When can you feed a baby table 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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Feeding Your 8- to 12-Month-Old (for Parents)

By 8 months old, most babies are pros at handling the iron-fortified infant cereals and the puréed foods that are part of their diet, along with breast milk or formula.

Over the next few months, they will start to explore table foods.

Changing Eating Habits

Offer your baby a variety of tastes and textures from all food groups. Start any new food with a trial run (a few days to a week) to look for any allergic reactions. Babies younger than 12 months old should not have:

  • honey until after a baby's 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 vegetables, grapes, hard cheese, popcorn, and nuts
  • foods with added sugars and no-calorie sweeteners
  • high-sodium foods

Babies this age are likely showing more interest in table foods. You can fork-mash, cut up, blend, or grind whatever foods the rest of the family eats. To prevent choking, cook table foods a little longer, until very soft, and cut or shred them into small pieces that your baby can handle safely.

Around 9 months old, infant usually can pick food up between their finger and thumb so they can try feeding themselves.

If you haven't already, have your baby join the rest of the family at meals. They enjoy being at the table.

After the first birthday, babies are ready to switch to cow's milk. If you're breastfeeding, you can continue beyond 1 year, if desired. If you decide to stop breastfeeding before your baby's first birthday, give iron-fortified formula. If your baby is over 12 months, give whole milk.

Let your baby keep working on drinking from a cup, but do not give juice to infants younger than 12 months. After 12 months, you can serve whole milk in a cup, which will help with the move from the bottle.

Feeding Safety

Always supervise when your child is eating. Make sure your child sits up in a high chair or other safe place. Don't serve foods that your baby could choke on. 

If you're unsure about whether a finger food is safe, ask yourself:

  • Does it melt in the mouth? Some dry cereals will melt in the mouth, and so will light and flaky crackers.
  • Is it cooked enough so that it mashes easily? Well-cooked vegetables and fruits will mash easily. So will canned fruits and vegetables. (Choose canned foods that don't have added sugar or salt.)
  • Is it naturally soft? Cottage cheese, shredded cheese, and small pieces of tofu are soft.
  • Can it be gummed? Pieces of ripe banana and well-cooked pasta can be gummed.

Making Meals Work

Keep your baby's personality in mind when feeding your baby. A child who likes a lot of stimulation may enjoy it when you "play airplane" with the spoon to get the food into their mouth. But a more sensitive tot might need the focus kept on eating with few distractions. 

If your baby rejects new tastes and textures, serve new foods in small portions and don’t give up. It can take 8-10 tries before a baby accepts a new food.

How Much Should My Baby Eat?

Infant formula and breast milk continue to provide important nutrients for growing infants. But babies will start to drink less as they learn to eat variety of solid foods.

Watch for signs that your child is hungry or full. Respond to these cues and let your child stop when full. A child who is full may suck with less enthusiasm, stop, or turn away from the breast or the bottle. With solid foods, they may turn away, refuse to open their mouth, or spit the food out.

Let your baby finger feed or hold a spoon while you do the actual feeding. This is good preparation for the toddler years, when kids take charge of feeding themselves. And if you haven't already, set regular meal and snack times.

Law on hot meals for schoolchildren: who will be fed free at school | 74.ru

(Not) everyone will get lunch: 10 questions about compulsory hot meals for schoolchildren

  • 1. Who is entitled to hot meals?
  • 2. How to get it?
  • 3. Do I need to pay extra for meals?
  • 4. What if we are homeschooled?
  • 5. How many times a day should you feed?
  • 6. Can I choose what to feed my child?
  • 7. What if the child needs a diet?
  • 8. What will the food be like?
  • 9. What if the school doesn't have a cafeteria?
  • 10. What if the child does not want to eat at school?


Who is entitled to hot meals?

All students from 1st to 4th grade without exception. Regardless of the income of the parents and the number of children.



How to get it?

You need to write an application at the school. No further documents are required from you.



Do I have to pay extra for meals?

No, no money should be taken from you. Financing - from the federal, regional and municipal budgets.



What if we are homeschooled?

The child must be provided with hot meals when he comes to school. For example, writing test papers.



How many times a day should I feed?

Depends on how much time the child spends at school. If six hours - once, if more (for example, due to an extension) - two. If a student is at school from early morning until six in the evening, then he is entitled to breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.



Can you choose what to feed your child?

This is decided by your school's internal documents. According to the general methodological recommendations, parents can influence the school menu, but the decision should be general. That is, it will be necessary to discuss everything at a school-wide parent meeting and come to a consensus, and then go with him to the school administration. If you suspect that the food is of poor quality, you can complain to Rospotrebnadzor.



What if the child needs a diet?

Regions may take into account the characteristics of children who need dietary nutrition, including children with disabilities and children with disabilities. But federal law does not require them to do so.



What will the food be like?

Schools are required to provide quality, healthy, and nutritious meals that meet safety standards, with at least one “hot meal, not including a hot drink” per meal. Either the first and second, or only the second, depending on what we have now: breakfast, lunch or dinner. Sandwiches cannot be substituted.



What if the school doesn't have a cafeteria?

So, until the children get hot meals. The law obliged to provide it from September of this year only where there is a technical possibility to do this. The rest are required to prepare by September 2023. But in the Chelyabinsk region, according to the statement of the governor Alexei Teksler, already this year they will provide free hot meals in all schools.



What if the child does not want to eat at school?

You can take food from home. Many schools prohibit this, referring to sanitary standards, but there is no such rule in SanPiN. And in the appendix to the Rospotrebnadzor manual on parental control over the organization of child nutrition, there is a questionnaire in which one of the answers about food is “I bring it from home.”

Last year, the introduction of a new SanPiN was discussed, which forbade bringing food to school. Then Rospotrebnadzor stated that we are talking about cooking at school from the products brought. And this does not apply to ready-made meals, because "it is the right of parents to give the child additional food or replace the diet completely."


Dissatisfied with school meals? Send comments, photos and videos to the editorial office 74@rugion. ru , to our groups " VKontakte ", and also in WhatsApp or Viber at +7–93–23–0000–74. News service phone 7-0000-74.


  • Free breakfasts from Putin: why children are massively poisoned in Russian schools
  • The head of the canteen in the South Urals school was accused of stealing 1.3 million collected from parents for food
  • Primary school students in the Chelyabinsk region will be given free lunches from September 1
  • Chelyabinsk schoolchildren are given free milk without vitamins and with a long shelf life
  • Incomprehensible porridge and hair in the plate: Chelyabinsk schoolchildren photographed what they feed in canteens

Ekaterina Bormotova

Journalist of the national editorial office

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How to feed a child who does not eat in the school cafeteria

Mama.ru test

Thermoses « Arktika » for school breakfasts arrived at the Mama.ru office. And we decided that this is an excellent occasion to talk about organizing school meals. In two weeks, the new school year will begin, and during big breaks, children will go to the canteen for breakfast and lunch. We tell what to do for those who do not like catering may eat in the canteen due to gastrointestinal illness or for any other reason.

Nutrition in schools is regulated by SanPiN with the long title "Sanitary and epidemiological requirements for the organization of nutrition for students in general education institutions, institutions of primary and secondary vocational education", and this means that food in the school canteen must be guaranteed of good quality and safe preparation. But keeping food according to the rules and observing the standards of cooking does not mean cooking deliciously. School food is usually unappetizing, and, according to some students, completely inedible. What should parents do if their children refuse school porridge for breakfast, move away a plate of undersalted soup and dejectedly pick a cold cutlet for lunch?

First of all, understand that even the law "On Education" does not provide for compulsory paid meals in the school canteen. The child must eat properly and varied, must receive all the necessary vitamins and good food, but this does not mean that parents should pay the school. Not a single legal act contains norms that oblige parents to choose a school diet, no matter what representatives of the school administration say.

It is also illegal to require a doctor's certificate stating that the child has any illness that prevents him from eating at school. Even a simple childish “it doesn’t taste good to me” is already a reason to think about alternative nutrition, because a student will simply put aside the plate without touching the food and remain hungry all day. From 8:30 am to 3-4, and in some cases even 5-6 pm.

Secondly, parents should assess their strength in advance and understand whether they are ready to provide their child with a full-fledged alternative to school meals every day. Get up an hour or two earlier, prepare breakfast and lunch, and pack them in safe, light, and handy containers. Make sure that the child's diet always contains vegetables, fruits, compotes. So that food can be easily taken out and eaten, so that it does not crumble, does not smell too strong. So that breakfast and lunch can truly replenish energy during the day, which means they would contain proteins, carbohydrates and fiber.

If the family is ready for such difficulties, it remains to choose convenient dishes and look at recipes for home-cooked school breakfasts and lunches.

If a plastic lunch box with several compartments can be suitable for a light snack, then parents should purchase thermoses for hot meals. The smaller the thermos, the easier it will be for the child to carry it in a lunch bag. Ideally, a thermos for an elementary school student should not be more than 300-400 ml. For hot drinks, you need a container with a narrow neck, and for second courses - with a wide one.

art. 411-280

Just such a thermos with a wide mouth of 280 ml. Suitable for children who are used to eating homemade porridge for breakfast. Good for lunches and for taking food with you to the sports section or to the pool, where the children always go hungry. Suitable mainly for elementary students. For older students, the portion size should be larger. Keeps warm from 3 to 6 hours. If mom puts in a freshly cooked lunch in the morning, the food in the thermos will be the right temperature by the big school break.

art. 411-400

This model of the Mama.ru editors seemed less successful than the previous one: despite the declared wide neck, this 400-ml thermos is rather elongated and narrow. It is quite difficult to eat anything from it and not get your hands dirty, especially for students in grades 1-4.

Learn more