When can babies have blended 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.

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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Baby's first foods: The 10 best foods for babies

These 10 first foods are ideal for your baby because they're full of essential nutrients, reasonably priced, easy to prepare, and delicious.  Avocados contain healthy fats, while bananas are loaded with potassium. Blueberries are bursting with antioxidants, whereas broccoli offers fiber and folate. Both lentils and meat are packed with protein. Prunes can help with constipation, and yogurt helps form healthy bones and teeth. Sweet potatoes and winter squash are great sources of beta-carotene and vitamin C. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it's important to offer your baby a variety of healthy foods. There are lots of healthy, baby-friendly foods out there, but these 10 recommended by doctors and dietitians alike stand out from the pack. From vitamin-rich fruits and veggies to meats and beans loaded with protein, these superfoods are full of essential nutrients, reasonably priced, easy to prepare, and delicious.

Many are also favorite first foods. Before introducing solids, talk to the doctor about your baby's readiness for solids, and which foods to introduce and when. Then introduce foods one at a time, waiting at least three days after each new food to watch for any allergic reaction.


BabyCenter parents are all about avocado as a first food. This buttery fruit-vegetable is rich in healthy unsaturated fats that help boost brain development. In fact, the fat composition of avocados is somewhat similar to that of breast milk.

Serving ideas: Mash avocado with a fork, or make baby guacamole.


Known as a good source of potassium, this grab-and-go fruit also contains vitamins B6 and C, fiber, and magnesium.

Serving ideas: Make banana and mango puree. Or, for your little one's first smoothie, puree banana and peach chunks with whole-milk yogurt.


Blueberries are bursting with antioxidants. The deep, brilliant blue of these berries comes from flavonoids that benefit your baby's eyes, brain, and even urinary tract.

Serving ideas: Blend or mash blueberries well and swirl a spoonful of the juicy purple puree into yogurt, or top silky coconut milk rice pudding with blueberry compote.


This cruciferous vegetable is a rich source of essential nutrients, including fiber, folate, and calcium. Introduce your baby to broccoli's bold flavor early, and you'll be expanding their tastes and encouraging a lifelong love of green vegetables.

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Serving idea: Steam until soft, cut into pieces small enough for your child to eat safely, and then chill. Steaming takes the bite out of broccoli, and some babies prefer the texture and taste when it's cold.


Beans and other legumes pack lots of lean protein and fiber. But unlike larger beans, little lentils simmer into a pleasing mush just right for baby bites. They're also one of the cheapest healthy foods you can buy.

Serving ideas: Cook finely diced carrots along with the lentils. As your baby gets older, double up on nutrient-rich foods by making lentil and spinach stew.


Lack of iron can cause anemia. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends meat as a first food because it's such a great source of protein, zinc, and iron, especially red meat and dark poultry meat. Plus, babies absorb iron more easily from meat than from iron-fortified cereals, another common first food.

Serving ideas: If your baby is new to solids, try our easy turkey or chicken puree recipe. As they get older, introduce new flavors with chicken curry with green beans and zucchini or shepherd's pie.


Whether you call them "prunes" or "dried plums," these humble fruits don't sound glamorous – but they're soft, sweet, and full of fiber. Your baby may suffer from constipation when switching to solids, as it's a big change for their system. Add pureed prunes to your baby's diet to aid digestion and keep things moving.

Serving ideas: Serve pureed prunes alone or mixed with other foods, such as oatmeal, cereal, or applesauce, for a naturally sweet treat.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of the more popular first foods for babies, who tend to like both their sweetness and texture. These colorful root vegetables are packed with beta-carotene, vitamin C, and minerals, including iron and copper.

Serving ideas: Serve sweet potato puree alone or swirled into pureed chicken or turkey.

Winter squash

Orange- or yellow-fleshed hard winter squashes such as butternut, acorn, and pumpkin boast many benefits, one of which is they're exceptionally rich in beta-carotene, recognized for being great for eyes. Squash is also an excellent source of vitamin C. Natural sweetness and a creamy texture add to the appeal of winter varieties.

Serving ideas: Roast a winter squash like butternut, scoop out the flesh, and puree it for an easy first food. As your baby gets older, introduce new flavors and textures with dishes like smashed chickpea and butternut chili.


Creamy yogurt is rich in calcium and vitamin D, necessary for healthy bones and teeth. Your baby can have it at 4 to 6 months, long before they'll be ready for cow's milk.

Opt for plain yogurt with no added sugar. Also look for a brand with the most live cultures, which help regulate the good bacteria in your baby's digestive tract. Make sure you pick up whole-milk yogurt – babies need the calories from fat.

Serving ideas: Yogurt is fine on its own, or swirl in pureed berries or other fresh fruit, applesauce, or mashed avocado.

Mixed infant feeding: how to start and introduce | Scheme and diet, menu for mixed feeding

Co-author, editor and medical expert - Klimovich Elina Valerievna.

Number of views: 71 278

Date last updated: 11/24/2022

Average read time: 4 minutes

, which means switching to mixed feeding. It is recommended to make a decision on the transfer of a newborn to mixed feeding together with a pediatrician who will help you choose the right mixture.


When do mothers switch to mixed feeding?
How to organize mixed feeding?

When do mothers switch to mixed feeding?

1. Lack of own milk

In some cases, even if the mother puts the baby to the breast on demand, the child may still remain hungry and gain weight poorly. This is often evidenced by loud crying after eating. In this case, experts speak of hypolactia, when milk production is reduced due to a hormonal disorder.

The “wet diaper” method will help to make sure that the baby really does not have enough milk. Do not put "diapers" on your baby and count the number of his urination in one day. From two weeks of age to six months, the result is evaluated as follows: if you counted 12 or more wet diapers, then you have nothing to worry about, 8–10 wet diapers indicate that lactation has decreased, 6 or less - the child does not have enough milk, and urgent action should be taken.

Tip! Today there are many ways to increase lactation, but if they do not help, you should consult a pediatrician who will choose the right formula for supplementary feeding.

2. Lack of calories

Some mothers think that their milk is not nutritious enough. Most often, they come to such conclusions by expressing clear milk with a bluish tinge. But it cannot be nonnutritive or nutritious. Milk is “rear”, saturated white, thicker and fatter (for a child, this is “food”), and “front”, liquid with a bluish tint (“drink”).

Tip! If the amount of urination is normal, but the baby is not gaining weight, then you need to think about whether your baby is getting "hind" milk. To do this, offer him only 1 breast during 1 feeding.

3. Coming to work

Some mothers have to reduce the number of feedings after going to work. And their first impulse is to switch to mixed feeding. But you should always remember that the best food for a child is mother's milk. If you want to go to work, try to prepare for this in advance. Make a "strategic stock" of breast milk in the freezer so your baby always has food, even when you're not around.

Tip! If you plan to go to work when your baby has started to receive complementary foods, then try to organize meals so that complementary foods are given to him in your absence. So you will have the opportunity to reduce the amount of formula or defrosted in his diet

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How to organize mixed feeding?

Mixed nutrition has its own characteristics, which are very important for a nursing mother to know.

Basic rules for mixed feeding:

  1. The timing of the introduction of complementary foods depends on the amount of breast milk the baby receives. If it is 50-70%, then it is administered as with breastfeeding (at 6 months). If less than 50% of breast milk is present in the baby's diet, then complementary foods can be introduced at the age of 5 months.
  2. Always offer the breast first. Only if you see that the baby is not full, and the breasts are empty, then give him a mixture. It also helps increase lactation. The mixture should be introduced gradually. On the first day - 10 ml / 1 time, the second - 10 ml / 3 times, the third - 20 ml / 3 times. Increase the portion, bringing it to the norm.
  3. Only the breast should be given at night and formula should be avoided. This is due to the fact that from 3 to 8 am, prolactin is actively produced, which is responsible for lactation.
  4. Feed according to schedule (every 3-4 hours) and breastfeed on demand.
  5. Keep water boiled and utensils and formula sterile. You need to cook right before eating.
  6. Use a spoon instead of a bottle for complementary foods. Then you can avoid breast rejection.
  7. Remember that mixed-fed babies should be given water, as dehydration can lead to poor digestion.

Follow these simple rules and try to keep your baby breastfed for as long as possible. Your milk, even though it's not your baby's only food, contains invaluable trace minerals that will keep your baby healthy and strong.

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The information in this article is for reference only and does not replace professional medical advice. For diagnosis and treatment, contact a qualified specialist.

Mixed feeding: when is it necessary and how to organize it

Formula supplementation should be introduced and discontinued gradually, focusing on the child's weight gain

How to understand that an infant needs to be supplemented? What to consider when choosing a mixture? How to maintain lactation and when to stop supplementary feeding? We answer common questions from parents about mixed feeding together with Olga Lukoyanova, MD, pediatrician, neonatologist, leading researcher at the Healthy and Sick Child Nutrition Laboratory of the National Medical Research Center for Children's Health.

When mixed feeding is recommended

The reasons for introducing supplementary foods may vary, but the main one is the lack of mother's milk. There are other situations where this is necessary, but they are much less common. Sometimes an allergy in an infant, frequent regurgitation, constipation is considered a sufficient reason for mixed feeding, but this is not the case. By themselves, these conditions are not yet a reason to introduce supplementary feeding - often these problems can be solved by changing the diet of the mother or prescribing medication to the mother or child.

Only in very rare cases (for example, a combination of constipation in a child and a lack of milk in a mother) do you have to introduce a medicinal mixture as a supplement. There are also very rare hereditary diseases (for example, phenylketonuria and other metabolic disorders) when it is really necessary to find the right combination of breast milk and a suitable therapeutic formula.

Not a single, even the most modern, adapted milk formula can be a complete replacement for mother's milk - it is, by and large, irreplaceable. Therefore, supplementary feeding is introduced only when all the ways to stimulate lactation have been exhausted and there are obvious signs of a lack of breast milk.

The main guideline is weight gain

How can you tell if a mother is really low on milk? This is a medical problem that should be addressed to a pediatrician or neonatologist. He will listen to the mother's complaints, weigh the child, evaluate his behavior and the dynamics of weight gain. By the way, in 2019, at the initiative of the Union of Pediatricians of Russia, a Program was created to optimize the feeding of children in the first year of life. A whole section of this document approved by the Ministry of Health is devoted to how to understand that a child is not getting enough mother's milk and when supplementary feeding is introduced.

The big problem is the too early and unreasonable introduction of supplementary feeding in the maternity hospital (on the first or third day after birth). However, it should not be administered when the child is crying and seems to be hungry.

In the first few days after birth, breast milk is often not enough. But if the mother is constantly next to the baby, often puts it to the breast and feeds on demand, then lactation is quickly getting better and supplementary feeding is usually not needed.

After discharge from the maternity hospital, the mother is left alone with her baby and, as a rule, is especially worried about his nutrition. But in the first days and weeks, the child naturally loses weight, and this does not mean at all that there is not enough milk. According to WHO experts, body weight can return to what it was at birth only by the end of the second week of life.

You can understand that there is not enough milk, for example, by the color of the baby's urine - normally it should be light, not concentrated. Another indicator is the number of bowel movements: they should be at least 4-6 per day. But the most reliable way to find out if the baby has enough mother's milk is regular weighing. Scales for newborns do not have to be bought, they can be rented - this will save money and reduce parental anxiety.

The baby should be weighed without clothes and a diaper at the same time of day. There is no need to do this before and after feeding - he can suck out different amounts of milk at a time. It is better to track the weight once a day, every 3 days, or even once a week.

For the first month, the minimum required is an increase of 25–30 g per day from the second week of life, or 400–600 g of birth weight. If during this time the child gained less than 400 g, then supplementary feeding should be introduced.

At the same time, it is necessary to continue to stimulate lactation, to put the baby to the breast as often as possible and try to keep mother's milk as the basis of the diet, and also to continue weighing the baby. If in the second month of life the increase is 180–200 g per week, then supplementary feeding is not needed.

At the age of 3-6 months, the rate of weight gain decreases to 120-130 g per week. In addition to weight dynamics, pay attention to other signs. If the child is often worried, rarely urinates, and at the same time the urine is concentrated, saturated in color, resume weighing once a day and share your concerns with the pediatrician.

How to choose the right milk formula

All formulas on the market are certified to be as close as possible to breast milk, adapted to the needs of babies, fortified with essential substances and similar in composition. To understand what kind of mixture a child needs for supplementary feeding, it is important to remember the features of his development. If there are no complaints, but the mother has little milk, then, in principle, the parents themselves can choose any milk formula for healthy children.

However, if there are complaints (regurgitation, constipation, allergies, colic), then a doctor will help you choose a special therapeutic mixture. After all, even ordinary, it would seem, infantile constipation can have different causes - for example, allergies. And in this case, even a therapeutic mixture for constipation will be useless. Therefore, first you need to find out the cause of the problem, and only then select a mixture that will help eliminate it.

Sometimes parents try to find the right formula for their baby by changing brands. However, firstly, the effect of introducing a new formula becomes noticeable no earlier than after 2 weeks. Secondly, mixtures of the same type (for example, for healthy children in the first six months of life or against colic and constipation) are almost identical in composition, regardless of the brand. Mixtures for different purposes from the same manufacturer differ much more from each other. Therefore, instead of changing brands, you need to look for a solution to the problem together with a specialist.

How to maintain lactation with mixed feeding

To prevent the milk from "leaking", formula should be given only after the baby is attached to the breast. To prevent a baby from switching to a pacifier, alternative methods of supplementary feeding are sometimes offered - for example, feeding from a spoon or through a drinking bowl. This approach can be applied to older children, especially if the proportion of complementary foods in the diet is small. But if the child is small, and the mixture is, for example, 50% of the daily ration or more, then it is still more convenient to supplement it from a bottle with a nipple. And so that the baby does not wean from the breast, it must be applied to it as often as possible - both day and night.

Of course, there is a risk of reduced lactation - studies show that the introduction of supplementary foods reduces the success of breastfeeding. But here it is important not to fall into another vicious circle: if a mother is very worried that she does not have enough milk, and the child is really screaming from hunger, then there will be even less milk. Therefore, it is better to introduce supplementary feeding for this period, calm down, continue to stimulate lactation, achieve stable weight gain in the baby, and then begin the gradual abolition of supplementary feeding.

How to correctly calculate the amount of formula

The amount of supplementary feeding depends on the mother's milk production, the age and weight of the baby, so there are no clear recommendations here. First of all, you need to focus on the condition and well-being of the child after feeding. For example, a 1-month-old baby may start with 10 ml (2 teaspoons) of supplementary feeding after breastfeeding, older children may need 30 ml.

After feeding, observe the condition of the baby: if he behaves calmly, then the mixture is enough and next time you can give the same amount. If the child is restless, you can gradually increase the amount of the mixture and control weight gain. It is not necessary to supplement the baby with each breastfeed - as a rule, it is enough to do this 2-3 times a day.

Supplementary feeding should be canceled in time

Supplementary feeding should remain a temporary phenomenon, therefore, against the background of its introduction, it is necessary to continue to stimulate lactation: often attach the baby to the breast, use special thermal pads on the breast before feeding, drink a hot drink before feeding, do contrast pouring over the breast area.

Learn more