When to feed baby jar food
Starting Babies on Solid Foods
Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 23, 2022
That's the recommended time to introduce solid foods. But it's not just about age. Before starting solids, your baby should be able to sit up (with support), turn their head away, and make chewing motions. They should also be past the reflex that makes them spit out anything including liquids.
Babies usually don't eat a lot of solid foods right away. So think of solids as something you’re adding to your baby's diet, not as a replacement for breast milk or formula. Remember, you're introducing solid foods, not totally changing your baby's diet or eliminating milk. That will happen gradually.
You don’t have to -- there's no hard-and-fast rule about what solid foods you should start your baby on first. in fact, you don't have to start with cereal at all. But if you do, try a single-grain, iron-fortified infant cereal with a neutral to no flavor. It also will be a bit easier to notice any food allergies than with a cereal made from several grains. You may want to mix it with formula or breast milk to get a runny consistency at first, so it's not a drastic change for your baby. Gradually thicken it more until your baby gets used to the new texture.
It may seem like it’s something natural, but being fed by a spoon is new to your baby. Up until now, they have only had a liquid diet. They’ll need practice to get used to the spoon and to the feel of having solid food in their mouth. So don't expect them to eat a whole lot -- maybe a teaspoon or two at a time -- when you start. Instead of trying to get them to eat a certain amount, focus on letting them get used to the experience.
Fruits, vegetables, grains, and even pureed meats can all be on the menu for your baby. You may want to introduce them one at a time to see how your little one reacts to the flavor and texture and to make sure no allergies develop. If your baby won't eat them at first, try again later. Babies need to reject a food at least 5 to 10 times on different occasions before you can truly say they don't like the food. Tell your pediatrician if you think your baby might have any food allergies to any new foods tried. Use soft baby food from a jar, or soften foods by heating and/or pureeing them. Put just enough on the spoon for your baby to swallow easily. Don't force feed the food.
Most pediatricians say you should wait until after your baby's first birthday to start offering cow's milk. That’s because nutritionally it doesn't measure up to Mother's milk or have the nutritional value of specially developed formulas. And, don't give honey to babies younger than 1 year. That’s because of a possible botulism risk that a baby's developing immune system can't fend off.
Your baby will let you know when they are done eating. They might swat at the spoon, turn their head away, zip their lips tightly, spit out whatever you put in their mouth, or cry. Don't make them eat more than they want. Kids will eat when they're hungry and stop when they're full. Honoring those instincts may help them avoid overeating now and when they get older.
Just because your baby doesn't immediately like a new food doesn't mean they are doomed to be picky forever. Wait a few days and try again. And again. And again … It may take your child more than a couple of times before they are ready to give peas a chance. Remember, you're a role model, so your baby may be more interested in foods they see you eating and enjoying. But don't force your child to eat, and don't make a big deal about new foods.
As your baby grows, they'll try to feed themselves. Chances are, a good bit of food is heading for their face, hands, hair, bib, clothes, or high chair tray -- not to mention you or any surfaces within flinging range. Learning to eat solid food is a full-body, tactile experience for your baby. Put a mat underneath their highchair to catch some of the mess, dress accordingly, and be patient -- this phase won't last forever.
Around 9 months or so, your baby will be able to pick up small pieces of soft table food to eat. You'll still need to spoon-feed for a while, and continue formula or breast milk. Some great "finger foods" include ripe banana pieces, cooked chunks of carrots, cottage cheese, well-cooked pasta, dry cereal, and scrambled eggs. Avoid choking hazards like hard candy, chips, raw vegetables, grapes or raisins, hard cheese, and whole hot dogs.
IMAGES PROVIDED BY:
(1) Getty Images
(3) Image Source
(5) Image Source
(6) Creativ Studio Heinemann / Westend61
(8) Eric Audras / Onoky
(9) Christa Renee / Stone
(10) Charles Gullung / Photonica
American Academy of Pediatrics: "Parenting Corner Q&A: Starting Solid Foods," "How Do I Know if My Child is Eating Enough?" "Vitamin D Deficiency Clinical Report: Patient FAQs."
FDA: "Food Safety for Moms to Be: Once Baby Arrives," "When Should Solid Foods Be Added to a Baby's Diet?"
KidsHealth.org: "Finer Foods for Babies."
Feeding Your 4- to 7-Month-Old (for Parents)
Most babies this age are ready to try solid foods. Experts recommend starting solid foods when a baby is about 6 months old, depending on the baby's readiness and nutritional needs.
Be sure to check with your doctor before giving any solid foods.
Is My Baby Ready to Eat Solid Foods?
How can you tell if your baby is ready for solids? Here are a few hints:
- Does your baby swallow food or push it out of their mouth? Babies have a natural tongue-thrust reflex that pushes food back out. Wait until this reflex disappears (typically when babies are 4–6 months old).
- Can your baby support their own head? To eat solid food, an infant needs good head and neck control and should be able to sit up.
- Is your baby interested in food? Babies who stare, reach and grab, and open their mouths for food are ready to try solid foods.
If your doctor gives the go-ahead but your baby seems frustrated or uninterested in solid foods, try waiting a few days before trying again. Breast milk and formula will still meet nutritional needs as your baby learns to eat solid foods. But after 6 months, babies need the added nutrition — like iron and zinc — that solid foods provide.
Do not add cereal or other food to your baby's bottle because it can lead to too much weight gain.
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.
How Should I Start Feeding My Baby Solid Foods?
When your baby is ready and the doctor says it’s OK to try solid foods, pick a time of day when your baby is not tired or cranky. You want your baby to be a little hungry, but not so hungry that they’re upset. So you might want to give your baby a little breast milk or formula first.
Have your baby sit supported in your lap or in a high chair with a safety strap.
Most babies' first food is iron-fortified infant single-grain cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. Place the spoon near your baby's lips, and let the baby smell and taste it. Don't be surprised if this first spoonful is rejected. Wait a minute and try again. Most food offered to your baby at this age will end up on the baby's chin, bib, or high-chair tray. Again, this is just an introduction.
When your little one gets the hang of eating cereal off a spoon, it may be time to try single-ingredient puréed meat, vegetables, or fruit. The order in which you give them doesn't matter, but go slow. Offer foods that are high in iron and zinc — such as meat, poultry, eggs, and beans — especially if your baby is breastfeeding. Try one food at a time and wait several days before trying something else new. This will let you identify any foods that your baby may be allergic to.
Which Foods Should I Avoid?
Foods that are more likely to cause allergies can be among the foods you introduce to your baby. These include peanuts, eggs, cow’s milk, seafood, nuts, wheat, and soy. Waiting to start these foods does not prevent food allergies. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about food allergies, especially if any close family members have allergies, food allergies, or allergy-related conditions, like eczema or asthma.
Infants with severe eczema or egg allergies are more likely to have allergies to peanuts. Talk to your doctor about how and when to introduce these foods to your child.
Possible signs of food allergy or allergic reactions include:
- bloating or an increase in gassiness
Get medical care right away if your baby has a more severe allergic reaction, like hives, drooling, wheezing, or trouble breathing.
If your child has any type of reaction to a food, don't offer that food again until you talk with your doctor.
Babies shouldn't have:
- foods with added sugars and no-calorie sweeteners
- high-sodium foods
- honey, until after the first birthday. It can cause botulism in babies.
- unpasteurized juice, milk, yogurt, or cheese
- regular cow's milk or soy beverages 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 carrots, grapes, popcorn, and nuts
Tips for Feeding Your Baby Solid Foods
With the hectic pace of family life, most parents try commercially prepared baby foods at first. They come in small, convenient containers, and manufacturers must meet strict safety and nutrition guidelines.
If you prepare your own baby foods at home, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Follow the rules for food safety, including washing your hands well and often.
- To preserve the nutrients in your baby's food, cook it in ways that keep the most vitamins and minerals. Try steaming or baking fruits and vegetables instead of boiling, which washes away the nutrients.
- Freeze portions that you aren't going to use right away.
- Whether you buy the baby food or make it yourself, texture and consistency are important. At first, babies should have finely puréed single-ingredient foods. (Just applesauce, for example, not apples and pears mixed together.)
- After your baby is eating individual foods, it's OK to offer a puréed mix of two foods. As babies get older, they will learn to eat a greater variety of tastes and textures.
- If you use prepared baby food in jars, spoon some of the food into a bowl to feed your baby. Do not feed your baby right from the jar — bacteria from the baby's mouth can contaminate the remaining food. If you refrigerate opened jars of baby food, it's best to throw away anything not eaten within a day or two.
- Around 6 months of age is a good time for your baby to try a cup. You might need to try a few cups to find one that works for your child. Use water at first to avoid messy clean-ups. Do not give juice to infants younger than 12 months.
Over the next few months, introduce a variety of foods from all the food groups. If your baby doesn't seem to like something, don’t give up. It can take 8 to 10 tries or more before babies learn to like new foods.
Canned nutrition - Understanding ageViktoria Levchuk©
Parents often come across complementary food tables and schemes that indicate the approximate portion at each age stage, and when which product should be introduced into the child's diet. The dream of any mother is a unified policy for the introduction of complementary foods, so that the industrial production of baby food agrees with pediatricians and mothers on the age of introduction of the product into complementary foods. Some brand labels can be confusing when to use prepared foods, as well as how to combine canned food with home cooking.
The popular Gerber brand has registered trademarks labeled "1st Foods", "2nd Foods" and "3rd Foods". Other brands simply use "1", "2" or "3" or indicate the child's age in months, and some use it to indicate the stage at which a child is ready for a certain type of food consistency.
WHO baby feeding steps
Table of Contents:
The World Health Organization, in its booklet Infant and Young Child Feeding and Nutrition, divides childhood into several stages. These main stages are calculated up to the year of the child, they imply a smooth transition of the baby "from mother's milk to food from the family table." The most popular brands of baby food use the main stages of the transition of the child's diet in the labeling of canned food. There are four stages in total, starting at 4 months and ending at 12 months. These steps are not standardized. nine0005
You can read more about the age stages of baby food in the following articles:
- First stage of baby food: (4) 6-7 months
- Second stage of baby food: 7-8 months
- Third stage of baby food: 8- 10 months
- Fourth stage of infant feeding: 10-12 months
Food can label
Stage 1: Age at (4) 6 to 7 months
Start of complementary foods at (4) 6 to 7 months of age, includes foods from one-ingredient, smooth, light texture without a single lump, with a low level of allergy, without salt, sugar and seasonings, for example, rice porridge or zucchini puree.
Here are some examples of popular brands:
- Silent porridge Fleur Alpine from 4 months
- rice porridge HIPP from 4 months
- Rice porridge Sempler Sempler from 4 months
- puree from 4 months of
- zucchini Sady pridonya from 4 months
- Gerber zucchini puree from 4 months
Stage 2: Age 7 to 8 months
When children are 7 to 8 months old, they are given one-component and two-component products, simply pureed, medium density, sometimes products that seem to rubbed, i.e. food appears in pieces that are easy to swallow, but do not choke. Products are given with a low level of allergy, but slowly they begin to introduce the child to the average.
Second step product examples:
- Bebivita vegetable soup with beef from 8 months
- Bebivita mixed vegetable puree from 7 months
- Rabbit ragout with Gerber broccoli from 8 months
- Semper veg with veal liver from 8 months fritters
- Carrots with potatoes and salmon Hipp from 8 months
- Mixed vegetable puree Hipp from 7 months
- Welling oatmeal with banana and prunes Semper from 8 months
Stage 3: Age from 8 to 10 months
Between 8 and 12 months of age, babies receive a thicker textured meal that is easy to chew and swallow. There are more three-component purees. Foods with small pieces help stimulate baby's chewing. Sugar, salt and spices are still missing from baby food.
Examples of products from the third stage:
- Hipp noodles with sea fish and vegetables in creamy sauce from 10 months
- Mediterranean risotto with sea bream Semper from 10 months
- Gerber Italian treat from 10 months
- Marmaluzi mashed potatoes with fish pieces from 9 months
- Vegetable stew with salmon and Semper rice from 9 months
3-stage jar food is very easy to find in the store. Around this period, according to manufacturers of baby food, the child's appetite increases, respectively, and the portion he consumes, so we focus on jars of 200-250 grams per serving. But usually a child is not able to eat that much at the age of 9-10 months, even if this portion is written in all textbooks on baby food. But what about throwing away the leftovers?
Calm down, around this period, many mothers begin to cook for 2 times (the dish is stored in the refrigerator for about 24-36 hours), the child's body is already strong enough and adapted to complementary foods that pathogenic microbes in the finished dish are not dangerous to him. We just follow the rules of cleanliness, namely, we took a clean spoon, put a small portion from the jar into a separate plate, put the jar in the refrigerator with the rest of the food, and warmed up the postponed dish, fed the baby. nine0005
Stage 4: 10 to 12 months
Approximately one year old, the consistency of baby food is close to that of an adult table. If by 10 months the dish is thick with pieces of food, then closer to 12 months the baby eats small pieces of food, by 1.5 years it completely eats adult dishes, only occasionally large pieces that are difficult to chew, for example, meat, are crushed by adults.
By the age of 2, the child eats completely from the common table without the help of strangers. At this point, you can continue to feed the baby with canned food or completely transfer the baby to an adult table. Parents who initially fed the baby only canned food, by about 2 years old, are transferred to homemade food, i.e. up to 2 years they do not refuse jars, simply because they are used to it and it is convenient, safe, etc. nine0005
Examples of products of the fourth stage:
- Young potatoes with green beans and Hipp rabbit from 12 months
- Italian pasta with trout in Semper cream sauce from 11 months
- Heinz0 apple-raspberry-blackcurrant milk porridge from 12 months 0 from 12 months
- Multi-cereal Semper porridge from 11 months
- Vegetables with rice and beef stroganoff Semper from 18 months
- FrutoNyanya apple-raspberry puree (fruit pieces) from 12 months
- Fleur Alpine Organic apple marmalade cookies from 18 months 3 years.
However, it should be noted that after a year, all age restrictions indicated on canned food most likely carry information on products allowed for a given age, and not food consistency. We also take into account that the portion for a 3-year-old child is much larger than for a one-year-old baby. For example, Frutonyan has milk porridges of 200 ml from 6 months, and 500 ml from 3 years old, the porridge can be identical in composition, the difference is only in the portion. nine0005
Canned food age recommendations
Please note that the age recommendations for each stage are only general recommendations. The age of introduction of complementary foods for each child is individual, so one will be ready at 5-6 months, and the other closer to 7 months. We look at signs of readiness for complementary foods, consult a pediatrician.
Moreover, the transition to a new consistency also occurs individually, as the baby is 7-8 months old, it is impossible to abruptly transfer the baby to thicker food or add hard pieces, there may be consequences in the form of vomiting or suffocation. It is important that the child gradually learns to chew food, with gradual complication, for effective skill acquisition. Don't forget our pediatricians, who can help a mother determine if a baby needs extra time to learn chewing skills or if it's time to move on to the next stage. nine0005
Consistency of food up to a year. Click on me!!!
And a little about baby food manufacturers. They indicate early dates for the introduction of complementary foods, this is a common marketing ploy to sell more, or they simply do not want to revise the layout of their labels, taking into account the recommendations of Russian pediatricians or the World Health Organization. Although recently, there is less and less canned food on sale, recommended from 3 months.
The main thing is that parents understand and know the rules and terms for the introduction of complementary foods, as well as listen to their intuition, which does not deceive. The appearance and abilities of the baby will tell parents more about the readiness for complementary foods than the age marking on canned food. nine0005
Chaos in canned food
A strange name for a subtitle, but it's hard to describe in another way what is happening in the industrial production of baby food. Each brand has its own recommendations for the introduction of complementary foods, based on their data, they label jars. Moreover, it is very difficult to understand their logic. The first two steps are easy for many parents because in general one or two ingredient purees are easier to navigate than multi-ingredient purees.
Therefore, the first 2 stages parents either listen to a pediatrician, or look at a diagram from the Internet, or follow a complementary food table, which is listed on the website of their favorite canned food manufacturer. Although here, too, manufacturers can spoil the situation, so I met thickeners in the form of oatmeal in one-component baby purees (to which an allergy is possible at the beginning of complementary foods). Think for a moment, a one-component puree should contain 1 product and water, the only additional ingredient, but no, they can put any thickener, and it’s good if it’s rice or oat flour, but if the thickener is a preservative? Therefore ALWAYS read the composition of baby food before you buy it.
The first 2 stages seem to be not difficult, but as soon as the child approaches the 3rd stage or lumpy food, then it's just a disaster. Either some manufacturers do not produce food with pieces, then they do, but the composition is complex, there are many ingredients, more than half of the child was not introduced into complementary foods. Parents have to switch from one brand to another or choose 2-3 brands that inspire confidence.
Consider the situation on the example of milk. Now pediatricians, scientists and most parents agree that it is better to introduce dairy products into complementary foods gradually, starting with fermented milk, and milk is given after a year. But what do manufacturers of baby food offer us, milk porridge from 6 months old, or goat milk porridge from 4 months old. It seems that the recommendations of doctors for brands of baby food are empty space, the main thing for them is to offer an assortment, and parents will have to take care of the children. Therefore at the beginning of complementary foods, it is important to decide on a strategy, namely, to choose at least approximately a table of complementary foods or to make a list of the introduction of products, focusing on the recommendations of a pediatrician. You can not blindly buy canned food, looking at the age on the label.
No one canceled the risk of an allergy to a product, and the earlier a child gets acquainted with a highly allergenic product, the stronger the reaction, read here for more details. If you feed the baby only canned food, focusing on age markings, that the child will eat delicate light food that will not teach him to chew, and then at 2 years old the question arises: Why does the child vomit on adult food? And the answer is simple, his body simply does not know how to chew, swallow and digest ordinary adult food. Therefore, as always0007 I speak and will speak and write, everything in moderation, the golden mean.
Canned nutrition is convenient, simple and easy, but should be in moderation. Up to a year, diversity, diversity, the first 2-3 months is a quiet pace, which grows and grows by the year. We offer the child different food, canned and homemade, but at stage 3 we try to give more homemade food, because it is always different, well, it is not possible to make mashed potatoes always the same, especially if you use only a fork, this is what the baby needs, different textures, different components, as in the game - different levels, for complication. nine0005
Therefore, from the above, there are some rules to follow:
- Never look at the age marking on canned food;
- Always check the composition of the canned food;
- Always taste baby puree before giving to baby;
- Comply with safety measures for the quality of canned food, such as cotton when unscrewing the lid, storage temperature, etc.
- If the composition is multi-component, even if the products were introduced separately into complementary foods, give a jar very carefully, for example, give not all, but only 1/3 of it. nine0022
Jar Food Tips
Cooking Jar Meals
- Set aside as much as your baby can eat and heat this portion in a bain-marie or microwave.
- After heating, mix the contents of the jar thoroughly with a plastic spoon and check the temperature.
- Reheated food is not suitable for consumption.
- Store leftover puree that has not been reheated in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.