How often can i introduce a new food to baby

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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How and when to introduce new flavours to your baby

Can you introduce flavours from the start of weaning?

Yes, if you want to, although lots of parents use baby rice mixed with milk for their baby’s very first tentative step into solids. It’s your choice –but start with a single flavour rather than mixed

Then as soon as your baby has got used to this new experience of food in mouth, it’s time to start with new flavours. This could be as early as one or two days into weaning – but do remember to go at your baby’s pace.

So how often should you introduce new tastes and flavours?

You can introduce new tastes on a daily basis, says dietician and child nutritionist Sarah Almond Bushell.

“At the start of weaning I suggest introducing new food singularly,” she says. “However it’s not practical to do this for every food item on offer.

“Therefore once weaning is established and baby will happily accept several teaspoons of food I’d suggest combining flavours to widen their repertoire of tastes and flavours.

“You could offer a new flavour at each meal, and certainly at around 7 months you could be offering both savoury and sweet options.”

If you have a family history of allergies, there may be exceptions with certain foods when it comes to combining (more of that later).

Sunny5 shares her experience of starting weaning on our MFM forum. “It's all about trying them with different tastes and textures while keeping their milk going in the first few months of weaning.

“I tried baby rice initially but then moved on to mashed up sweet potato.

“Then I added a new veg or fruit every few days or so. I wrote down what I'd given in case of any reaction (allergy or tummy wise).”

And, if they’re not really into what you’re giving them – panic not. Lots of MFM mums have experienced the ‘yuck’ face from their babies when introducing some new foods. For example, Supersquish says:

“Keep giving him whatever you’re trying every few days. Babies react with a grimace to new food, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like it.

“It's frustrating I know, I pushed on with my son and so glad I did! He eats almost everything now, he still not keen on hard cheese but I'm getting him to eat it from time to time.”

Does that mean the 3-day-wait rule no longer applies?

Yes, the 3-day-wait rule has had its day.

“Waiting 3 days in between each new food is no longer practical,” explains dietician Sarah. “The three-day rule suggestion was given to try and identify adverse reactions or allergies to foods.

“In reality these are so rare and reactions are incredibly unlikely to be to the traditional first foods of fruits and vegetables (to be an allergen, a food needs to contain protein).

“Now that most babies start weaning at around 6 months, parents need to progress through the stages quite quickly in order to ensure that their baby doesn’t miss the ‘window of opportunity’ for acceptance of new foods.

This ‘window of opportunity’, as it’s called, is the time from early weaning to around 10 months when your baby is very open to new tastes – and before fussiness can kick in!

Another reason that the 3-day-wait rule is no longer used is that allergic reactions don’t always appear straight away.

“Although some allergic reactions are immediate and can happen within minutes,” says Sarah, “some also take a long time to present, way after the 3-day limit.

  • Find out when is the right time to start weaning your baby

What flavours and foods should you start with

Tempting as it may be to start with the sweet flavours of fruit, it’s a good idea to introduce savoury tastes right at the beginning.

It’s extremely common for babies to prefer sweet over savoury food, so keep introducing new vegetables as you’re potentially setting up the blueprint for your baby’s future foody likes and dislikes.

”Babies are born with an abundance of mature ‘sweet’ taste buds, the sour and bitter ones are still developing, this mean that they will have a preference for sweet foods, hence the easy acceptance of breast or formula milk from day one,” says dietician Sarah.

So if you can, kick off with flavours like carrot, swede or mixed vegetables and move onto fruitier tastes later.

And when it comes to those savoury tastes – perseverance is the key.

To sum up: keep going with the broccoli!

Why do you need to introduce lots of new flavours

We all know that babies around 6 months of age are curious about all sorts of things – especially exciting things to pop in their mouth.

So, constantly introducing a new range of flavours is an exciting way to develop their senses, and the perfect way to feed your baby’s curiosity.

There’s also evidence that babies who are exposed to a wide range of foods and flavours early on are less likely to become fussy eaters.

“By introducing lots of flavours, textures and tastes during the ‘window of opportunity’, babies will become familiar with a wide variety of foods,” says Sarah. “So when the fussiness begins, it’s less likely to be relating to previously accepted foods.

More like this

  • Is your baby getting the right nutrition?
  • What to do if you have a fussy eater

When and how to introduce meat and fish to your baby

Meat helps to bring iron, zinc and protein into your baby’s diet. Fish is great for protein too but choose fish that is low in mercury, for example, salmon, cod and pollock.

You can start introducing meat and fish within the first few weeks of weaning. Start with less dense meat, such as chicken, and then move on to small, chewable red meat dishes, such as minced beef.

“I’d suggest introducing meat and fish after weaning is established, rather than as one of your baby’s first foods,” advises Sarah

“If you are weaning using purees rather than following a baby-led weaning plan, you can make meat have a smooth texture with a hand blender. You’ll need plenty of vegetables and some liquid such as baby stock or milk to create the correct consistency.

“It’s really important to include meat or vegetarian iron rich alternatives (lentils, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals) from round 6 months as they are an important source of iron, and the stores your baby was born with will be starting to run low.”

So what did our mums do? “I started my little girl off with just pureed veg/fruit,” says Sherrie Griffiths.

“Now that she has mastered that I have started to add meats/pasta/rices to give a more lumpy texture.

“I make homemade food for my little girl and find it time-consuming to buy whole chickens, turkeys.

“So I tend to buy minced meats instead (chicken mince, turkey mince, pork mince, lamb mince, beef mince).

“They are easy to blend up with veggies and you can brown them off in under five minutes and they’re easy for baby to swallow.”

Mummy Swann adds: “My little man didn't really like mince so I used to puree up chicken thigh meat or slow cooked beef as the puree is thicker than just a vegetable puree so it still helps with texture.

“I found the transition to meat quite easy as both my children took to it really well.

“I started with chicken first in both cases then moved onto red meat.”

How to tell if your child’s allergic to certain foods

As we mentioned right at the beginning, you can, in general, introduce new flavours to your baby on a daily basis – but if you have any family history of allergies (including asthma and eczema), you may want to be careful around certain allergenic foods.

“Food allergies are more common where there is a family history of asthma, eczema or allergy and can present in many different ways,” advises Sarah.

According to Sarah, symptoms of food allergies can include:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • tummy pain
  • colic
  • difficulty or reluctance to feed or constant crying when trying to feed
  • a skin rash
  • eczema
  • swelling
  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • congestion
  • poor growth

“Not all reactions are immediate, some can take several days to appear making an allergy difficult to diagnose,” Sarah adds. “If you are worried, make an appointment with your health visitor or GP who can refer you to a paediatric allergy doctor for tests and a dietitian for an exclusion diet if needed.”

  • Find out which foods are most allergenic for babies

Our mums, though, definitely discovered that it’s pretty clear cut if your little’ ones’ allergic:

“We’ve mainly had reactions in the nappy department,” laughs sunny5. “We avoid parsnips as twice they've gone straight through him.

“Also I once gave him a tomato flavoured crisp and it gave him little spots around his mouth and chin. I expected the same with fresh tomato but he was fine!”

  • Read this if you’re at all worried about baby food allergies

Pics: Getty

Read more

  • What do mums on our forum think of the HiPP Organic Jars?
  • Introducing lumps to your weaning baby
  • How do I feed a teething baby?

Russian Union of Pediatricians

Introduction of complementary foods

How to introduce complementary foods correctly is one of the most pressing issues that concern parents.

In the first months of life, the main food for the baby is breast milk or an adapted milk formula, however, as the child grows and develops, this becomes insufficient and it is necessary to think about the introduction of complementary foods.

Your baby is over 4 months old. He has noticeably grown up, become more active, is interested in objects that fall into his field of vision, carefully examines them and reaches for them. The child's emotional reactions have become much richer: he smiles happily at all people, makes various sounds. Perhaps you notice that the child looks into your plate with interest, closely monitors what and how you eat, does this mean that it is time to introduce complementary foods? And where is the best place to start? Let's figure it out!

When should complementary foods be started?

According to the Program for optimizing the feeding of infants in the first year of life in the Russian Federation (2019), the recommended age for the introduction of complementary foods is in the range from 4 to 6 months.

The following points will help determine the readiness of the baby for the introduction of complementary foods:

1. Food interest - you can check its presence as follows: during your meal, give the baby an empty spoon or fork, and if he plays with it, licks it, then there is no food interest yet; but if the child is dissatisfied with the fact that the spoon is empty, food interest has probably appeared. “But how does a child understand that there should be food in a spoon?” Parents often ask. The answer is quite simple: take your baby to the table with you so that he can see how you eat!

2. The child can sit alone or with support. It is unacceptable to feed the child lying down, because he may choke.

3. Extinction of the “pushing out” reflex - when the baby pushes out of the mouth both the offered food and the pacifier, etc.

Why is it not recommended to introduce complementary foods before 4 and after 6 months of life?

Before 4 months of life, the baby is not yet ready to digest food other than breast milk or infant formula. By this age, a number of digestive enzymes mature, a sufficient level of local immunity is formed, which reduces the risk of developing allergic reactions, the child acquires the ability to swallow semi-liquid and thicker food, which is due to the extinction of the “spoon ejection reflex”. The introduction of complementary foods after 6 months can cause a pronounced deficiency of micronutrients (iron, zinc, etc. ) and lead to a delay in the formation of chewing skills for thick foods. Too late the introduction of a variety of products increases the risk of allergic reactions. Remember that the timing of the introduction of complementary foods is set individually, taking into account the readiness of the child to accept new foods.

Complementary feeding guidelines:

1. introduce a new product in the first half of the day to track possible reactions to it;

2. cereals, vegetable / fruit / meat purees should be introduced, starting with monocomponent ones, gradually adding other products of this group;

3. start giving a new product with 1/2 teaspoon, gradually increasing the volume to the age norm within a week;

4. It is not recommended to introduce new products during acute infectious diseases or at some special moments (moving to another apartment, leaving the city, on vacation, illness of parents, etc.).

What is the best way to start complementary foods?

The first complementary food can be anything. Often parents worry that if the child first tries the fruit, then because of its sweet taste, he will refuse other foods. We hasten to reassure you: breast milk is also sweet, so babies may like sweet fruits / berries more, but this does not mean at all that he will refuse vegetables or cereal. Traditionally, they begin to introduce complementary foods in the form of mashed potatoes, but if the child shows interest in “pieces”, then, observing the safety rules, you can give them. Also, along with the introduction of complementary foods, you can offer the child water.

With the start of the introduction of complementary foods, the child is gradually transferred to a 5-time feeding regimen. If the baby shows that he is full and no longer wants to eat (for example, leaning back or turning away from food), then you should not continue to force him to feed, because this can lead to eating disorders in the future. Also, do not force the child to eat as much as possible before bedtime in the hope that he will not wake up for nightly feedings.

Traditionally, in our country, complementary foods begin with vegetables or cereals.

Vegetables: zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, etc. If the child did not like the dish, for example, broccoli, do not give up on your plan and continue to offer this vegetable in small quantities daily, you can even not once, but 2-3 times, and after a while (7-14 days) the baby will get used to the new taste. This diversifies his diet, will help form the right taste habits in the child.

As for cereals, it is worth starting with dairy-free gluten-free ones - buckwheat, corn, rice. You can use commercial baby food porridge, which is enriched primarily with iron. In addition, such porridge is already ready to eat, you just need to dilute it with water, which will save you a lot of time.

It is also recommended to add oil to food, for example, vegetable puree to vegetable puree, and butter to porridge.

Of meat products, lean meats, such as mashed turkey or rabbit, are most preferred to start complementary foods. Meat puree contains iron, which is easily absorbed, and adding meat to vegetables improves the absorption of this micronutrient from them. Subsequently, the daily use of children's enriched porridge and mashed meat allows you to meet the needs of babies for iron, zinc and other micronutrients.

When introducing fruit purees (apple, pear, peach, prunes, etc.) into your baby's diet, you should pay special attention to the composition of the product - it is important that it does not contain added sugar.

Fish is a source of easily digestible protein and contains a large amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including the omega-3 class, as well as vitamins B2, B12, and minerals. Preference should be given to oceanic fish, preferably white (cod, hake, pollock, sea bass, etc.), salmon can be recommended from red, and pike perch from river.

Fermented milk products are prepared using a special starter culture that breaks down milk protein, so that the baby can get an indispensable set of amino acids in a well-available form. Some foods have added prebiotics, certain vitamins and minerals. Their regular use favorably affects the functioning of the intestines, increases appetite and the absorption of micronutrients.

Recommendations and timing of the introduction of complementary foods for children at risk of developing food allergies and suffering from food allergies are the same as for healthy children. Delayed introduction of highly allergenic foods has previously been recommended to prevent the development of allergic diseases in children at risk. There is now evidence that this practice may lead to an increase rather than a decrease in the incidence of food allergies. The most common highly allergenic foods include cow's milk, chicken eggs, soybeans, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and fish. If a child has a high risk of developing allergies or an existing allergic disease, it is recommended to consult a pediatrician, an allergist-immunologist before introducing highly allergenic products.

By the age of 8 months, when all the main food groups have already been introduced and your baby is improving his skills to eat on his own, special attention should be paid to the diversity of the composition of dishes and the change in food consistency - from puree to finely and coarsely ground. Soft foods cut into small pieces (fruits, vegetables, meat, etc.) are perfect for a little gourmet, which diversifies his diet and will contribute to the formation of chewing skills.

By 9-12 months, most babies have the dexterity to drink from a cup (holding with both hands) and to eat foods prepared for other family members. This behavior needs to be encouraged, but combined with regular feeding to meet energy and nutrient requirements.

It is advisable to use industrial products that are designed specifically for young children after a year.

What should not be given to the baby?

It is not recommended to add salt or sugar to food to enhance the taste.

Drinks that should be avoided include fruit juices, whole cow and goat milk (whole milk is not recommended for children under one year old, and even longer, due to a high risk of developing iron deficiency and increased kidney stress), sweet fruit drinks, compotes and carbonated drinks.

Also, some foods should be excluded from the diet of infants: solid round foods (for example, nuts, grapes, raw carrots, raisins, peas, etc.), due to the fact that the child can choke on them.

It is not recommended to eat products with added sugar, for example, confectionery (marshmallow, marshmallow, marmalade, jam, jam, cookies, waffles, etc.), etc.

You should not give your child the meat of large predatory fish (shark, bigeye tuna, king mackerel, swordfish): these types of fish accumulate more harmful substances than others.

It is forbidden to give honey to children under one year old due to the fact that it may contain spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which in the still immature digestive system of babies are able to multiply, produce toxins directly inside the intestines and, thus, cause infant botulism, which can be fatal. outcome.

Do not give babies raw meat, fish, eggs, caviar, salted fish, soft pickled cheeses because of the risk of intestinal infections.

If you follow all these simple rules, your baby will grow up healthy and happy!

Diets for different ages


1. Methodological recommendations. The program for optimizing the feeding of children in the first year of life in the Russian Federation. [Internet]. - M.: Union of Pediatricians of Russia, 2019. [Methodicheskie rekomendaczii. Programma optimizaczii vskarmlivaniya detej pervogo goda zhizni v Rossijskoj Federaczii. [Internet]. – Moscow: Soyuz pediatrov Rossii, 2019.(In Russ.).] Available: Link active as of 20.04.2020

2. Duryea T.K. Introducing solid foods and vitamin and mineral supplementation during infancy. In: Post T, ed. UpToDate . Waltham, Mass.: UpToDate; 2020. Accessed April 20, 2020.

3.Fleischer D.M. Introducing highly allergenic foods to infants and children. In: Post T, ed. UpToDate . Waltham, Mass.: UpToDate; 2020. Accessed April 20, 2020.

how many spoons, grams per day

Published: 06/21/2020

Reading time: 4 min.

Number of reads: 23130

Author of the article: Ponomareva Yulia Vladimirovna

Pediatrician, Candidate of Medical Sciences, allergist-immunologist

The introduction of complementary foods is a responsible and necessary period in the life of both parents and children. In essence, this is a transitional stage of nutrition, when the baby's body gradually moves from easily digestible, maximally adapted breast milk to a varied adult diet.

Content: Hide

  1. Individual program
  2. Introduction rules
  3. When and how often to give
  4. Child refuses to eat
  5. Individual intolerance
  6. Preparation of complementary foods

Individual program

The timing of administration, as well as the order of choice of products, is always individual. Ideally, parents should work with their pediatrician to develop a complementary feeding schedule for their baby. It takes into account many factors, such as the state of health of the child, whether the baby was born full-term, how he gains height and weight every month, whether the mother has enough milk, and how the process of maturation of the baby's digestive system occurs. As the first product of complementary foods, experts recommend choosing vegetable puree or porridge. It is better to prefer specialized industrial products with a high level of safety, quality raw materials and modern manufacturing technologies.

Rules for introducing

Any new complementary foods should be started when the baby is healthy, without interfering with preventive vaccinations or any planned significant events in the baby's life. The mother herself should avoid eating foods that are unusual for her traditional diet these days in order to objectively assess the reaction to the product introduced to the baby. It is always necessary to start with a monocomponent composition, that is, from one type of vegetable or cereal without the addition of salt and sugar, and also initially prefer products with a low risk of developing allergic reactions. Any new product should be introduced gradually, starting with a small amount. “How much to give complementary foods for the first time?” is a traditional question for many parents. Start introducing complementary foods with ½-1 teaspoon, which corresponds to about 5-10 grams of vegetables or cereal.

When and how often to give

Introduce the new product once a day in the morning, before breastfeeding. When the baby is hungry, he will be more willing to try a product that tastes very different from his usual milk or formula. When you start complementary foods in the morning, you have time to observe possible reactions to a new food. If you do not notice any significant changes in the baby's health, repeat the introduction of the same type of complementary foods in the amount of 1 teaspoon in the next two days. Increase the amount of product introduced gradually, so the child's digestive tract will smoothly adapt to the new food. If complementary foods are well tolerated, in about 10 days, bring the amount to the required amount recommended at this age. For an infant at 5 months, the volume of feeding should be about 150 ml. Do not be upset if the child at first eats only half of the prescribed volume. Each baby has his own characteristics and preferences, if he starts to turn away from the spoon, stop and supplement him with breast milk.

The child refuses to eat

Read also: How much does a newborn eat per feeding?

The best option is when the baby is happy to eat a new complementary food and tolerates it without any reactions. But what if the baby is naughty and rejects the offered food? Do not panic, this situation occurs quite often, because for a child it is completely different from the usual food. He needs to adapt to the innovations in his life. Do not insist that the baby necessarily eat the offered food, but the next day give him the opportunity to try it again. It often takes 10-15 attempts for a child to get used to a new taste and taste the product. Another secret that can improve the perception of the baby is the addition of mother's milk to the complementary foods. Familiar smells and tastes will increase your child's interest in new foods. Use expressed milk to make porridge by warming it up a little in a water bath, and then add the right amount for the desired consistency of the finished dish. You can also add a small amount of mother's milk to vegetable puree during the adaptation period.

Individual intolerance

The situation becomes a problem when the baby not only refuses a new food, but he has signs of intolerance. Most adverse reactions occur within the first 6 hours after eating. Always carefully examine the baby's skin for a rash, watch for changes in the digestive system, pay attention to the baby's behavior and sleep. After taking a new product, the child should not have vomiting, abdominal pain, loose stools or retention. There may be a temporary change in the consistency of feces or the appearance of heterogeneous lumps, this is the norm at this stage. In the event of an undesirable reaction, it is necessary to stop the introduction of a new product; in case of serious violations of the baby's health, it is necessary to seek the advice of a pediatrician. It is possible to resume the introduction of complementary foods only after the condition is normalized, not earlier than 7 days after the reaction. In this situation, it is better to introduce another possible food group into the diet next. So, if regurgitation or abdominal pain was noted against the background of the introduction of vegetable puree, you can try porridge instead.

Preparing complementary foods

Remember to offer a fresh complementary food each time. Vegetable puree of industrial production can be stored in an airtight package in the refrigerator for no more than a day, and porridge must be diluted immediately before use each time.

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