What solid food should be introduced to baby first
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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Helpful Resources | Nutrition | CDC
If you would like more information on topics related to feeding your baby or toddler, here are some resources:
CDC’s Infant and Toddler Nutrition microsite syndication
CDC offers a free Web Content Syndication service that gives public health partners the opportunity to syndicate CDC content directly to their sites without having to monitor or copy updates. To search the CDC infant and toddler nutrition website available for syndication as well as other resources you can share, visit the CDC Public Health Media Library and browse or search for “infant and toddler nutrition”. Learn more about content syndication and how to add CDC syndicated content on your site.
CDC’s Child and Teen Resources
This collection of resources provides parents and caregivers, health care providers, and partners with tools and information to help children and teens maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity.
CDC’s Child Development Positive Parenting Tips (Infants)
This CDC website provides information about infants’ development, as well as tips for positive parenting and promoting the safety and health of infants.
CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early.
This website includes tools to track children’s milestones and resources about children’s development.
CDC’s Parent Information
This CDC website provides resources and information on pregnancy, infants and toddlers, children, and teens. Learn how to handle common parenting challenges through interactive activities, videos, and more. Healthcare professionals and researchers can also find information on children’s health and safety.
CDC’s Division of Oral Health
Tooth decay (cavities) is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States. Untreated tooth decay can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. CDC’s Division of Oral Health provides information on what parents and caregivers can do to ensure good oral health for your child.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 pdf icon[PDF-30.6MB]external icon
These guidelines provide science-based advice for Americans on what to eat and drink to promote health, reduce chronic disease, and meet nutrient needs. The 2020–2025 edition provides recommendations for all life stages, including infants and toddlers.
Feeding Guidelines for Infants and Young Toddlers: A Responsive Parenting Approachexternal icon
This report presents recommendations for promoting healthy nutrition and feeding patterns for infants and toddlers from birth to 24 months, with an emphasis on dietary quality, portion sizes, and mealtime environment.
Healthy Childrenexternal icon
This website was developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics for parents. It features thousands of articles in English and Spanish on children’s health and safety, as well as interactive tools.
United States Department of Agriculture Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)external icon
The WIC Program provides support to low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, babies, and children up to age 5. WIC provides nutritious foods, information on healthy eating, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals to health care.
United States Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)external icon
SNAP provides benefits to low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities.
Feeding and Beverage Recommendationsexternal icon
Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, offers science-based recommendations for parents and caregivers. Tips are available for feeding children from birth through 24 monthsexternal icon and beverages for children from birth through 5 yearsexternal icon. Tips for older children are also available.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Advice About Eating Fishexternal icon
The U.S. FDA and EPA provide advice regarding eating fish. This advice can help people make informed choices when it comes to the types of fish that are nutritious and safe to eat. It is especially important for those who might become pregnant, who are pregnant, or who are breastfeeding, as well as for parents and caregivers who are feeding children. This advice supports the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
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CDC’s Breastfeeding Information
CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) is committed to increasing breastfeeding rates throughout the United States. CDC provides information for public health professionals and others to help support breastfeeding mothers, such as managing breastfeeding during various maternal and infant illnesses and conditions, any precautions for vaccines during breastfeeding, and recommendations for proper storage and handling of expressed human milk.
International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA)external icon
ILCA is the member association for professionals who care for breastfeeding families. ILCA’s “Find a Lactation Consultant Directory” can help you find a lactation consultant to get the breastfeeding support you need.
United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA)external icon
USLCA is a professional association for International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) and other health care professionals who care for breastfeeding families. USLCA’s “Find an IBCLC” can help you find a lactation consultant to get the breastfeeding support you need.
WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children—Breastfeeding Support external icon
The United States Department of Agriculture Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Breastfeeding Support website includes resources for expectant and current mothers about breastfeeding, overcoming common challenges, and thriving to make breastfeeding work for their families.
La Leche League USAexternal icon
La Leche League USA helps mothers to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education and promotes a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.
Office on Women’s Healthexternal icon
The Office on Women’s Health’s vision is for all women and girls to achieve the best possible health outcomes. They provide information on breastfeeding to help women make infant feeding decisions and to guide mothers through the breastfeeding process.
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Questions & Answers for Consumers Concerning Infant Formulaexternal icon
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration regulates infant formula and has a list of questions and answers about infant formula.
Infant Formula Do’s and Don’tsexternal icon
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides information on infant formula preparation and storage, as well as other tips on how to keep infant formula safe.
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Food Safety Concerns for Children Under Fiveexternal icon
Food safety is particularly important for young children. Foodsafety.gov provides information on safely preparing food for your child.
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Fruits & Veggies—Have a Plant Movementexternal icon
A resource designed to help spread the word about the health benefits of adding more fruits and veggies to your diet.
USDA MyPlate Kitchenexternal icon
This online tool features a large collection of recipes and resources to support building healthy and budget-friendly meals. Site features include:
- Extensive search filters on cuisine, cooking equipment, nutrition content, and more.
- Detailed nutrition information.
- Cookbooks to browse and download or build your own.
- Recipe star ratings, review comments, and sharing on social networks.
Video Series on How to Introduce Solid Foods
1,000 Days has developed helpful videos about introducing solid foods to your baby. Topics include:
- Is your baby ready to start eating foods?
- What is a good first food for your baby?
- What to expect when introducing first foods
- How much should I feed my baby?
- How to win at mealtimeexternal icon
- What foods should my baby avoid?
- What should your baby eat in the first year?
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Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin and Mineral Fact Sheetsexternal icon
The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements has fact sheets for consumers and health professionals about vitamins, minerals, and dietary supplements.
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when and how to start the first feeding of a child?
Complementary feeding is the gradual transition of an infant from mother's milk or formula to more solid foods. Despite its naturalness, this process has some nuances. We will tell you when and where to start complementary foods so that this stage is as comfortable as possible for the baby.
Children develop in different ways: some are faster and some are slower. Therefore, at the beginning of complementary feeding of an infant, first of all, it is worth focusing not on his age, but on the presence of a number of skills. First of all, there should be food interest: the child usually “announces” this himself, starting to put his hands in his mouth, showing a desire to try food from his mother’s plate. It is also important that the baby confidently holds his head and sits, albeit with support, on the parent's lap or in a special chair. Of course, you need to make a decision about the start of complementary foods together with your doctor. nine0007
When to start complementary foods? The "golden window" is an interval of four to six months. If you believe the statistics, most often the start of complementary foods for a baby falls on the age of five to six months. We emphasize once again that everything is individual, but it is also not recommended to delay the introduction of complementary foods too much. Starting complementary foods after seven months is fraught with a delay in the development of habits for eating thicker and denser foods, and then chewing skills. In addition, late feeding can negatively affect the formation of taste sensations and lead to a lack of a number of substances in the body: iron, zinc, calcium, copper, vitamin D and others. If closer to seven months the child does not have the skills necessary to start the first complementary foods, this must be reported to the pediatrician. nine0007
Where to start complementary foods
Of course, not all foods are suitable for this. You need to move on to solid food gradually, and milk porridges (especially buckwheat, rice and corn) and vegetable purees are optimal as a “link”. This is stated in the National program for optimizing the feeding of children in the first year of life in the Russian Federation, approved by the Union of Pediatricians of Russia (hereinafter referred to as the National Program) .
It is important to remember that the first complementary foods should be monocomponent, that is, contain only one product. Conventionally: mashed potatoes to start complementary foods can be squash or potato, but not a mix of these vegetables. By the way, babies with allergies are recommended mashed white or green vegetables. Complementary foods are better to start with microdoses, literally from a quarter of a teaspoon. Every day the volume should be increased. For convenience, you can keep a food diary and note all the dynamics in it. nine0007
The National Program recommends starting complementary foods with vegetables or cereals. Usually cereals are administered first if the child is underweight. After the baby is a little accustomed to porridge, you can add vegetables to his diet. If complementary foods begin with vegetables, the next, respectively, will be porridge. After two or three weeks, you can try giving your baby fruit puree made from apples, pears, or peaches. Later, you can add berry purees to the diet.
After the baby has become accustomed to mono-component complementary foods, two-component complementary foods can be introduced. For example, it can be porridge with fruit or vegetable puree. An important nuance: both components must first be “tested” separately to make sure that the child tolerates them well. You can not immediately feed the baby rice porridge with broccoli: first he needs to try rice, and the next time - broccoli. There is no need to draw hasty conclusions: for each new type of complementary foods, doctors advise taking five to ten days. nine0007
The next stage is the transition to semi-solid food. Of course, not all products are suitable here either. Cream soup, chopped pieces of boiled vegetables, meat and fish will be optimal. By the way, about meat - it should also be added carefully to the baby's diet, starting with monocomponent meat purees. At first, it is recommended to feed the baby with mashed rabbit and turkey and only then switch to beef, veal and chicken. It's the same with juices: we start with a clarified mono-fruit, apple or pear drink, and then you can expand the menu to carrot, pumpkin, plum, apricot and peach. It is worth remembering that the last three have a slight laxative effect. Closer to the year, you can try to give the child solid food - for example, small meatballs or the same cereals, only with unground cereals . nine0007
An equally important product in the complementary food menu is cottage cheese. Natural curds contain calcium and phosphorus, which positively affect the functioning of the heart. In addition, the calcium contained in the cottage cheese strengthens the bones and teeth of the baby, which is very important at a “tender” age. The composition of cottage cheese also includes albumin, a protein that produces antibodies that positively affect the development of the nervous system. In addition, the use of cottage cheese helps to normalize the work of the digestive tract and liver. Experts advise introducing curd complementary foods after vegetable puree and canned meat. It is worth starting with a small dose - half a teaspoon - once a day. It is important to remember that cottage cheese is allowed in the diet of babies only from six to eight months. It is not recommended to give such a product before, because the protein contained in it puts a strain on the kidneys. nine0007
A few tips for mothers: how to introduce complementary foods without stress for the baby
If the baby does not like the product, do not categorically refuse it. It is better to remove it for four to eight weeks and then try to introduce it into the diet again, a little bit, like the first time. It is likely that the second experience will be successful: the main thing is to carefully monitor the reaction of the baby's body.
Many young mothers are also faced with a choice: cook it yourself or buy canned food? Making your own meals for your baby is usually cheaper, but it can be quite a hassle. First, you need to carefully choose the ingredients: store-bought vegetables can contain nitrates. Secondly, it is better not to cook with a margin: it is difficult to maintain sterility in the home kitchen, so it is undesirable to store baby food. It is best to cook before eating so that the food is fresh. When buying mashed potatoes in the store, you should pay attention to the expiration date and compliance with storage conditions . nine0007
As for cereals to start feeding a child, they can be divided into dairy-free (recommended for children with lactase deficiency and allergies) and dairy. The latter, in turn, are based on an adapted milk formula, goat's or cow's milk. Compared to cow's, goat's milk is closer to human breast milk in terms of protein and fat composition.
What's more, it contains a high dose of A2-protein (β-casein), which is easy to digest and improves the intestinal microflora. But the complex protein α-s1-casein, which is found in cow's milk, is practically absent in goat's milk. That is why goat milk baby food is digested five to six times faster. Another important feature of it is small evenly distributed fat globules. They are rich in medium chain triglycerides, which are quickly absorbed in the intestines and provide the baby with energy . nine0007
In order for the baby to easily switch to “adult food”, it is very important to start complementary foods correctly. How to start depends on the individual characteristics of the baby's body. It is important for mothers to know that industrial complementary foods are safe and contain all the necessary components for the normal development of the baby. The introduction of complementary foods is clearly not a question where you need to listen to the advice of friends and relatives. Even if they sincerely wish the baby health and want "the best". This area has been studied by more than one generation of pediatricians, so it is better to trust the recommendations of professional doctors. nine0005
When to introduce pieces in complementary foods?
The article was written with the help of nutritionist Victoria Vishnyakova.
You need to take the transition from puree to chunks seriously, as this step is very important.
Such food is called in English-speaking countries “finger foods” translated into Russian as “finger food”. Toddlers take pieces with their fingers, bring them to their mouths, knead them with their gums and swallow.
At the same time, several systems are included in the work at once: nine0007
- The brain needs to coordinate the actions of the hands, mouth and jaw
- Mouth, tongue, jaw muscles are being trained
- Gastrointestinal tract adapts to digest food other than solids, not just purees and liquids.
You should know that, as in other stages of the development of the baby, the pieces also need to be introduced into the “window of opportunity” - this is the period during which skills are mastered easily and naturally. In cases where such a moment was missed, much more effort has to be applied. nine0007
Based on modern recommendations, lumpy food should be offered from about six months, that is, almost immediately with the start of complementary foods. The deadline is about 9-10 months. – later the “window” will be closed.
You can start complementary foods not with mashed potatoes, but knead boiled vegetables with a fork, after a while you will not need to do this too carefully. Thus, the consistent addition of lumpy food to the child's diet will begin.
When you start complementary foods with mashed potatoes, then after a while offer pieces first of all, and if suddenly the baby gets tired, give mashed potatoes. nine0007
You can not mix puree with pieces! Toddlers do not expect that a solid object may be caught in their usual food - they will begin to "suck" it and may choke. As a result, there is a possibility that there will be a fear of food and even a temporary refusal of complementary foods.
Lumpy food should be soft so that children can knead it with their fingers. If the piece is hard, then it can be dangerous, since the child will not be able to chew it, but it is easy to choke on it.
There is no need to be afraid to give food in the form of pieces with the start of complementary foods. Offer your food by simply kneading it with a fork - this is normal, but only if your diet does not contain foods that are undesirable or dangerous for the baby (we wrote about this in another article).