How do I know that my baby is ready for solids?
Solid foods are generally recommended for babies starting at 4 months to 6 months age. By this time the baby is usually sitting with support and has good head and neck control. Also, the tongue thrusting reflex is fading by this time. The baby will also start showing interest in food when she watches you eat.
Addition of solid foods aid in development of feeding skills in infants and adds more nutrients to the baby’s diet.
Please remember, baby foods are given in addition to breast milk or infant formula, and not as a replacement.
What solid foods do I feed my baby?
You can start with single grain baby cereal, rice, oatmeal, or barley, mixed with breast milk or formula and fruits and vegetables well cooked and pureed, for example, apples, pears, green beans, sweet potatoes, squash, bananas, avocado.
Foods should be soft or pureed to avoid choking.
Rice cereal is usually recommended because it is well tolerated and has less potential for allergy. Infant cereals come fortified with iron to meet the baby’s needs. They also are a significant source of different vitamins.
You can introduce beans, peas, lentils, mashed and soft, to provide proteins.
Baby yogurt can be introduced at 6 months age and is also good source of proteins along with fat and calcium.
How much food should I feed my baby?
Initially, start with a small quantity, equivalent to 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls, 1 to 2 meals a day, and then gradually increase the amount, following the baby’s cues. By 6 months babies are able to eat about 1-2 oz of baby food at a time.
Extra tips for feeding infant:
Try new foods multiple times. If your baby refuses to eat a certain food, do not force feed the baby, try it again next week. Also, it is recommended that you introduce new foods one at a time every 3-4 days, easier for a parent to track if the baby is allergic to a particular food.
New guidelines from AAP are recommending early introduction of peanut products, eggs, soy and meats in an infant’s diet starting at 7-8 months age. However, peanuts and peanut butter are choking hazards, so please try to use forms that are safe for infants such as peanut butter smoothed into pureed fruits or vegetables. You can puree or mash hard-boiled egg or scrambled eggs. The meats also have to be pureed or ground texture, easy for the baby to swallow. Please consult your Pediatrician if your child has eczema before starting peanut products or eggs.
If you want to feed your baby fresh foods, most fruits and vegetables have to be cooked till they are soft. Then you may use a blender or a food processor to mash the foods or simply mash the soft foods with a spoon. It is recommended that all fresh foods be cooked with no added salt or seasoning.
It is OK to give baby water upto 4 oz per day once the baby starts eating solids. Try to avoid juice in the 1st year of life, too much juice can cause diarrhea and tooth decay. If you want to offer juice, give 100% baby juice, only 2-4 oz per day. You can dilute juice with water, ½ juice and ½ water.
This blog provides general information and discussions about health and nutrition. The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials is not a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.
If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog, website or in any linked materials.
- AAP Pediatric Nutrition, 8th Edition
- Nutrition, 2nd Edition, What every parent needs to know by AAP