoil fairly rapidly.
Babies are more likely to be choosy about vegetables than about cereals or fruits. You will probably find one or two vegetables that your baby doesn’t like. Don’t urge them, but try them again every month or so. There’s no point in fussing over a few foods when we have so many to choose from.
It’s common for undigested vegetables to appear in the bowel movements when a baby first starts them. This is not a bad sign so long as there is no looseness or mucus, but increase the amount of each vegetable slowly until your baby’s digestion learns to handle it. If a vegetable causes looseness or much mucus, omit it for the time being and try a very small amount after another month.
Beets may color the urine or show up red in the bowel movement. This is nothing to worry about if you remember that it is caused by beets and not blood. Green vegetables often turn the bowel movement green. Spinach causes chapping of the lips and irritation around the anus in some babies. If this occurs, omit spinach for several months and then try again. Babies who eat a lot of orange or yellow vegetables, such as carrots or squash, often develop an orange or yellow tinge to their skin. This condition is not dangerous, and it goes away once you cut back on the yellow and orange vegetables.