Schedule for introducing 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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Homemade baby food introducing solids schedule

By Kathryn Doherty

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure policy

Homemade baby food introducing solids schedule is a guide on what foods to introduce to your baby at different stages. A great way for making sure they get plenty of variety!

Introducing solids to your little one — which just means supplementing the breast milk or formula they are getting with baby food purees — is an exciting and somewhat scary time. It can be intimidating to know what to do, when and how.

I’ve put together a lot of homemade baby food resources on this blog to help you through the process and to encourage you to make your own baby food. It’s so, so easy. I promise!

Update: I’ve also written a new cookbook all about making healthy, easy baby food! The Healthy, Quick & Easy Baby Food cookbook is available on Amazon and in most booksellers. It’s got all the info and resources you need to get started, plus 100 recipes ranging from single purees to combinations to finger foods and toddler meals. You’ll have everything you need in one place! (Also, it makes a great gift!)

Today though, I’ve created a homemade baby food introducing solids schedule for you to use as a guide to beginning this journey.

This list is what I researched and used when introducing baby food to M and I mostly stuck to the same thing with J. My kiddos loved purees and were not big on baby-led weaning, so this is the route I took.

(And if you want to save that schedule above, I made a free printable PDF for you!)

  • Currently, the recommendation is to introduce solids to a baby somewhere between 4 and 6 months old, depending on the child’s readiness. Talk to your pediatrician about when to introduce solids for your baby.
  • Wait 3-5 days between introducing new foods, to monitor for an allergic reaction.
  • Speaking of allergies, current research says it’s OK to introduce peanut products as early as 4-6 months old. (This is new since my kids were babies. ) If you are concerned about a possible peanut allergy, please check with your health care provider before offering any type of peanut product to your baby.
  • You can refrigerate homemade baby food for up to 3-5 days and freeze baby food for up to 6 months. Just be sure to label everything!
  • Got extra? I’ve got tons of ideas and recipes (and a video and free printable, too) for ways to use leftover baby food.
  • Check out my master list of homemade baby food resources for more info.

Also, if you are new to this journey, check out my guide on how to make homemade baby food purees. I walk you through ALL the ins and outs of making purees at home, including step-by-step instructions for 10 favorite beginner purees.

You can watch this video to see how easy it is to make your own baby food:

I hope this homemade baby food introducing solids schedule is helpful for you to get started! Here’s the  FREE PRINTABLE again if you want to print this schedule out to save.

Oh, and if you have a fussy teething baby that’s 8 months or older, definitely check out these homemade baby teething biscuits.

And if you want to be super efficient in making baby purees, it’s all about the batch cooking.

Here are my collections of beginner homemade baby food batch cooking — lots of beginner baby food basics grouped together to make the most out of your precious time. You can knock out 5 foods in as little as 20 minutes!

These batch cooking guides will also give you step-by-step details on how exactly to prepare various foods for your baby.

Homemade baby food round 1: peas, green beans, applesauce, butternut squash, oatmeal
Homemade baby food round 2: sweet potato, brown rice, chicken, pears, banana
Homemade baby food round 3: quinoa, peaches, avocado, pumpkin, cottage cheese
Homemade baby food round 4: broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, black beans, Greek yogurt
Homemade baby food round 5: asparagus, barley, edamame, blueberries, mango
Homemade baby food round 6: apricots, prunes, egg yolks, chick peas, blackberries

Lastly, have fun with it! It’s exciting to see your baby discover the joys of different food and flavors!

Enjoy and let me know if you have questions! Happy to try and help 😊



(P. S. Here’s the link for the free printable again!)

WHO recommendations for the introduction of complementary foods


Readiness of the child to complementary foods According to the WHO recommendation, existing for 2018, it is optimal to introduce complementary foods to an infant at 6-8 months. Until six months, the baby's gastrointestinal tract is still not sufficiently formed, all the necessary enzymes are not produced for the assimilation of food other than mother's milk or formula. And by 9-10 months, the child can already form stable stereotypes of eating only liquid food, and overcoming them will be painful and difficult for the baby.

Thus, WHO defines the following signs of a child's readiness for the introduction of complementary foods: the maturity of the digestive system; extinction of the solid food ejection reflex; the appearance of the first teeth, making it possible to chew; the readiness of the baby to be stable in an upright position; emotional readiness for new tastes and sensations.

Complementary feeding system WHO has developed recommendations for three complementary feeding options: cereals, vegetables, and meat.

Fruit complementary foods are not recommended for cereals and vegetables. This is due to the fact that up to 8-9 months the gastrointestinal tract of the baby is not ready for the absorption of raw fruits and fruit juices. It is vegetables and cereals that will populate the intestines with the necessary bacteria for the absorption of fruits.

Kefir, according to the WHO, is not considered complementary foods because it is not a solid food. The WHO complementary feeding scheme includes kefir only as an additional food from 8 months. The introduction of cow's milk is recommended by WHO only from 12 months.

Any complementary feeding scheme assumes that portions of complementary foods will systematically increase from half a teaspoon to 100-200 g. The first dishes for complementary foods are prepared exclusively with one-component. Each next component is introduced only after complete addiction to the previous one (6-7 days).

Product sequence

The following sequence of introduction of complementary foods is proposed.

  • Vegetables at 6 months.
  • Porridges on the water (oatmeal, buckwheat, corn) at 6.5 - 7 months.
  • Fruit puree, yolk at 8 months.
  • Milk porridge at 8-9 months.
  • Meat puree at 9 months.
  • Meat by-products at 9-10 months.
  • Kefir, cottage cheese, yogurt at 9-10 months.
  • Fish at 10 months.
  • Juice at 10-12 months.
  • Berry puree at 12 months.
  • Meat broths at 12 months.

The introduction of vegetable oil (olive, sunflower) in puree and porridge is allowed from 6 months: a scheme with 1 drop with a gradual increase to a volume of 1 teaspoon. The introduction of butter begins at 7 months: the scheme is from 1 g to 10 g in porridge.

For formula-fed babies, the first feeding schedule is similar, with a few exceptions. For these babies, it is better to introduce complementary foods from 5 months, because the milk mixture does not give the small body all the “building material”. The introduction of complementary foods differs only in terms: vegetable purees and cereals are introduced a month earlier.

First cereals

If the child's weight is significantly less than normal, WHO recommends starting complementary foods with non-dairy cereals. For babies, cereals are prepared only with non-dairy, unsalted, semi-liquid, absolutely homogeneous in consistency. The first cereals are prepared from cereal flour (the sorted and washed cereals are carefully ground and crushed).

The following sequence of introduction of cereals is proposed: buckwheat, rice, corn, oatmeal, semolina. It is recommended to cook semolina porridge only once a week, because it contains practically no nutrients, but it is rich in gluten, which can cause problems in the intestines. Proportion for the preparation of the first porridge: 5 g of cereal flour per 100 ml of water. After slightly cooling the finished porridge, chop again. In the finished porridge, you can add 1-2 drops of vegetable oil or a little expressed breast milk.

From 9 months, the baby's nutrition system involves multicomponent cereals, from products already well known to the child. You can already add vegetables and fruits familiar to the baby to cereals. At 9 months, it is allowed to cook barley and millet porridge for babies. And by 10-11 months, cereals on the water will be a great addition to meat and fish meatballs and steam cutlets.

Vegetable food

The first purees are made from one vegetable.

The sequence of introducing vegetables into complementary foods for babies suggests the following order: zucchini, cauliflower, pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, green peas, beets. These vegetables are introduced within 6-9baby months. After 1 year, you can give your child cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes, sweet peppers, white cabbage. After preparing the puree, make sure that the mass is completely homogeneous, there are no fibers and small particles, the consistency is semi-liquid. Don't salt. Add 1-2 drops of vegetable oil or expressed milk.

If the child refuses vegetable complementary foods, cancel this product for 1-2 weeks. Try to temporarily replace it with another and return to it after a while.

Meat supplements

From 9 months old, the first meat purees are recommended for babies. The first courses are recommended to be prepared from lean meats: rabbit; quail; turkey; chicken.

Complementary foods for a 6-month-old baby are recommended to be introduced in the morning. This will allow you to track the child's reaction to an unfamiliar product before a night's sleep: is there a rash, intestinal disorders, anxiety in the baby, profuse regurgitation. It is better to give vegetables or porridge first, and then saturate with breast milk or formula. Gradually, porridge and a vegetable dish will replace one full meal. The dish must be warm and freshly cooked. Gradually, by the age of 1, your baby will develop taste preferences. You will know what dishes he eats with pleasure. In the meantime, try to fully expand the child's diet with products necessary for growth and development.

Be healthy!!!

Scheme for the introduction of complementary foods according to the new rules: what has changed -

About nutrition

When the baby is five or six months old, it's time to introduce him to "adult" food. And then the difficulties begin: the pediatrician says one thing, the grandmothers say another (they also say, they say, they raised you, and everything is in order).

Until now, Russia has followed the recommendations of the World Health Organization. And last year, a document was adopted that regulates in detail all issues related to the introduction of complementary foods - this is a new version of the "National Program for Optimizing Feeding Children in the First Year of Life in the Russian Federation. " She has made major changes to the scheme we are accustomed to.

Four major innovations

- Starting complementary foods, regardless of the type of food, is recommended from 5 months, and if there are problems with weight, even earlier.

- The introduction of meat is recommended at 6 months.

- Fruit puree is recommended for constipation at any time. In the absence of constipation, fruit puree is introduced after meat.

- Portion size of mashed potatoes and cereals for a child of 5-7 months - 150 gr.

In addition, there are a few more important details - we will analyze them.

At what age to start complementary foods

Over the past decades, the rules for introducing complementary foods have changed dramatically. It is not necessary to give a baby apple juice at three months, and borscht at six months. Offering a chicken bone to scratch her gums is also not worth it.

Recall that, according to the WHO recommendation, complementary feeding of breastfed children should be started at six months. Until this moment, it is not necessary to supplement the child even with plain water. With artificial feeding, complementary foods are usually started a month earlier. According to an individual schedule, regular food will be introduced to babies who do not grow well on their mother's milk, do not gain weight, or they have some kind of allergy.

At the same time, Russian scientists, relying on the opinion of ESPGHAN (European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition), believe that exclusive breastfeeding does not always provide a sufficient level of micronutrients, especially iron, in the baby's body.

Therefore, in their opinion, the first complementary foods should be started at five months, and already at six months meat should be added to the diet as a source of this very iron.

There are additional recommendations. For example, the UK National Health Service highlights four things that indicate that a baby is ready for food other than formula and breast milk.

- He is already sitting and holding his head well.

- He can swallow food - the spoon ejection reflex has faded.

- His movements are coordinated: he can take a spoon and put it in his mouth.

- First teeth erupted.

What foods to introduce complementary foods with

The classical scheme, relatively speaking, consists of three steps: vegetables-porridge-meat.

As a rule, the first vegetables of the child are white and green vegetables: zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli. Porridge is preferably buckwheat, corn or rice. Of course, on the water. Meat - turkey, beef, rabbit. The first baby fruits will be banana, apple, peach and pear.

Please note that if the child is not gaining weight well, then most likely the pediatrician will swap the first two steps, and complementary foods will start with cereals. He will tell you when it is really better to give the child meat. Any general rules can only be adjusted by a doctor who has been observing him since birth.

Cook your own or buy store-bought jars, it's up to you. Each of the options has its pros and cons. We only note that both the WHO and our doctors prefer industrial products.

“Modern industrial complementary foods are enriched with biologically active components, such as vitamins, minerals, pre- and probiotics, LCPUFA (omega 3), etc., which gives them functional properties,” the National Program says.

At 7 months, the new rules allow the addition of yolk, at 8 - fish puree, as well as cottage cheese and sour-milk drinks.

The attitude towards whole cow's milk has not changed - it is still not allowed to be used for baby food. And now, domestic experts have expressed an opinion about complementary foods with vegetarianism. In their opinion, "children on a vegan diet are at high risk for developing deficient conditions and require increased attention." And if parents are not going to give up their beliefs, then children need to be additionally given the necessary vitamins and minerals, especially B12.

9 complementary feeding rules

- One week, one new product. This is important for the adaptation of the body and in order to track signs of allergies if they appear. If you see that everything is in order, then after about a month and a half, new products can be introduced every three days.

- The first sample is literally three grams. It's less than half a teaspoon. And, of course, breastfeed or formula feed.

- It is desirable that complementary foods be in the afternoon feeding.

- The first real food should be liquid. Vegetable puree can first be slightly diluted with water or breast milk. 7-8 months is the time to introduce the baby to partially solid foods, and from 8-9 you can offer to chew small soft pieces, such as boiled carrots or potatoes. Ideally, by the age of one, the child can already safely eat solid food from the common table.

- Every day we slightly increase the portion. When we bring it to the desired volume (150 grams), we no longer give the breast or mixture in this feeding. At this point, you can add half a teaspoon of vegetable oil to the puree.

- When introducing new products, we always offer them first. Then we feed the already familiar ones.

- With the introduction of complementary foods, you can start offering water to your baby. And even immediately from the cup, bypassing the stage of the drinker. Juices during this period, doctors do not recommend categorically. Firstly, they have little nutritional value, and secondly, if you drink juice between meals, this increases the risk of developing caries. They can also cause weight gain if consumed in excess.

- If the child refuses complementary foods on principle, do not insist. This is common, sometimes it takes 10-15 attempts to "accept" a new product. Offer the product again after a couple of days.

- Do not introduce new foods when the baby is ill or recovering, during an allergy period, in preparation for or after vaccination. And how to improve digestion in case of dysbacteriosis, read the link.

In what order to introduce foods into the diet

(for a breastfed child without any allergic manifestations)

4-5 months (vegetables for lunch, porridge for breakfast)

1 week - zucchini

2 weeks - cauliflower

3 weeks - broccoli

4 weeks - a mixture of three already familiar vegetables + vegetable oil + teaspoon of butter

8 weeks - pumpkin, fruit puree - apple, pear, prunes

6 months (new product can be introduced every three days)

Meat - rabbit, turkey, veal in the form of puree

Baby biscuits

This was the base. Now the baby has a full breakfast and lunch, and you can introduce other foods in approximately that order, gradually replacing evening feeding with dinner.

7 months

egg yolk

8-9 months

cottage cheese, kefir, potatoes, carrots, beets, white bread, fish puree (2 times a week instead of meat), juice 9017 100003

berry puree

Another approach

In the UK, by the way, there is a completely different attitude towards the first complementary foods.

Learn more