Deciding what to feed your baby for the first 4 months of life is relatively simple because you have 2 choices. Breast milk or formula. You can either feed from a bottle or breastfeed. Not too complicated right? After that is when feeding your baby gets a little more complicated. Should you start with rice cereal, or fruits and veggies? What about whole grains? Protein foods? There are lots of decisions to be made.
I am going to share with you the current information from sound sources regarding introducing solids to your baby.
When to Introduce Solids
When to Introduce Solids
What Foods to Start With
How to Prepare the Food
|4-6 months||Single-grain cereals Fortified cereals give your baby iron. A baby is born with a natural reserve of iron that begins to deplete around 6 months of age.||Mix with baby formula or breast milk, or water on occasion.|
|6-8 months||Pureed or strained fruits and vegetables. Bananas, pears, apples, apricots, prunes, avocados, carrots, peas, potatoes, squash||Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables, then bake, boil, or steam until soft. You can puree in either a blender or a food processor, or use a small hand food mill; add a little liquid like breast milk, baby formula, or water at first. Make it watery at first, then use less liquid as your baby gets used to solid foods.|
|6-8 months||Protein Foods: Pea-sized pieces of cooked chicken, turkey, or other meats, or boneless fish; beans such as lentils, black, red, or pinto beans.||Cut meat or fish into very small pieces; cook and mash. Cook and cut up or mash beans.|
|8-10 months||Mashed fruits and vegetables||No need to puree; just cook foods such as carrots and sweet potatoes until soft, or mash up soft foods like bananas and avocados.|
|8-10 months||Finger foods like small o-shaped cereals, teething crackers, or small pieces of cooked pasta||Cut up food to make sure the pieces are small enough for your baby to swallow without choking.|
|8-10 months||Dairy: small amounts of yogurt, cottage cheese, or any pasteurized cheese||Cut cheese into small pieces.|
|8-10 months||Eggs||Scramble, or hard-boil and cut into small pieces.|
|10-12 months||Baby can try eating most of the foods you eat now, if they are cut up or mashed properly so that he can safely chew and swallow.
Unless you have a strong family history of allergies, the American Academy of Pediatrics now says there is no need to avoid peanut products, eggs, wheat, or fish until after one year, although many pediatricians are still cautious about peanuts and shellfish due to the strong allergic reactions sometimes associated with them.Avoid whole cow’s milk and honey until at least one year. Honey can cause a dangerous illness called infant botulism.
|As your baby gets more teeth and learns to chew more effectively, he will begin to be able to eat larger pieces of food. Continue to monitor his chewing carefully, and when in doubt, cut pieces smaller than you think necessary. Be especially careful with round, firm foods like grapes and hot dogs, which pose a particular choking hazard to babies. Chop these into very small pieces.|
More Tips on Feeding Baby
How to Know When your Baby is Ready to Start Solids:
- Your baby should be able to sit up with support
- Your baby should be able to turn his head away, and make chewing motions.
- Your baby should also be past the reflex that makes him spit out anything but liquid
Keep Going With Breast Milk or Formula
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 for development, not as a replacement for breast milk or formula.
Do I Have to Start With Rice Cereal?
No. There is not a rule about the exact food you should start with your baby. With a single-grain, iron-fortified infant cereal — such as rice cereal — it may be 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, until your baby gets used to the new texture.
Start Fruits and Vegetables One at a Time
Fruits, vegetables, grains, and even pureed meats can all be given to your baby. You may want to introduce them one at a time to see how your baby reacts. If your baby won’t eat them at first, try again later. Tell your pediatrician if you think your baby might have any food allergies.
How Much Should I Feed My Baby?
Your baby will let you know when they are done eating. Your baby might swat at the spoon, turn his head away, zip his lips tightly, spit out whatever you put in his mouth, or cry. Don’t make him eat more than he wants. 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
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie