How long do babies eat pureed food

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.

When to Stop Pureed Food for Infants | Healthy Eating

By Krista Sheehan Updated December 12, 2018

Knowing when to stop pureed foods in your baby's diet isn't as easy as knowing when to change his diaper. There is no one-size-fits-all rule for feeding your baby -- but he'll let you know when he's ready. Adding pureed foods to your baby’s diet at around 4 months of age introduces a new world of tastes and textures. But knowing when to stop pureed foods -- usually around 1 year of age -- is important for helping your baby develop chewing and swallowing skills.

Developmental Timeline

Typically, infants are started on pureed foods between 4 to 6 months of age. In the beginning, choose pureed foods with only one ingredient. As the infant becomes more accustomed to the new texture, include pureed foods with a combination of ingredients -- this typically occurs around 6 to 8 months of age. As your baby moves into the 8- to 10-month time frame, chunkier pureed foods can be introduced. If your baby does well with these foods, introduce soft, cooked vegetables and cooked fruits, breads, soft cereals, scrambled eggs and yogurt around 10 to 12 months of age. If your baby manages these soft foods easily, stop pureed foods. Ideally, your baby should not be eating pureed foods after 1 year of age.

Baby’s Readiness Cues

Your baby will give you certain clues that indicate he’s ready for solid and finger foods. These cues might include picking up foods with his thumb and forefinger, easily transferring items from one hand to the other and moving his mouth in a chewing motion. Your baby will also be ready to stop eating pureed foods as he develops more teeth and gains more control of his tongue. However, if you attempt to stop pureed foods at 12 months and your baby is struggling with solid and finger foods, adding pureed foods back into the diet might be necessary. Consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns or questions about your baby’s specific diet.

Allergy Considerations

When adding new foods to a baby’s diet, add only one new ingredient at a time. This feeding plan allows you to more easily identify a baby’s allergies or sensitivities to specific foods. Allow your baby to eat the new ingredient for a few days -- unless an allergic reaction occurs, of course. If no reactions occur after a few days, you can safely add another new ingredient to your baby’s diet.

Foods to Avoid

Certain foods and ingredients should be completely avoided in a baby’s diet. According to the Florida Department of Health, your baby should never be given pureed foods made with honey, corn syrup, added sugar, artificial sweeteners, spices, seasonings or salt.

  • March of Dimes: Feeding Your Baby
  • Cooking Light: Baby Feeding Timeline
  • BabyCenter: Age-by-Age Guide to Feeding your Baby
Writer Bio

Krista Sheehan is a registered nurse and professional writer. She works in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and her previous nursing experience includes geriatrics, pulmonary disorders and home health care. Her professional writing works focus mainly on the subjects of physical health, fitness, nutrition and positive lifestyle changes.

When to introduce pieces in complementary foods?

The article was written with the help of nutritionist Victoria Vishnyakova.

You need to take the transition from puree to chunks seriously, as this step is very important.

Such food is called in English-speaking countries “finger foods” translated into Russian as “finger food”. Toddlers take pieces with their fingers, bring them to their mouths, knead them with their gums and swallow.

At the same time, several systems are included in the work at once:

  • The brain needs to coordinate the actions of the hands, mouth and jaw
  • Mouth, tongue, jaw muscles are being trained
  • Gastrointestinal tract adapts to digest food other than solids, not just purees and liquids.

You should know that, as in other stages of the development of the baby, the pieces also need to be introduced into the “window of opportunity” - this is the period during which skills are mastered easily and naturally. In cases where such a moment was missed, much more effort has to be applied.

Based on modern recommendations, lumpy food should be offered from about six months, that is, almost immediately with the start of complementary foods. The deadline is about 9-10 months. – later the “window” will be closed.

You can start complementary foods not with mashed potatoes, but knead boiled vegetables with a fork, after a while you will not need to do this too carefully. Thus, the consistent addition of lumpy food to the child's diet will begin.

When you start complementary foods with mashed potatoes, then after a while offer pieces first of all, and if suddenly the baby gets tired, give mashed potatoes.

You can not mix puree with pieces! Toddlers do not expect that a solid object may be caught in their usual food - they will begin to "suck" it and may choke. As a result, there is a possibility that there will be a fear of food and even a temporary refusal of complementary foods.

Lumpy food should be soft so that children can knead it with their fingers. If the piece is hard, then it can be dangerous, since the child will not be able to chew it, but it is easy to choke on it.

There is no need to be afraid to give food in the form of pieces with the start of complementary foods. Offer your food by simply kneading it with a fork - this is normal, but only if your diet does not contain foods that are undesirable or dangerous for the baby (we wrote about this in another article).

Children can keep a piece in their mouth for a long time, and then spit it out - it's okay. Thus, they acquire many different skills, not forgetting to satisfy their hunger. Do not worry, put a plate, take your time - the child can crush, smear, spit, and eat what is needed.

Most importantly, do not leave children alone during this process, because there is a risk of choking. At a time when the baby smears food on his hands and plate, you will have time to eat your food warm.

Have a good appetite everyone!

More articles

Breastfeeding support

Sugar in drinks

7 feeding mistakes

Should I be afraid of coughing? In the previous period, your main task was to introduce the child to solid food - to prepare him for the transition from liquid food to solid food, to teach him to take food in his mouth and chew it. Many children do not bring food to their mouths, spilling or spilling it along the way, and as a result, they get very little of what was intended. Breast milk and/or formula is about 90% of their diet.

In the last period of the first year of life, the development of the swallowing mechanism is completed in children. The protective "pushing out" reflex gradually weakens, the child chokes on food less, and swallowing becomes more coordinated. This allows you to gradually move from mashed and liquid food to minty, coarser and lumpy. The structure of solid food also changes. But be careful. If you delay this process, then deprive the child of the chance to experiment with different food structures and increase the period when he eats only pureed food. If you hurry too much, the child will refuse new food with an unfamiliar structure for a long time because of the fear of choking and suffocating.

New skills - new food

At this age, children receive more varied food, and the amount of it increases. Solid food becomes the main source of nutrition for the child, making up about 50% of his diet by the year (for most breastfed children, milk remains the main food by 80-90% even a year). There is a development of new skills, which entails acquaintance with new types of food. Improved "tweezer grip" - the ability to pick up objects with the thumb and forefinger, so the child can take and put small pieces in his mouth. Interest in small objects develops; use this new passion of the child by giving him small pieces of food during feeding.

Handling food

Encourage your child to take food with his fingers. Teach him to put food in his mouth, and not to scatter, smear it on the table or plate. Place small pieces of boiled carrots, rice biscuits, or soft fruits in front of it. Babies use solid food to "scratch" their gums when they start teething. Hard food, especially for teething teeth, should soften in the mouth, dissolving easily as it is chewed. We found that our children were very interested in the various shapes of boiled pasta that we placed in front of them. Baby's new skill of grasping and holding small objects can be used during feeding. This makes it possible to keep the attention of the child at the table much longer. During the performance of such \"captures \" some part of the food still gets into his mouth. If you are afraid of allergies, do not give your baby, who is not yet a year old, wheat products (butter biscuits, pasta, etc. ). If your baby is prone to allergies, you can buy cookies made not from wheat flour, but, for example, from rice.

The ability of a child to take food with his hands has its downside. Food, as well as utensils, become interesting objects to study - they can be grabbed, knocked with them, they can be dropped and thrown. Of course, this does not mean that you should stop such feedings, but only speaks of the natural and normal need of the child to identify all new opportunities for using newly acquired skills.

Let the baby dip food pieces

At 9 months. Toddler starts using his index finger (a new skill!) to stick it somewhere or point them at something. Children are happy to dip their fingers in food, taste it. Use this new skill when feeding. The reflection in the nutrition and feeding of the child of everything that he masters along the way of his development has its funny sides. As soon as your baby starts using his finger to dip it in food and then suck on it, expect him to soon start painting himself or his chair with the food you feed him. Be lenient about this and treat the young researcher with understanding.

Give your child a bone

Over time, when giving a chicken bone to a child, you can leave pieces of meat on it (however, without a thin sharp bone). Let him play (bites, knocks, swings, shifts from one hand to another), and at this time you can eat relatively calmly yourself. In addition, the child will probably get some chicken meat.

Using a spoon

Toward the end of the 1st year, the child wants and tries to eat with a spoon on his own. Usually this leads to the fact that everything around is dirty, and the food goes anywhere but in his mouth. It seems to you that it is easier to feed the baby than to let him eat with a spoon. At the age of about a year, the child begins a period of independence ("I myself \"). To somewhat limit this independence, you can hold a spoon with food, but allow the child to hold on to it, or let the baby hold the spoon himself, and you "tweak" it into his mouth.

Food Safety Precautions:

- do not give your child fibrous foods

- choose fish bones carefully before giving them to a child. In canned salmon, knead the bones

- do not give white bread; it turns into a tight lump in the mouth, which the child can choke on

- cut meat and chicken across the grain and into very small pieces

- do not give the child large pieces. The baby's front teeth are for biting only. Molar teeth - chewing - appear only after a year. Children press their gums more than they chew

- Feed children only in your presence and only when the child is sitting and not lying or playing

- Put only a few pieces of food on a plate. When a child sees a whole mountain of food in front of him, he will try to stuff it all into his mouth rather than chewing every piece

- sausages do not have a special nutritional value and, moreover, can be dangerous for babies. Putting a whole sausage in your mouth can suffocate your child. Nitrate-free and nitrite-free sausages can be given to children after a year, but even then they should be cut lengthwise into thin narrow strips. Even these "healthy" sausages can be high in sodium, so don't overdo it.

Safe food:

- porridge - rice biscuits (unsalted)

- carrots (boiled)

- whole wheat bread toast (without crust) squirrel

- boiled peas (shelled)

- pear slices (very ripe)

- apple slices (cooked)

- pasta (boiled)

- green beans (well cooked, without fibers)

- pulp or slices of avocado

food, which you can choke on nuts:

- seeds

- corn

- sausages (entirely or large pieces) hard beans

- hard candy

- raw carrots

22 - Raw apples

- Grapes

- Unripe pears

- Fibrous food

- Large cuts of meat

Attitude towards food and feeding process

Your task is not only to provide the child with healthy, wholesome food, but also to form in him the right attitude towards the very process of eating. This chapter tells you how to help your baby enjoy food and you can help him enjoy feeding.

Table manners

Children are born artists. When they drop dishes or food on the floor, every adult immediately reacts to this. The child understands this as a game and begins to lay out food anywhere, but not in the mouth. Lunch time becomes a familiar game for him. Sometimes he is very impatient, picks up a handful of food and stuffs it all into his mouth, smearing half of it on his face. And such antics will continue until you react the way he expects. Laughter not only reinforces this habit, but can be very dangerous: when a child laughs with a full mouth, he takes a deep breath of air and may choke.

The baby soon realizes that he can elicit whatever reaction he wants from the adult. Responding to the child's pranks too quickly and explicitly, we only encourage him to continue this domestic performance. Whether you laugh or scold, the child perceives it as an artist - he sees the reaction of the audience, and the performance continues. Not reacting is the best way to get this little clown off the stage. If he doesn't stop being naughty, you have to assume that he is not hungry and stop feeding. Don't expect your little one to sit quietly at the table like older children. At the same time, already at this early age, children learn to behave with a goal by the example of others. If a child sees that other children (and adults) are laughing with a full mouth or throwing food, knocking a cup, and they are having a lot of fun, the little parrot will do the same. And at the same time, do not forget to praise him for his good manners.

If the child is reluctant to eat

For a child who withdraws your hand with a spoon, put toys with suction cups on the chair (otherwise you will have to constantly pick them up from the floor) and, while he is playing with toys, try to feed him using any a trick to get the spoon into his mouth. We played spoon-airplane: \"Look, here is a plane flying\", - the spoon is approaching and right into the open mouth.

Learn more