When i can start food to baby
When, What, and How to Introduce Solid Foods | Nutrition
For more information about how to know if your baby is ready to starting eating foods, what first foods to offer, and what to expect, watch these videos from 1,000 Days.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend children be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula when they are about 6 months old. Introducing foods before 4 months old is not recommended. Every child is different. How do you know if your child is ready for foods other than breast milk or infant formula? You can look for these signs that your child is developmentally ready.
- Sits up alone or with support.
- Is able to control head and neck.
- Opens the mouth when food is offered.
- Swallows food rather than pushes it back out onto the chin.
- Brings objects to the mouth.
- Tries to grasp small objects, such as toys or food.
- Transfers food from the front to the back of the tongue to swallow.
What Foods Should I Introduce to My Child First?
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that for most children, you do not need to give foods in a certain order. Your child can begin eating solid foods at about 6 months old. By the time he or she is 7 or 8 months old, your child can eat a variety of foods from different food groups. These foods include infant cereals, meat or other proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, yogurts and cheeses, and more.
If your child is eating infant cereals, it is important to offer a variety of fortifiedalert icon infant cereals such as oat, barley, and multi-grain instead of only rice cereal. Only providing infant rice cereal is not recommended by the Food and Drug Administration because there is a risk for children to be exposed to arsenic. Visit the U.S. Food & Drug Administrationexternal icon to learn more.
How Should I Introduce My Child to Foods?
Your child needs certain vitamins and minerals to grow healthy and strong.
Now that your child is starting to eat food, be sure to choose foods that give your child all the vitamins and minerals they need.
Click here to learn more about some of these vitamins & minerals.
Let your child try one single-ingredient food at a time at first. This helps you see if your child has any problems with that food, such as food allergies. Wait 3 to 5 days between each new food. Before you know it, your child will be on his or her way to eating and enjoying lots of new foods.
Introduce potentially allergenic foods when other foods are introduced.
Potentially allergenic foods include cow’s milk products, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, and sesame. Drinking cow’s milk or fortified soy beverages is not recommended until your child is older than 12 months, but other cow’s milk products, such as yogurt, can be introduced before 12 months. If your child has severe eczema and/or egg allergy, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse about when and how to safely introduce foods with peanuts.
How Should I Prepare Food for My Child to Eat?
At first, it’s easier for your child to eat foods that are mashed, pureed, or strained and very smooth in texture. It can take time for your child to adjust to new food textures. Your child might cough, gag, or spit up. As your baby’s oral skills develop, thicker and lumpier foods can be introduced.
Some foods are potential choking hazards, so it is important to feed your child foods that are the right texture for his or her development. To help prevent choking, prepare foods that can be easily dissolved with saliva and do not require chewing. Feed small portions and encourage your baby to eat slowly. Always watch your child while he or she is eating.
Here are some tips for preparing foods:
- Mix cereals and mashed cooked grains with breast milk, formula, or water to make it smooth and easy for your baby to swallow.
- Mash or puree vegetables, fruits and other foods until they are smooth.
- Hard fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, usually need to be cooked so they can be easily mashed or pureed.
- Cook food until it is soft enough to easily mash with a fork.
- Remove all fat, skin, and bones from poultry, meat, and fish, before cooking.
- Remove seeds and hard pits from fruit, and then cut the fruit into small pieces.
- Cut soft food into small pieces or thin slices.
- Cut cylindrical foods like hot dogs, sausage and string cheese into short thin strips instead of round pieces that could get stuck in the airway.
- Cut small spherical foods like grapes, cherries, berries and tomatoes into small pieces.
- Cook and finely grind or mash whole-grain kernels of wheat, barley, rice, and other grains.
Learn more about potential choking hazards and how to prevent your child from choking.
Top of Page
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.
Top of Page
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.
Top of Page
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.
Top of Page
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.
Top of Page
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?
Top of Page
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.
Top of Page
COMPLETE FOOD: TO GROW BABY HEALTHY. PEDIATRIC ADVICE
Doctor, when is the best time to introduce complementary foods? What are the dangers of introducing complementary foods too early or too late?
In fact, there are no universal recommendations regarding the introduction of complementary foods, - says Solomiya Maksimchuk, - because each baby has its own characteristics, so the approach should be individual. Therefore, answering the first question - when it is advisable to introduce complementary foods, I cannot name a specific figure, because in fact complementary foods are introduced at 3 months, and at 4, and at 6, and at 8 - depending on the indications. In my medical practice, there were children who were one year old, and no matter how we tried to introduce complementary foods, everything was in vain - the kids did not show any food interest, especially those who were breastfed. They had a good weight gain, psychomotor development, but they did not show food interest, and this is not very good, because the children did not form and did not prepare the gastrointestinal tract for the perception of other foods. What, then, can be advised to a mother who is faced with this problem? In this case, I am more guided not by my professional experience, but by the experience of the mother, understanding how difficult it is to force a child to eat if he does not want to.
In which case is it advisable to introduce complementary foods earlier, in which case - adhering to standard norms?
In the case of breastfeeding (if the baby is completely healthy), I start talking about this when the baby is 6 months old. With artificial feeding, we are talking about the introduction of complementary foods when the baby is 4 months old. Some mothers are of the opinion that breast milk contains all the necessary micronutrients, so you should not rush to complementary foods. Of course, this is true - if the mother adheres to the right diet, she eats fully. But in fact, complementary foods help prepare the baby’s herbal system - the child learns different tastes, because it’s no secret that when a baby receives only breast milk, some digestive juices are released, and in the case of complementary foods, completely different ones, therefore, introducing complementary foods, we gradually prepare an enzymatic system.
Which foods are the first to be introduced into complementary foods, because there are different views on this issue - someone advises fermented milk products, someone vegetable purees or juice?
It all depends on the specific situation. If complementary foods are introduced at 3 months, indications are necessary for this - these are digestive disorders of the baby, the child's tendency to constipation. In this case, I recommend giving fermented milk products to the child at the first stage of the introduction of complementary foods. For children who are bottle-fed and have digestive problems, I recommend fermented milk mixtures (horses are considered the first complementary foods). If we are talking about a completely healthy child, first of all, I advise you to introduce vegetable puree - it is easily digested by the children's gastrointestinal tract. Usually, this is a puree of zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips, parsley, white carrots, potatoes. Unfortunately, in our area there is not a wide variety of products. Pediatricians should take this into account when advising the mother what to choose at the beginning of complementary foods in winter, because if we advise a zucchini in February, will we find it on the shelves, and if so, will this exotic product benefit the baby?
The first complementary foods start with a small amount - a teaspoon per day. Prepare, for example, zucchini puree. We give the baby half a teaspoon of puree once a day - at lunchtime, and every next day we increase the amount of the product. On average, in 14 days it is possible to increase the amount of complementary foods to 50-70 grams - it all depends on how the child perceives the new food. When a child eats more - up to 100 grams of vegetables, we can diversify the menu - add boiled broccoli or cauliflower to the zucchini. When a child eats mostly 2-3 vegetables, we can introduce the next complementary foods (mashed potatoes based on several vegetables are considered one complementary food). The next step is the introduction of fruit puree. Provided that the child responds well to the first complementary foods, after 3 weeks, vegetable complementary foods in the amount of 100 grams can be introduced. And then at 6.5-7 months you can introduce fruits - apples of green or yellow varieties in a baked form.
At the same time, we add a certain amount of fat - olive or sunflower oil - to the prepared vegetable mixture. After the introduction of vegetables and fruits, depending on the age, we introduce the yolk or meat. Regarding when it is worth introducing fruit juices - at one time pediatricians focused considerable attention on this. Today, if a child is breastfed, we do not insist on a drinking regimen or suggest adding water or herbal decoctions from chamomile, dill, fennel to drinking. Fruit juices must be administered concurrently when the child consumes a certain amount of fruit. It can be apple juice - by no means multivitamin or citrus.
What if the baby does not accept a certain product?
If a rash appears on the baby’s skin, the baby is worried about intestinal disorders, anxiety associated with abdominal pain, or if there is a tendency to constipation-diarrhea due to the introduction of a certain product, we leave in the diet products of all previous stages of complementary feeding, but the one that provoked disorders, cancel. If it is difficult for the mother to understand which particular product caused the disorders, it is necessary to return to the initial level for a certain time - breastfeeding, which at the same time will encourage the mother to adhere to a hypoallergenic diet or a balanced diet. If the baby is on artificial feeding, it is necessary to return to the use of the mixture, without complementary foods. Then, at a slightly more intense pace, you need to take the same steps to introduce complementary foods as before, carefully observing the reaction of the baby.
At what stages of complementary feeding do we introduce cereals, meat, fish, egg yolk? What foods do we start introducing when teeth are erupting in a baby?
After vegetables and fruits, we introduce the yolk into complementary foods, then meat or cereals, the next is sour-milk complementary foods. However, I want to note that the presence of teeth has nothing to do with the introduction of complementary foods, because in fact, children do not chew for a long time. The purpose of complementary foods and the task of the child is to be able to form a food lump in the oral cavity. Then, when the baby swallows liquid food, he hardly retains it in his mouth. And complementary foods make it possible to retain food, enveloping it with saliva and then swallowing it in small portions. In some babies, teething happens even a year, but they have complete complementary foods.
Regarding the timing of complementary foods - meat is given to the baby after about 7 months. Rabbit meat, turkey fillet, beef, quail are best suited. I am often asked whether it is possible to give a child chicken meat during the complementary feeding period. If you are sure that the chicken is home grown without the addition of hormones, chicken is also suitable for the baby's diet.
I recommend eating fish after 10 months - in any case, not red varieties (red fish can be given to a child only after two years of life). The best option is white sea fish of low-fat varieties. When introducing cereals into the diet, it must be remembered that they must be adapted by age - it is these cereals that contain the destroyed grain shell, which contains the most harmful carbohydrates, in particular, gluten. Once upon a time, parents ground rice or buckwheat, but because of these products, the baby had problems with digestion, because there was a certain load on his body. At the beginning of complementary foods, it is better to give free-flowing adapted dairy-free cereals - we breed them in water. When the child has taken this complementary food well, we can introduce milk porridge. For children who are breastfed and are underweight after 4 months, there are other recommendations. As a breastfeeding aficionado, my advice is to stimulate a mother's lactation by reviewing her diet. At the same time, it is advisable to introduce dairy-free cereals, since they provide more calories than vegetables. There are also cases when a child is one year old and mothers replace breastfeeding with formula milk from a bottle. In fact, the baby does not need additional nutrients, moreover, there is no need for supplementation or feeding from a bottle - this is a step back.
Were there cases of anemia among children under one year of age? How to prevent this problem?
Although not often, there are cases of anemia in the practice of a pediatrician. Iron deficiency anemia in a baby occurs in the majority in the absence of a child’s nutritional interest, when it is not possible to adequately introduce complementary foods. But it is necessary to take into account the fact that if the child has low hemoglobin, then the mother has it even lower, because the baby receives everything that is possible during lactation. Therefore, first of all, we work with mom's diet. At the same time, we are taking more intensive steps in replacement feeding - introducing red meats, in particular beef, if age permits (at 8-9months), offal: boiled beef tongue, beef, turkey, rabbit liver, apples, buckwheat for children under one year of age.
Until what age is it best to breastfeed a baby?
When it comes to the formation of immunity, breastfeeding up to 6 months of a child's life is most appropriate, because the baby needs the protection that he receives from his mother. After 6 months of life, the child's immune system independently forms antibodies. When it comes to nutritional content, the baby should be breastfed for up to a year, because thanks to the adequate intake of complementary foods, the baby receives the main food. At the same time, it is necessary to take into account the season - in winter it is more difficult to wean a child from the breast, since there is a much smaller variety of products on the shelves, in winter babies get sick more often, and breast milk helps to calm down, satisfy the drinking regimen. Another problem is psychological attachment, because some children at the age of 1.5 years are difficult to take away from the breast, and even at 2 years old.
Preparing for breastfeeding when planning a pregnancy
Your pregnancy is going well and it's time to prepare for the birth of your baby. You may want to make a birth plan. If you are going to breastfeed your baby, be sure to include this item on your list.
Share this information
Breastfeeding your baby in the first couple of hours after birth maximizes the chances of successful breastfeeding and allows the baby to get the full benefits of colostrum, the very first breast milk, as soon as possible. Include breastfeeding in your birth plan to help you achieve your goal.
What is a birth plan?
The birth plan is a kind of list that will indicate your options and wishes related to labor, the birth of the baby and actions immediately after birth. This may include your preferences for pain relief and positioning during labour, what to do if you have a caesarean section or complications during labor and, of course, items related to breastfeeding.
Ideally, this plan should be made well in advance of your due date so that you can discuss it with the person who will accompany you during the birth and your doctor who will see you.
You are free to plan your birth, but it is best to start with a simple list that you can expand on as more information becomes available. You can ask your labor ward for a sample or template of a birth plan, or look up examples online.
Why is this so important?
Birth plan provides clarity. It will help to dialogue and create trust between you, the person who will accompany you in childbirth, and your doctor. This is especially useful during labor, when unnecessary questions will be completely useless to you! In addition, if there is a change of staff during the birth, such a plan will help new specialists quickly get up to speed.
Preparing for breastfeeding
If you are planning to breastfeed your baby, discuss your plans with the birth attendant and your doctor during pregnancy. The midwife will enter your wishes into your medical record and will be able to recommend where you can get support for breastfeeding.
Planning your birth is also a good opportunity to discuss your wishes with the person who will accompany you during the birth, if you have not already done so. Explain that you need his support with breastfeeding. It should help your baby get breastmilk, even if the birth doesn't go according to plan or you can't put your baby to the breast right after the birth. Ask him to make skin-to-skin contact with your baby if you can't do it yourself, as this will help the baby calm down. 1
What to include in the birth plan?
When you get to the point about breastfeeding, simply state your intention to breastfeed exclusively. Explain that you would like the doctors to do everything possible so that you can breastfeed your newborn baby, and if this proves impossible, feed him expressed breast milk so that you can still start producing milk.
Here are some examples of things you can include in your birth plan to clearly express your desire to breastfeed and start breastfeeding successfully:
- I would like to have my baby placed on my breast for skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth, before being weighed and washed, unless there is a medical reason for doing so.
- If I can't take the baby right away, please give it to my birth attendant so they can attach it to themselves, skin to skin.
- I would like to be allowed to breastfeed my baby in the first hour after birth, if possible.
- I would like my baby to be allowed to latch on or gently assisted.
- If my baby becomes unwell or we need to be apart for a while, I would like to express colostrum so that the baby can be fed by syringe or cup.
- If for some reason my baby is not able to breastfeed in the first few hours after birth, or if he does not do well, I would like to be given the opportunity to double pump in the first three hours and give the baby expressed milk.
- If I need to continue pumping, I would like to pump 8 times a day to get my milk production going.
- Please do not give formula to my baby without my consent or the consent of the birth attendant, and once consent is obtained, only if medically indicated.
- Please do not bottle feed or pacify my baby without my consent or the consent of the birth attendant.
- I would like help with breastfeeding from a qualified lactation specialist or consultant if possible.
What if the birth didn't go according to plan?
Even with the most carefully thought out plan, it is impossible to predict how the birth will go.