Best way to feed baby solids

When, What, and How to Introduce Solid Foods | Nutrition

For more information about how to know if your baby is ready to starting eating foods, what first foods to offer, and what to expect, watch these videos from 1,000 Days.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend children be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula when they are about 6 months old.  Introducing foods before 4 months old is not recommended. Every child is different. How do you know if your child is ready for foods other than breast milk or infant formula? You can look for these signs that your child is developmentally ready.

Your child:

  • Sits up alone or with support.
  • Is able to control head and neck.
  • Opens the mouth when food is offered.
  • Swallows food rather than pushes it back out onto the chin.
  • Brings objects to the mouth.
  • Tries to grasp small objects, such as toys or food.
  • Transfers food from the front to the back of the tongue to swallow.

What Foods Should I Introduce to My Child First?

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that for most children, you do not need to give foods in a certain order. Your child can begin eating solid foods at about 6 months old. By the time he or she is 7 or 8 months old, your child can eat a variety of foods from different food groups. These foods include infant cereals, meat or other proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, yogurts and cheeses, and more.

If your child is eating infant cereals, it is important to offer a variety of fortifiedalert icon infant cereals such as oat, barley, and multi-grain instead of only rice cereal. Only providing infant rice cereal is not recommended by the Food and Drug Administration because there is a risk for children to be exposed to arsenic. Visit the U.S. Food & Drug Administrationexternal icon to learn more.

How Should I Introduce My Child to Foods?

Your child needs certain vitamins and minerals to grow healthy and strong.

Now that your child is starting to eat food, be sure to choose foods that give your child all the vitamins and minerals they need.

Click here to learn more about some of these vitamins & minerals.

Let your child try one single-ingredient food at a time at first. This helps you see if your child has any problems with that food, such as food allergies. Wait 3 to 5 days between each new food. Before you know it, your child will be on his or her way to eating and enjoying lots of new foods.

Introduce potentially allergenic foods when other foods are introduced.

Potentially allergenic foods include cow’s milk products, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, and sesame. Drinking cow’s milk or fortified soy beverages is not recommended until your child is older than 12 months, but other cow’s milk products, such as yogurt, can be introduced before 12 months. If your child has severe eczema and/or egg allergy, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse about when and how to safely introduce foods with peanuts.

How Should I Prepare Food for My Child to Eat?

At first, it’s easier for your child to eat foods that are mashed, pureed, or strained and very smooth in texture. It can take time for your child to adjust to new food textures. Your child might cough, gag, or spit up. As your baby’s oral skills develop, thicker and lumpier foods can be introduced.

Some foods are potential choking hazards, so it is important to feed your child foods that are the right texture for his or her development. To help prevent choking, prepare foods that can be easily dissolved with saliva and do not require chewing. Feed small portions and encourage your baby to eat slowly. Always watch your child while he or she is eating.

Here are some tips for preparing foods:

  • Mix cereals and mashed cooked grains with breast milk, formula, or water to make it smooth and easy for your baby to swallow.
  • Mash or puree vegetables, fruits and other foods until they are smooth.
  • Hard fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, usually need to be cooked so they can be easily mashed or pureed.
  • Cook food until it is soft enough to easily mash with a fork.
  • Remove all fat, skin, and bones from poultry, meat, and fish, before cooking.
  • Remove seeds and hard pits from fruit, and then cut the fruit into small pieces.
  • Cut soft food into small pieces or thin slices.
  • Cut cylindrical foods like hot dogs, sausage and string cheese into short thin strips instead of round pieces that could get stuck in the airway.
  • Cut small spherical foods like grapes, cherries, berries and tomatoes into small pieces.
  • Cook and finely grind or mash whole-grain kernels of wheat, barley, rice, and other grains.

Learn more about potential choking hazards and how to prevent your child from choking.

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Feeding Your 4- to 7-Month-Old (for Parents)

Most babies this age are ready to try solid foods. Experts recommend starting solid foods when a baby is about 6 months old, depending on the baby's readiness and nutritional needs.

Be sure to check with your doctor before giving any solid foods.

Is My Baby Ready to Eat Solid Foods?

How can you tell if your baby is ready for solids? Here are a few hints:

  • Does your baby swallow food or push it out of their mouth? Babies have a natural tongue-thrust reflex that pushes food back out. Wait until this reflex disappears (typically when babies are 4–6 months old). 
  • Can your baby support their own head? To eat solid food, an infant needs good head and neck control and should be able to sit up.
  • Is your baby interested in food? Babies who stare, reach and grab, and open their mouths for food are ready to try solid foods.

If your doctor gives the go-ahead but your baby seems frustrated or uninterested in solid foods, try waiting a few days before trying again. Breast milk and formula will still meet nutritional needs as your baby learns to eat solid foods. But after 6 months, babies need the added nutrition — like iron and zinc — that solid foods provide.

Do not add cereal or other food to your baby's bottle because it can lead to too much weight gain.

Watch for signs that your child is hungry or full. Respond to these cues and let your child stop when full. A child who is full may suck with less enthusiasm, stop, or turn away from the breast or the bottle. With solid foods, they may turn away, refuse to open their mouth, or spit the food out.

How Should I Start Feeding My Baby Solid Foods?

When your baby is ready and the doctor says it’s OK to try solid foods, pick a time of day when your baby is not tired or cranky. You want your baby to be a little hungry, but not so hungry that they’re upset. So you might want to give your baby a little breast milk or formula first.

Have your baby sit supported in your lap or in a high chair with a safety strap.

Most babies' first food is iron-fortified infant single-grain cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. Place the spoon near your baby's lips, and let the baby smell and taste it. Don't be surprised if this first spoonful is rejected. Wait a minute and try again. Most food offered to your baby at this age will end up on the baby's chin, bib, or high-chair tray. Again, this is just an introduction.

When your little one gets the hang of eating cereal off a spoon, it may be time to try single-ingredient puréed meat, vegetables, or fruit. The order in which you give them doesn't matter, but go slow. Offer foods that are high in iron and zinc — such as meat, poultry, eggs, and beans — especially if your baby is breastfeeding. Try one food at a time and wait several days before trying something else new. This will let you identify any foods that your baby may be allergic to.

Which Foods Should I Avoid?

Foods that are more likely to cause allergies can be among the foods you introduce to your baby. These include peanuts, eggs, cow’s milk, seafood, nuts, wheat, and soy. Waiting to start these foods does not prevent food allergies. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about food allergies, especially if any close family members have allergies, food allergies, or allergy-related conditions, like eczema or asthma.

Infants with severe eczema or egg allergies are more likely to have allergies to peanuts. Talk to your doctor about how and when to introduce these foods to your child. 

Possible signs of food allergy or allergic reactions include:

  • rash
  • bloating or an increase in gassiness
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting

Get medical care right away if your baby has a more severe allergic reaction, like hives, drooling, wheezing, or trouble breathing.

If your child has any type of reaction to a food, don't offer that food again until you talk with your doctor.

Babies shouldn't have:

  • foods with added sugars and no-calorie sweeteners
  • high-sodium foods
  • honey, until after the first birthday. It can cause botulism in babies.
  • unpasteurized juice, milk, yogurt, or cheese 
  • regular cow's milk or soy beverages before 12 months instead of breast milk or formula. It’s OK to offer pasteurized yogurt and cheese.
  • foods that may cause choking, such as hot dogs, raw carrots, grapes, popcorn, and nuts

Tips for Feeding Your Baby Solid Foods

With the hectic pace of family life, most parents try commercially prepared baby foods at first. They come in small, convenient containers, and manufacturers must meet strict safety and nutrition guidelines.

If you prepare your own baby foods at home, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Follow the rules for food safety, including washing your hands well and often.
  • To preserve the nutrients in your baby's food, cook it in ways that keep the most vitamins and minerals. Try steaming or baking fruits and vegetables instead of boiling, which washes away the nutrients.
  • Freeze portions that you aren't going to use right away.
  • Whether you buy the baby food or make it yourself, texture and consistency are important. At first, babies should have finely puréed single-ingredient foods. (Just applesauce, for example, not apples and pears mixed together.)
  • After your baby is eating individual foods, it's OK to offer a puréed mix of two foods. As babies get older, they will learn to eat a greater variety of tastes and textures. 
  • If you use prepared baby food in jars, spoon some of the food into a bowl to feed your baby. Do not feed your baby right from the jar — bacteria from the baby's mouth can contaminate the remaining food. If you refrigerate opened jars of baby food, it's best to throw away anything not eaten within a day or two.
  • Around 6 months of age is a good time for your baby to try a cup. You might need to try a few cups to find one that works for your child. Use water at first to avoid messy clean-ups. Do not give juice to infants younger than 12 months.

Over the next few months, introduce a variety of foods from all the food groups. If your baby doesn't seem to like something, don’t give up. It can take 8 to 10 tries or more before babies learn to like new foods.

Solid food: practical advice on administration

Submitted by Mironova Irina on Wed, 12/29/2021 - 04:56 PM

Feeding Timing: Tips for Introducing Solid Foods

When introducing solid foods to a baby's diet, schedules and menus can be quite flexible. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Choose a time of day when you and your child are calm, relaxed and not in a hurry.
  • Wash hands, spoons, bowls and plates before eating or preparing food; sterilization is not necessary.
  • Sit your baby in a high chair or safe place and spoon feed.
  • Give your baby a spoon to try on his own. A method may work when both you and the child have a spoon.
  • Give your baby soft food to try on his own.

When is the best time to start introducing solid foods? When you notice signs of readiness in a child. As a rule, this happens at the age of about six months, but not before four months.

Tips for getting your baby interested in solid foods

By the time your baby is 12 months old, they should be eating the same healthy foods as the rest of the family. Here are some ideas for getting your toddler interested in new foods after he has started eating solid foods:

  • Offer foods that your child is interested in, that is, those that he is reaching for or looking at.
  • Talk to your baby about the food he eats: say what it is, what color it is, how it tastes, where it grows and how you cooked it.
  • Invite your child to taste what is on your plate to introduce him to the taste of home cooking. This is a good time to think about what you eat and enjoy healthy food as a family.
  • When your baby starts to eat more solid food, if possible, feed him at a time when others are also at the table. Children tend to be more interested in food when other family members are also eating.
  • Should be guided by the level of interest and appetite of the child. Your baby's appetite changes from day to day - this is normal.
  • If your child refuses a new food, simply offer it the next day. Sometimes babies and children older need to try new food more than 10 times before they accept it.

It is normal for a child to make faces when trying new foods. When a child makes faces, this does not mean that he does not like the food offered.

Games and mess during meals: how to deal with them

It is natural that the child eats very slowly and creates some confusion. This is because eating is a skill that toddlers need to learn. They also learn how to bring food to their mouths. In addition, by touching new food and playing with it, children learn about the world around them.

Here are a few ideas to help you make the best use of mealtime and deal with messy eating:

  • Encourage your child to "explore" food with their hands. This forms skills in other areas of development, in particular fine motor skills and thinking.
  • Try to remain calm and patient with the mess your baby has made. So he will get pleasure from food.
  • Make cleaning easier by placing newspaper or polyethylene under the high chair and have a washcloth handy when your baby is eating.

Starting solid food is much more than just eating. Once a child has started eating solid food, table time turns into family gatherings where you can talk, listen and interact with each other.

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    Solid food

    At the age of 4 to 6 months, milk alone is no longer enough for the baby, and he begins to show interest in "adult" food. This is a sure sign that it's time to introduce complementary foods.

    Purchasing and preparing fresh solid foods for your baby is the best way to retain as many nutrients as possible. By preparing food yourself, you will know exactly what this or that dish is made of.

    The foods themselves, how they are stored, how they are prepared and prepared also affect their nutritional properties, so we have put together a few tips for you to help prepare the most healthy food for your baby.

    Steam cooking

    Steam cooking is one of the best cooking methods that preserves the nutritional quality of food. Cooking with the Philips Avent Steamer Blender preserves nutrients, as the juices released during steaming can then be mixed with food using a blender.

    Preparing and storing

    • Cook in a clean room, use clean utensils to ensure food hygiene.
    • Wash your hands before preparing food, wash your child's hands before feeding.
    • Baby food must be thoroughly cooked and cooled before serving.
    • Food is heated unevenly in the microwave oven and you or your child may burn yourself. Always thoroughly stir and cool food heated in the microwave. Use the Philips Avent Bottle and Baby Food Warmer to heat food evenly and safely.
    • Do not reheat baby food.
    • Store food according to instructions, including date of preparation.
    • Most cooked meals can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
    • Cooking and freezing portions in ice trays or containers such as Philips Avent VIA cups saves a lot of time.
    • VIA Containers are a hygienic and convenient way to store food, and are easy to write the name of the product and date of preparation.
    • Refer to your refrigerator's instructions for how long food can be stored in the freezer. Usually it is 1-3 months.
    • Do not refreeze food that has already been defrosted.

    A few words about the ingredients

    • Before cooking, all fruits and vegetables must be thoroughly washed and some peeled.
    • Do not add salt to baby food.
    • To make your meal tastier, season your food with herbs and mild spices, just like you would when cooking at home.
    • Do not add sugar to baby food. The exception is sour fruits, which can be served with a little sugar.
    • Some foods, such as raw shellfish, liver, soft unpasteurized cheeses, and honey, are not suitable for children under one year of age.
    • Eggs must be hard boiled.
    • If you are unsure if a product is right for your child, please consult your doctor.

    Please note that the information contained in these articles is only general advice and should not be used as a substitute for consulting a physician. If you, your family member, or your child develop symptoms or illnesses that are severe or persistent, or if you need professional medical attention, see your doctor. Philips Avent accepts no liability for damages resulting from the use of the information provided on this site.

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