What solid food can babies eat
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.
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Baby's first foods: How to introduce solids to your baby
Babies are typically ready to start solids between 4 and 6 months, as long as they're showing signs of readiness, such as being able to sit upright with good head control. Talk to your baby's doctor about which foods to introduce first, particularly if you're concerned about a risk for an allergy. In general, infant cereal and pureed, one-ingredient veggies, fruits, and meats are great first foods. Try spoon-feeding or baby-led weaning, and keep up the breast milk or formula until your baby's first birthday.
When do babies start eating baby food?
It depends. As long as your baby shows signs of readiness, your pediatrician will probably give you the go-ahead to start baby food (also called solid food or solids) any time between 4 and 6 months.
Until then, breast milk or formula provides all the calories and nourishment your baby needs. Infants don't yet have the physical skills to swallow solid foods safely, and their digestive system isn't ready for solids until they're at least 4 months old.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of your baby's life and introducing solids at 6 months old. The AAP advises breastfeeding until age 1 – and longer if you and your baby want to.
Signs your baby is ready for solids
Your baby will give you clear signs when they're ready. Look for:
- Head control. Your baby needs to be able to keep their head in a steady, upright position.
- Sitting well when supported. Your baby needs to be able to sit upright in a baby seat or highchair to swallow well.
- Losing the "extrusion reflex." Your baby's mouth and tongue develop in sync with their digestive system. To start solids, they should be able to move food to the back of their mouth and swallow it, instead of using their tongue to push food out of their mouth.
- Curiosity about food. Your baby may start showing interest in what you're eating, reaching for your food or even opening their mouth if you offer them a spoonful.
Starting solids by 6 months old is important for your baby's oral motor development (the use of their lips, tongue, jaw, teeth, and hard and soft palates). Also, solid foods can provide specific nutrients your baby needs, such as iron and zinc. (These are especially important if your baby has been exclusively breastfed.)
What are the best first baby foods?
Start your baby with any pureed, single-ingredient food. Although it used to be standard for parents to give rice cereal as a first food, that's not necessary. In fact, pediatricians often don't recommend baby rice cereal since it can contain inorganic arsenic, and it's not as nutritious as some other first foods.
Good first baby foods include
- pureed squash
- mashed bananas
- mashed avocado
- pureed peaches
- pureed pears
- pureed meats
- whole-grain, iron-enriched baby cereal such as oatmeal
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If your baby is breastfed, the AAP suggests meat as a first food because the iron in beef, chicken, and turkey helps to replace iron stores, which start to diminish at about 6 months of age.
How to introduce solids to your baby
The traditional way to start solids is by spoon-feeding your baby cereal or purees, but some parents use a different method called baby-led weaning. Using this method, you put chunks of soft, developmentally appropriate food on the highchair tray or table and let your baby grab the food and feed themself.
Here's how to start spoon-feeding your baby:
For your first few feedings, start with just 1 or 2 teaspoons of pureed solid food or baby cereal about an hour after nursing or bottle-feeding (so your baby isn't too hungry or full).
Use a soft-tipped plastic spoon to feed your baby to avoid injuring their gums. Put a small amount of food on the tip of the spoon and offer it to them. If your baby doesn't seem very interested, just let them smell the food for now and try again another time.
If you're feeding your baby ready-to-eat jars or pouches of baby food, put some into a small dish and feed them from that. (If you dip the feeding spoon into the jar, it's not a good idea to save the leftovers because bacteria from your baby's mouth will now be in the jar. ) Store leftovers in the fridge and throw away any opened baby food jars or pouches within a day or two of opening them.
If you decide to start with cereal, give your baby 1 to 2 teaspoons of diluted infant cereal. Add breast milk or formula to a tiny pinch of cereal. It will be very runny at first, but as your baby starts to eat more solid foods, you can gradually thicken the consistency by using less liquid.
Begin with one daily feeding in the morning whenever your baby isn't too tired, hungry, or cranky. Your baby may not eat much at first, but give them time to get used to the experience. Don't be surprised if your baby is confused or rejects solid food at first. Some babies need practice keeping food in their mouths and swallowing.
Eventually you can start giving your baby more solid food until they're having a few tablespoons a day, over two feedings. In general, your baby could start with pureed or semi-liquid food, then move on to strained or mashed food, and finally graduate to small pieces of finger foods.
Signs that your baby is full
Your baby's appetite will vary from one feeding to the next, so a strict accounting of how much they've eaten isn't a reliable way to tell when they've had enough. Look for these signs that your baby's probably done:
- They lean back in their chair
- They turn their head away from food
- They start playing with the spoon
- They refuse to open up for the next bite (Sometimes a baby will keep their mouth closed because they haven't finished the first mouthful, so give them time to swallow.)
Food allergies and introducing solids
Experts recommend that you introduce one food at a time to your baby, and wait 3 to 5 days before introducing another food, so you can watch for any allergic reactions. It's also a good idea to write down the foods your baby samples. If they have an adverse reaction, a food log will make it easier to pinpoint the cause.
You don't have to hold off on giving allergenic foods such as eggs, peanut butter, or soy. There's no evidence that waiting to introduce certain foods will help your baby avoid allergies. In fact, there's evidence that the opposite is true.
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), incorporating commonly allergenic foods into your baby's diet starting at around 4 to 6 months (and continuing through childhood) may actually help prevent the development of food allergies.
Start with traditional first foods, such as iron-fortified infant cereal, pureed veggies, fruits, and meats. Once you've tried a few of these foods and your baby seems to be tolerating them well, you can introduce more commonly allergenic foods, such as soy, eggs, wheat, fish, and peanut products.
Food manufacturers have products on the market designed to help you incorporate commonly allergenic foods into your child's diet. These stir-in powders and finger foods may contain one commonly allergenic protein or a blend of several.
Special precautions need to be taken with certain babies. If your child falls into any of the following categories, consult with your baby's doctor or an allergist to create a customized feeding plan before adding solids to your baby's diet:
- Your baby has a sibling with a peanut allergy.
- Your baby has moderate to severe eczema despite following a doctor's treatment plan.
- Your baby previously had an immediate allergic reaction to a new food or has been diagnosed with a food allergy.
If your baby is allergic to a new food, you'll see signs of a reaction within a few minutes or hours. Most children with food allergies have mild reactions. If you notice a few hives, a new rash, or diarrhea, call your baby's doctor for advice.
If you notice wheezing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, facial swelling (including the tongue and lips), or more than two body systems affected (such as hives and vomiting), your baby may be having a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
Baby food feeding tips
- Offer fruits or vegetables in any order. Some parents may tell you to start with vegetables instead of fruits so your infant won't develop a taste for sweets. But babies are born with a preference for sweets, so you don't have to worry about introducing sweet or savory foods in any particular order.
- Feed cereal with a spoon only. Unless your baby's doctor asks you to, don't add cereal to a bottle – your baby could choke or end up gaining too much weight.
- Encourage adventurous eating. You don't have to stick with bland and boring. See how to make your own baby food and use spices and seasonings to create delicious baby food flavors.
- Give new foods time. If your baby turns away from a particular food, don't push. Try again in a few days.
- Check for added sugars and too much salt. Check the Nutrition Facts label on canned, frozen, or packaged foods for "Added Sugars. " If there's 1 gram or more listed, give your baby something else. Also look at sodium amounts. Babies shouldn't have no more than 1,200 mg of sodium per day.
- Avoid unsafe foods. Don't give your baby foods that could cause choking, such as whole grapes or popcorn. Babies under 1 can't have honey, cow's milk, or soy milk. Also, unpasteurized juices and undercooked fish, meat, eggs, or poultry could be a source of bacteria.
- Watch for constipation. Your baby's poop sometimes changes when their diet does. Although it's usually temporary, your baby may have constipation after you introduce solids. If you notice that your baby is having less frequent bowel movements, or that their stools have become hard or dry and seem difficult to pass, let their doctor know. Some doctors recommend adding high-fiber fruits such as pears, prunes, and peaches to a baby's diet, or giving a few ounces of prune, apple, or pear juice every day until bowel movements are back to normal.
Also, don't be surprised if your baby's poop changes color and odor when you add solids to their diet. If your baby has been exclusively breastfed up to this point, you'll probably notice a strong odor to their formerly mild-smelling stools as soon as they start eating even tiny amounts of solids. This is normal.
If your baby shies away from new foods, here are a few things you can try:
- Test a range of textures. If your baby doesn't like pear puree, try giving them pieces of very ripe pear instead.
- In a similar vein, try different cooking methods. If your baby doesn't like steamed veggies, try giving them roasted vegetables.
- Serve food at different temperatures. Some babies prefer broccoli cold rather than warm, for example.
- Combine the new food with a familiar favorite. If your baby rejects a new food on its own, mix it in with something you know they like.
- Add a dipping sauce! Try shredded chicken with applesauce, yogurt with baked apple slices, or hummus with well-cooked pieces of carrot.
- Above all, be patient. Sometimes it takes a while for a baby to get used to new flavors and textures, so keep trying and eventually they'll accept the new food.
How many times a day should my baby eat solids?
At first your baby will eat solid food just once a day. By around 6 to 7 months, two meals a day is the norm. Starting around 8 to 9 months, they may be eating solid food three times a day plus a snack. A typical day's diet at 8 months might include a combination of:
- Breast milk or iron-fortified formula
- Iron-fortified cereal
- Small amounts of protein, such as eggs, cheese, yogurt, poultry, lentils, tofu, and meat
- High-allergy foods, if appropriate
See our age-by-age baby feeding guide for more detail on how much to feed your baby and when.
How much breast milk or formula does my baby need after we introduce solids?
Even after your baby starts solids, breast milk or formula will provide the majority of their calories and nutrition until they're 9 months to 1 year old. Breast milk and formula contain important vitamins, iron, and protein in a form that's easy to digest.
You may notice that as your baby starts to eat more solid foods (around 9 months old), they'll gradually decrease their intake of formula or breast milk. This is normal. Over time, your baby will take fewer bottles with more ounces in each.
Here's how much breast milk or formula babies need after starting solids:
- 4 to 6 months old: 4 to 6 feedings a day (breastfeeding, or bottles with 4 to 6 ounces)
- 6 to 8 months old: 3 to 5 feedings a day (breastfeeding, or bottles with 6 to 8 ounces)
- 8 to 12 months old: 3 to 4 feedings a day (breastfeeding, or bottles with 7 to 8 ounces)
What equipment do I need to introduce solids?
It's helpful to have:
- A highchair
- Baby bowls and plates
- Baby spoons
- A splat mat on the floor
You may also want to introduce your baby to a sippy cup soon after you start solids.
If you're making your own baby food, you'll need:
- A tool to puree the food, like a blender, food processor, or baby food maker
Storage containers for refrigerating and freezing extra portions (Some parents use ice cube trays – or similar devices made just for baby food – to store and freeze individual portions.)
Teaching a child to solid food
The introduction of adult food is carried out gradually. It is necessary to accustom the child first to one product, then to others. Also, do not immediately take solid food - puree will be enough. If you are not in a hurry, if you are attentive enough to your child, there will be no problems. In this article, we will not talk about the introduction of complementary foods as such, but about the beginning of the use of solid foods. Chewing, swallowing are completely new skills for yesterday's baby. Someone masters them once or twice, other children need more time. nine0003
The structure of the maxillofacial system of the child is the main problem of all causes with chewing. The baby needs to make unusual efforts for him, carefully chew food.
The correct procedure for parents when introducing complementary foods:
• 4 months - liquid puree is introduced;
• 6 months - you can start to use puree with fibers or thick;
• 9 months - soft foods with chunks are fine.
After a year, you can give solid food - an apple, a pear, a cucumber, a piece of boiled chicken, etc. If 6-8 teeth grow earlier, these dates can be shifted. Some parents are guided by complementary feeding calendars, others are waiting for the child to ask for a certain product (usually from the parent's table). nine0003
Different types of purees
There are qualitatively different types of products among the presented range of canned food. Manufacturers take into account the child's ability to digest a particular product and the adaptation of the gastrointestinal tract for a particular type of food. The liquid puree is similar in consistency to pancake dough. If you dip a spoon into it, and then take it out, the puree will slowly drain. There is a thick puree - it retains its shape in a spoon, since there is not much liquid in the product. We are talking about the consistency of thick sour cream, but without dietary fiber. Fibrous purees have a similar consistency to thick purees, plus they often contain lumps and fibers. nine0003
Very thick puree may be diluted. For these purposes, breast milk, vegetable broth, or a mixture are usually used.
When the child is familiar with different types of purees, it will be possible to introduce solid food. They do this strictly according to the schedule - ordinary liquid purees are introduced after six months for naturalists, sometimes a little earlier for artificialists. Solid food will come in handy closer to a year old and later. Watch the baby's reaction - not only in terms of well-being, lack of allergies, but also in relation to personal tastes and preferences. Some children refuse certain foods completely - no need to force them. nine0003
To grind or not - see for yourself, but whole pieces are usually not given to children under one year old. There are babies who are ready to chew a piece of chicken breast for a long time, but there are not so many of them. If the food is smeared, use a nibbler - it will not have a banana on all the walls and furniture. Shredded food includes a product grated on a medium grater, but not turned into a thick or liquid puree. These include an apple from a blender, meat from a meat grinder, etc.
Soft foods like boiled vermicelli, boiled eggs, steamed rice porridge require chewing, but without much effort. Many parents begin after a year to give their child food from an adult table, this is a good option, the main thing is to cook diet meals. But the transition from formula and breast milk to adult food should be smooth. nine0003
Chewing difficulties: how not to choke
There is no universal recipe - you need to chew carefully, calmly, swallow one piece at a time. But this is all in theory - in practice, the parent sees how the child chewed and chewed a piece of food, began to swallow, and he got stuck. Insert your index finger into the mouth and, like a hook, take out food. You need to put your finger in from the side, from the corner of the mouth.
At 2 years of age, the child should be able to chew, swallow and use a spoon normally. Therefore, let your son or daughter eat on their own, despite the potential dirt that they will inevitably breed. Give up the idea of spoon-feeding a child before school and forcing them to eat food, rhymes and other traditional pastimes of our grandmothers. nine0003
Dad blog. We teach the child to solid food.
Solid food | Tervisliku toitumise informatsioon
From the age of 6 months, in addition to breast milk, the baby must be supplemented to provide with the necessary amount of energy and nutrients. As you grow older, you can gradually switch to regular food (cooking it without frying, and also without adding salt and sugar). Children over 1 year of age, in addition to regular food and complementary foods, can continue to drink breast milk, but by the age of two, the child should completely switch to a common table. Exposure of a child to grain-containing foods during breastfeeding may protect him from gluten intolerance in the future. When offering a child complementary foods or regular food, care should be taken, so that the food is varied . Both during breastfeeding and when switching to regular food, the baby may experience gases or allergies .
For children over 2 years of age, the same nutritional guidelines apply as for adults, but the recommended serving sizes are smaller.
Children under three years of age (actually, a person of any age) do not need salty or sugary snacks, sodas, deep fried and/or very sweet and salty foods! nine0056
By the sixth month of life, the infant's feeding habits, as well as the digestive system, are mature enough to start offering more solid foods in addition to breast milk. Proteins, carbohydrates and fats contained in regular food are different from the easily digestible sugars, fats and proteins that enter the baby's body with breast milk. Therefore, a so-called certain familiarization period is needed so that the baby's digestive system has time to get used to a new type of food. If the baby is breastfed as often as before, then these feeds cover about 2/3 of the energy needed by an 8-month-old baby. The remaining approximately 200 kilocalories should come from the various macronutrients found in complementary food ingredients, i.e. proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Complementary foods are needed so that the child can slowly move to the common table, as well as to obtain the nutrients necessary for age. Complementary foods for babies are a completely unfamiliar thing. It differs significantly from breast milk and will take time to learn how to eat it. nine0003
Proper complementary food is food that is hard enough to eat with a spoon, consists of all important types of food (except sweets), is rich in nutrients and does not contain salt and sugar. Complementary foods should always be offered to the child from a spoon and never from a bottle, as in this case the child will never understand what to eat in an upright position using a spoon. In addition, bottle feeding contains too much water, so it may not provide enough energy and nutrients. As the child grows older, you can allow him to put pieces of food in his mouth with his fingers. Simultaneously with the gradual introduction of solid food into the baby's diet, his interest in breast milk gradually begins to fade. This is completely natural and as the first birthday approaches, you can start to slowly reduce the number of breastfeeds. All children are different, so their preferences and needs are also different, but it is important that the child's diet is varied and covers all the nutritional needs of a growing body for life and development. nine0003
Complementary foods for infants by month:
substances can be markedly reduced.
World Health Organization recommendations for the introduction of complementary foods for children aged 6-23 months.
Age (in months)
Frequency of feedings
The portion for 1 feeding
|9000 1 or 2 times a day|| |
to increase and gradually increase quantity
Finely pounded or mashed
2-3 feedings per day
up to 1 DL
Crowned or pureed
3-4 feeding per day
1-2 snacks per day
|9000 1-1.5 DL|| |
Crowned or finely busy
3-4 feeding per day
The recommendations in the table are general and give an idea of how much a child could eat on average, however the exact amount and frequency of feedings may vary from child to child.