What age do you start giving babies baby food
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.
- 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.
Top of Page
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
From 4 to 6 months
Breast milk is the best food for your baby.
It is very important that the baby consumes breast milk for as long as possible.
The right age to start complementary foods
It is recommended to start introducing complementary foods into the baby's diet no earlier than 4 months, but no later than 6 months*. At this age, the baby is in the active phase of development and reacts with curiosity to everything new! Some babies at 4 to 5 months of age can no longer satisfy their appetite with breast milk alone and need complementary foods for healthy growth. Other children have enough breast milk, and they are ready for the introduction of complementary foods only after 6 months. The decision to start complementary foods should always be made according to your baby's development. Do you feel like your baby is not getting enough breast milk? Does your baby hold his head on his own, show interest in new foods or a spoon? Then it's time to start feeding. If in doubt, consult your pediatrician.
If your baby spits out the first spoonfuls of puree, be patient. After all, he must first learn to swallow it. Start with a few scoops and give your child time to get used to the new form of feeding.
*Recommendation of the Nutrition Committee of the European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN)
Why is complementary food important for the baby?
After 4-6 months of life, mother's milk or milk formula alone is not enough to supply the child's body with all the nutrients and necessary energy. In addition, the transition to solid food trains the muscles of the mouth. And finally, with the introduction of complementary foods, the child will get acquainted with the variety of taste directions, which is also important for his development.
When to start complementary foods?
Gradually replace one breastfeed with complementary foods. First for lunch, then for dinner and finally for lunch. The mouse eats breakfast with the usual dairy food.
Starting complementary foods with HiPP products is easy. The first spoons will be vegetable or fruit purees HiPP:
First step: lunch
We recommend that you start complementary foods at lunchtime with HiPP vegetable puree (for example, "Zucchini. My first puree", "Cauliflower. My first puree" or "Broccoli .My first puree"). Then, for satiety, feed your baby as always: breast or bottle. The amount of vegetable puree can be increased daily by 1 spoon. Be patient if your baby does not immediately love vegetables. Try repeating the vegetable puree in the following days. Next week, you can expand your diet with other varieties of HiPP vegetables (for example, "Carrots. My first puree" or "Potatoes. My first puree").
If your baby tolerates vegetables well, in the third week you can introduce grain porridge into the diet, and as a dessert, offer a few spoons of fruit puree enriched with vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to better absorb iron in the body.
Once your baby starts eating a whole serving of mashed potatoes for lunch, you can eliminate breast milk or formula during that meal.
Tip: Reheat as much puree as needed for feeding. Store leftover puree in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. Use the contents of the opened jar within a day.
Important! If you are using a microwave, please remove the lid before reheating puree. Stir after heating. To prevent damage to the jar, please use only a plastic spoon. Always check food temperature before feeding.
from 6 months
HiPP product groups can be recognized by the following color coding:
Learn more: Advice
Video: Weaning introduction - OB tips Video: Baby massage Diet
From birth to 4 months From 4 to 6 months From 6 months From 7 to 9 months From 10 months to 12 months
Food and drinkDigestion of the babyOn holiday with the babyAllergySleepCrying of the babyMotor skills and speech
Choice of complementary foods
No age restrictions from the first daysfrom 1 monthfrom 4 monthsfrom 5 monthsfrom 6 monthsfrom 7 monthsfrom 8 monthsfrom 9 monthsfrom 10 monthsfrom 12 months
Choose a product categoryVegetable purees - Vegetable puree from 4 months - Vegetable puree from 5 months - Vegetable puree from 6 months - Vegetable puree from 7 months - Vegetable puree from 8 months Fruit puree - from 4 months - from 5 months months - from 6 monthsMeat purees - Meat pureesMeat and vegetable menu - from 8 months - from 12 monthsFish and vegetable menu - from 9Soups - from 6 months - from 7 months - from 8 months - from 12 months - From 18 months "Good night" in jars - Cereal porridge with fruits in jarsDrinks - Health drinks - Granulated teas - Tea bags - JuicesCookies - Cookies
Optimal nutrition for children over 6 months of age
Submitted by useradmin on Thu, 08/12/2021 - 21:24
Starting from the 6th month of life, in addition to breast milk (or its substitutes), your baby needs additional foods (complementary foods) to ensure healthy growth and development. In the absence of other recommendations from your pediatrician, the approximate time for the introduction of complementary foods is the 20-26th week of life (24th is optimal). Carefully study the characteristics of the products before introducing them into your baby's diet. It is important that the child gets used to natural food from the very beginning. Commercial foods may contain ingredients not recommended for baby food, including excess fat, salt, sugar, and preservatives; in addition, its consistency differs from that of natural, local products.
Your pediatrician will help you decide which product to introduce first complementary foods based on your child's nutritional and health status.
It is still necessary to continue breastfeeding on demand both during the day and at night.
Breast milk is still the most important part of your baby's diet. There is no need to supplement your baby with substitutes (adapted milk formulas) as well as follow-up formulas (adapted milk formulas for babies over 6 months), as breast milk provides the baby with all the nutrients he needs.
Don't forget to breastfeed your baby after each feeding.
When introducing complementary foods, it is important to consider several important points:
- Frequency : offer your child new foods (complementary foods) 2 times a day.
- Volume : The introduction of new foods into a child's diet should be gradual. Offer complementary foods for trial, increasing by 2-3 tablespoons at each meal.
- Consistency: The food should be thick enough to make it easier to spoon feed and help the baby get used to food with a different consistency than breast milk.
- Variety :
- Start with one new product. Give it for three days, while paying attention to the reaction of the child. It is not recommended to introduce several products at the same time - this can provoke an allergic reaction and make it difficult to determine the product that should be excluded from the diet.
- Consider cereals as first food, such as thick porridge (rice, buckwheat or oatmeal) without added milk.
- Vegetable purees - from pumpkin, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, cabbage, spinach - it is recommended to introduce before fruits. It is preferable to give the child local seasonal vegetables and fruits.
- After the porridge is fully introduced into the diet, you can gradually start adding an egg, fruit, leafy greens, meat or dairy products to it.
- Baby orientation: It may take some time for your baby to get used to eating other than breast milk. Be patient and actively encourage your child. Don't force him to eat if he doesn't want to. Observe your baby and respond to his signals. Feed your baby slowly and patiently, at his own pace. Wait until he chews and swallows before offering something again. Stop feeding if the child refuses a new food for him, try to offer it another time. Use a separate plate so that you can see if the child has eaten everything that was offered to him.
- Hygiene: Good hygiene (cleanliness) is essential to prevent diarrhea and other illnesses in the child. Use clean utensils and utensils when preparing food and feeding. Store food in a safe and clean place in accordance with the terms and rules indicated on them. Remember to follow the basic rules of personal hygiene - wash your hands with soap and water before preparing food and feeding the child, after using the toilet, after performing hygiene procedures and washing the child. Wash your child's hands before eating.
Products not recommended for this age:
- Whole cow's (also goat's) milk. It is not recommended to give to children in the first year of life, because its composition does not meet the needs of infants and it can contribute to the development of anemia and allergies. To prepare cereals, you can use a small amount (diluted 1: 1 with boiled water) of cow's milk.
- Citrus fruits (lemon, orange, mandarin).
- Tropical fruits and vegetables.
- Sweets, pastries, confectionery.
- Fried snacks (chips, croutons, snacks), fast food (fast food).
- Tea (black, green, herbal), carbonated and/or sugary drinks, dyes.
- Industrially processed meat products (sausages, sausages).
- Salt, spices, food additives.
- Any kind of nuts and seeds.
Always think about safety: do not give your child nuts, popcorn, small fruits or whole grapes, pieces of solid food that can choke on.
Feeding according to baby's needs
When you start weaning, the best time to do so is during the day when both you and your baby are in a good mood and relaxed. It may take a long time for a child to get used to a new food (complementary foods). Be patient and actively encourage him to eat, but don't force him. These are new skills for a toddler and take time and patience to master them.
Watch your child and respond to his signals.