Semi solid food for 3 months old baby

When Can My Baby Start Eating Solid Foods? (for Parents)

A friend just started giving her 3-month-old applesauce and rice cereal. My son is just 2 weeks younger than hers, and I am wondering if I should be introducing solids soon too. When should I start?

Doctors recommend waiting until a baby is about 6 months old to start solid foods. Starting before 4 months is not recommended.

At about 6 months, babies need the added nutrition — such as iron and zinc — that solid foods provide. It’s also the right time to introduce your infant to new tastes and textures. 

Some babies may be ready for solids sooner than 6 months, but don't start until your baby is at least 4 months old.

How do you know it’s the right time to start solid foods? Here are some signs that babies are ready:

  • They have good head and neck control and sit up in a high chair.
  • They're interested in foods. For example, they may watch others eat, reach for food, and open their mouths when food approaches.
  • They don’t push food out of their mouths, which is a natural tongue reflex that disappears when they’re between 4–6 months old.
  • They weigh twice their birth weight, or close to it.

Talk to your doctor about the right time to start solid foods.

How Should I Start Solids?

When the time is right, you can start with a single-grain, iron-fortified baby cereal. Start with 1 or 2 tablespoons of cereal mixed with breast milk, formula, or water. Feed your baby with a small baby spoon. Don’t add cereal or other food to a baby's bottle because it can lead to too much weight gain. Let your baby practice eating from a spoon and learn to stop when full.

When your baby gets the hang of eating the first food, introduce others, such as puréed meat, fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, or yogurt. Try one food at a time and wait a few days before trying something else new to make sure your baby doesn't have an allergic reaction.

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 are 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.

When starting your baby on solids, avoid:

  • 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 drinks 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

Also, do not give fruit juices to infants younger than 12 months old.

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.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD

Date reviewed: February 2021

Tips on Semisolid Foods for Babies | Healthy Eating

By Sharon Perkins Updated December 19, 2018

It's hard to eat solid foods before you have teeth, which is one reason why babies start with semisolid foods and work their way up. Semisolid foods contain soft particles that your baby can mash with her gums. Mashed fruits or vegetables, ground meat and cereal are semisolid foods. Introducing your baby to semisolid foods takes patience and a healthy supply of bibs, since most babies initially end up wearing more food than they swallow.

When to Start

Babies don't have the swallowing ability to handle solid foods until they reach 4 to 6 months of age, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Signs of readiness include being able to sit up; an interest in food, as evidenced by your baby reaching for your food opening his mouth or smacking his lips when you eat; and the ability to move food from his mouth to the back of his throat for swallowing. If you give your baby a mouthful of food and he pushes it right back out with his tongue -- a reflex known as the tongue-thrust reflex -- he might not be ready yet. On the other hand, most babies make a mess of their food at first; persevere for a few days and then quit if he still doesn't seem to get the concept of swallowing semisolids.

What to Give First

For years, cereal was the first semisolid most babies received. Cereal generally has a bland taste and a consistency that can be adjusted to your baby's swallowing ability by adding more or less milk. However, you don't need to start with cereal; any semisolid food will do. You also don't need to choose strained baby food in jars. Fruits, vegetables and meats that you grind at home are cheaper, often taste better and can be made with the amount of salt and/or sugar you want your baby to have. Avoid home-grown spinach, beets, green beans, squash and carrots, which can contain high nitrate levels. Nitrates can cause anemia in babies. If you give your baby cereal, mix it with formula or breast milk, not whole milk; babies younger than 1 year of age don't digest the proteins in milk well.

Signs of an Allergy

If your baby breaks out in a rash or hives, begins to wheeze or has trouble breathing, develops diarrhea or acts like he has a stomach ache, he might have a food allergy. Allergy symptoms normally appear within a few minutes to two hours after eating an allergenic food. Common food allergens include milk, wheat, soy, nuts, peanuts, eggs, shellfish and fish. These eight foods cause 90 percent of all allergic reactions, according to Notify your baby's doctor if he develops symptoms of food allergy; seek immediate medical attention if he has trouble breathing. Avoid foods that mix several ingredients, such as mixed cereals, until your baby has eaten each of the ingredients separately at least once. A food allergy can develop at any time, though, even if your baby has eaten a food with no problem in the past. Wait five to seven days between introducing new foods into your baby's diet, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia advises. That way, you will have a clearer idea of which food caused the reaction if your baby develops allergy symptoms.

Advancing the Diet

Feed your baby only from a spoon; if you have to put cereal in a bottle or use a dropper or other device to get your baby to eat it, he's not ready for it. If your baby chokes easily on semisolids or still pushes food back after the first few days, wait a few weeks and try again. Let your baby dictate how much he wants to eat at each meal; being a member of the "clean plate club" can result in weight problems. Encourage your baby to try a variety of foods; try not to let your facial expression reveal your own distaste for a certain food; babies are good at reading their parents' expressions.

  • American Academy of Pediatrics: Switching to Solid Foods
  • Food Allergies: Understanding Labels
  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: Infant Feeding Guide
  • Ask Dr. Sears: 6 Reasons To Delay Introducing Solid Food
  • Food Allergies
Writer Bio

A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.


Doctor, when is the best time to introduce complementary foods? What are the dangers of introducing complementary foods too early or too late?

In fact, there are no universal recommendations regarding the introduction of complementary foods, - says Solomiya Maksimchuk, - because each baby has its own characteristics, so the approach should be individual. Therefore, answering the first question - when it is advisable to introduce complementary foods, I cannot name a specific figure, because in fact complementary foods are introduced at 3 months, and at 4, and at 6, and at 8 - depending on the indications. In my medical practice, there were children who were one year old, and no matter how we tried to introduce complementary foods, everything was in vain - the kids did not show any food interest, especially those who were breastfed. They had a good weight gain, psychomotor development, but they did not show food interest, and this is not very good, because the children did not form and did not prepare the gastrointestinal tract for the perception of other foods. What, then, can be advised to a mother who is faced with this problem? In this case, I am more guided not by my professional experience, but by the experience of the mother, understanding how difficult it is to force a child to eat if he does not want to.

In which case is it advisable to introduce complementary foods earlier, in which case - adhering to standard norms?

In the case of breastfeeding (if the baby is completely healthy), I start talking about this when the baby is 6 months old. With artificial feeding, we are talking about the introduction of complementary foods when the baby is 4 months old. Some mothers are of the opinion that breast milk contains all the necessary micronutrients, so you should not rush to complementary foods. Of course, this is true - if the mother adheres to the right diet, she eats fully. But in fact, complementary foods help prepare the baby’s herbal system - the child learns different tastes, because it’s no secret that when a baby receives only breast milk, some digestive juices are released, and in the case of complementary foods, completely different ones, therefore, introducing complementary foods, we gradually prepare an enzymatic system.

Which foods are the first to be introduced into complementary foods, because there are different views on this issue - someone advises fermented milk products, someone vegetable purees or juice?

It all depends on the specific situation. If complementary foods are introduced at 3 months, indications are necessary for this - these are digestive disorders of the baby, the child's tendency to constipation. In this case, I recommend giving fermented milk products to the child at the first stage of the introduction of complementary foods. For children who are bottle-fed and have digestive problems, I recommend fermented milk mixtures (horses are considered the first complementary foods). If we are talking about a completely healthy child, first of all, I advise you to introduce vegetable puree - it is easily digested by the children's gastrointestinal tract. Usually, this is a puree of zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips, parsley, white carrots, potatoes. Unfortunately, in our area there is not a wide variety of products. Pediatricians should take this into account when advising the mother what to choose at the beginning of complementary foods in winter, because if we advise a zucchini in February, will we find it on the shelves, and if so, will this exotic product benefit the baby?

The first complementary foods start with a small amount - a teaspoon per day. Prepare, for example, zucchini puree. We give the baby half a teaspoon of puree once a day - at lunchtime, and every next day we increase the amount of the product. On average, in 14 days it is possible to increase the amount of complementary foods to 50-70 grams - it all depends on how the child perceives the new food. When a child eats more - up to 100 grams of vegetables, we can diversify the menu - add boiled broccoli or cauliflower to the zucchini. When a child eats mostly 2-3 vegetables, we can introduce the next complementary foods (mashed potatoes based on several vegetables are considered one complementary food). The next step is the introduction of fruit puree. Provided that the child responds well to the first complementary foods, after 3 weeks, vegetable complementary foods in the amount of 100 grams can be introduced. And then at 6.5-7 months you can introduce fruits - apples of green or yellow varieties in a baked form.

At the same time, we add a certain amount of fat - olive or sunflower oil - to the prepared vegetable mixture. After the introduction of vegetables and fruits, depending on the age, we introduce the yolk or meat. Regarding when it is worth introducing fruit juices - at one time pediatricians focused considerable attention on this. Today, if a child is breastfed, we do not insist on a drinking regimen or suggest adding water or herbal decoctions from chamomile, dill, fennel to drinking. Fruit juices must be administered concurrently when the child consumes a certain amount of fruit. It can be apple juice - by no means multivitamin or citrus.

What if the baby does not accept a certain product?

If a rash appears on the baby’s skin, the baby is worried about intestinal disorders, anxiety associated with abdominal pain, or if there is a tendency to constipation-diarrhea due to the introduction of a certain product, we leave in the diet products of all previous stages of complementary feeding, but the one that provoked disorders, cancel. If it is difficult for the mother to understand which particular product caused the disorders, it is necessary to return to the initial level for a certain time - breastfeeding, which at the same time will encourage the mother to adhere to a hypoallergenic diet or a balanced diet. If the baby is on artificial feeding, it is necessary to return to the use of the mixture, without complementary foods. Then, at a slightly more intense pace, you need to take the same steps to introduce complementary foods as before, carefully observing the reaction of the baby.

At what stages of complementary feeding do we introduce cereals, meat, fish, egg yolk? What foods do we start introducing when teeth are erupting in a baby?

After vegetables and fruits, we introduce the yolk into complementary foods, then meat or cereals, the next is sour-milk complementary foods. However, I want to note that the presence of teeth has nothing to do with the introduction of complementary foods, because in fact, children do not chew for a long time. The purpose of complementary foods and the task of the child is to be able to form a food lump in the oral cavity. Then, when the baby swallows liquid food, he hardly retains it in his mouth. And complementary foods make it possible to retain food, enveloping it with saliva and then swallowing it in small portions. In some babies, teething happens even a year, but they have complete complementary foods.

Regarding the timing of complementary foods - meat is given to the baby after about 7 months. Rabbit meat, turkey fillet, beef, quail are best suited. I am often asked whether it is possible to give a child chicken meat during the complementary feeding period. If you are sure that the chicken is home grown without the addition of hormones, chicken is also suitable for the baby's diet.

I recommend eating fish after 10 months - in any case, not red varieties (red fish can be given to a child only after two years of life). The best option is white sea fish of low-fat varieties. When introducing cereals into the diet, it must be remembered that they must be adapted by age - it is these cereals that contain the destroyed grain shell, which contains the most harmful carbohydrates, in particular, gluten. Once upon a time, parents ground rice or buckwheat, but because of these products, the baby had problems with digestion, because there was a certain load on his body. At the beginning of complementary foods, it is better to give free-flowing adapted dairy-free cereals - we breed them in water. When the child has taken this complementary food well, we can introduce milk porridge. For children who are breastfed and are underweight after 4 months, there are other recommendations. As a breastfeeding aficionado, my advice is to stimulate a mother's lactation by reviewing her diet. At the same time, it is advisable to introduce dairy-free cereals, since they provide more calories than vegetables. There are also cases when a child is one year old and mothers replace breastfeeding with formula milk from a bottle. In fact, the baby does not need additional nutrients, moreover, there is no need for supplementation or feeding from a bottle - this is a step back.

Were there cases of anemia among children under one year of age? How to prevent this problem?

Although not often, there are cases of anemia in the practice of a pediatrician. Iron deficiency anemia in a baby occurs in the majority in the absence of a child’s nutritional interest, when it is not possible to adequately introduce complementary foods. But it is necessary to take into account the fact that if the child has low hemoglobin, then the mother has it even lower, because the baby receives everything that is possible during lactation. Therefore, first of all, we work with mom's diet. At the same time, we are taking more intensive steps in replacement feeding - introducing red meats, in particular beef, if age permits (at 8-9months), offal: boiled beef tongue, beef, turkey, rabbit liver, apples, buckwheat for children under one year of age.

Until what age is it best to breastfeed a baby?

When it comes to the formation of immunity, breastfeeding up to 6 months of a child's life is most appropriate, because the baby needs the protection that he receives from his mother. After 6 months of life, the child's immune system independently forms antibodies. When it comes to nutritional content, the baby should be breastfed for up to a year, because thanks to the adequate intake of complementary foods, the baby receives the main food. At the same time, it is necessary to take into account the season - in winter it is more difficult to wean a child from the breast, since there is a much smaller variety of products on the shelves, in winter babies get sick more often, and breast milk helps to calm down, satisfy the drinking regimen. Another problem is psychological attachment, because some children at the age of 1.5 years are difficult to take away from the breast, and even at 2 years old.

Weaning and weaning puppies

From 3-4 weeks old, you can start feeding puppies with food in liquid or mushy form. In an earlier period, it is possible to practice supplementary feeding of puppies with milk substitutes, which is justified with large litters that cannot grow normally without additional complementary foods. The reason for insufficient weight gain may be the competition of puppies and pushing the weaker ones. In this case, underweight puppies need to be supplemented.

What to feed puppies? The food that they will eat after weaning. If we are talking about ready-made food, then it is better to take a specialized food for puppies of this breed group (dry food needs to be soaked, wet food needs to be heated in a water bath and not overheated). If this is a home ration for puppies, then it should be crushed after cooking (beat it with a blender into a puree). That is, homemade food should be quite liquid - the consistency of liquid puree. Also, many manufacturers have special ready-made mixtures for feeding puppies, usually they are called "porridge for puppies".

At what age can we start feeding puppies?

Complementary foods can be started from 3 weeks . The feed mixture must be fresh and warmed up to body temperature (38-39°C). At first, puppies, as a rule, pay little attention to food, because the main supply of nutrients comes from milk. But when one puppy starts eating food, the rest follow suit.

If puppies ignore the food, gently try to attract them to it by gently bringing the nose to the food or putting a small amount of it into the mouth with your finger. Coercive measures, of course, are categorically excluded.

Complete food (commercial) for puppies. When transferring puppies from 3-4 weeks to semi-solid food, it is recommended to choose a sufficiently energy-intensive food (specialized for puppies) and turn it into a thick porridge by adding water. Canned (wet) food is diluted with water in a ratio of 1:1, dry food requires the addition of three times the amount of water. Water for soaking dry food should be at a temperature of about 50 degrees, then soaking the food will take 10-15 minutes. If the water is colder, the food will take longer to soak. Feed should be at least at room temperature, preferably at body temperature . If a bag of food is on a balcony (or in a cold room) during the winter, the food may take longer to soak, which already violates the conditions for using the food. Heat it up before soaking it.

Weaning for puppies is discussed in detail at the webinar: From 2-3 weeks from the start of complementary foods, puppies begin to eat porridge already with an appetite. In case of a reaction in the form of a change in the consistency of the stool, vomiting or diarrhea, complementary foods are stopped for half a day or a day or its amount is reduced . The transition to unsoaked food is possible from 5-6 weeks of age. At the same time, it is necessary to provide the animals with a sufficient amount of fresh water. It is advisable to gradually reduce the amount of water when soaking. The same measure is recommended to increase the appetite of puppies.

The amount of food is selected according to the appetite of the puppies. Due to the different amounts of milk in bitches, it is not possible to give clear amounts. The amount of food should be such that it is eaten by puppies without residue. If the puppies did not finish the food, a smaller amount should be prepared for the next feeding. If their stool becomes liquid, the amount of complementary foods is reduced.

Puppies should be fed separately from their mother so that they can eat without interference. While the puppies are with their mother, 3 feedings with 8-10 hour nightly intervals are enough. Food should be offered to puppies on a flat plate. All dishes must be thoroughly washed after each feeding!

At what age can puppies be weaned from their mother?

Weaning of puppies can be carried out from 6 weeks, as a rule, this period ends by 8 weeks. Weaning is done only when the puppies start eating enough food (daily allowance) .

Puppies at weaning are left with the usual amount of food for 2-3 days, after which it is gradually increased to the recommended daily allowance. The rapid weaning of puppies from the mother with a simultaneous decrease in her daily feed intake leads to a rapid decrease in milk production and prevents complications associated with the mammary glands. But we will talk about this in another article about feeding pregnant and lactating bitches .

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