How to Introduce a Baby to Solid Food

Starting your baby on solids like purees and cereals can be a piece of cake!
How to Start Solids
How to Start Solids
baby food

Bryan McCay

Time it right. It's best to start around 6 months, and no earlier than 4 months. By that age, most little ones have good head control as well as the motor skills necessary for swallowing.

Know the readiness signs. Aside from your baby's age, the best indicator that he's ready for solid food is interest. If he seems fascinated watching you eat, eagerly looking on as you take in every bite or reaching toward your dinner, he's psyched for solids.

Plan the menu. Start your baby off with pureed fruits, vegetables, and iron-fortified cereals. When making cereal, mix it with breast milk or formula until it's slightly thicker than a liquid.

Continue to offer milk. For the first couple of months, two or three times per day, offer your baby one or two tablespoons of solid food, followed by breast milk or formula. As your baby gets older, you can gradually increase the number of times you offer solids as well as the amount.

Know when he's full. If your baby starts to turn his head away from the food or spits it out, he's finished eating.

Stick with it. Some babies reject solid foods at first. Continue to offer them every day until the baby gets used to this new source of nutrients.

Take note of possible allergies. Withholding common allergens, such as eggs or wheat, won't reduce your baby's risk of developing allergies later on. Feel free to offer these foods, but be on the lookout for hives, facial swelling, difficulty breathing, vomiting, or diarrhea, which could signal an allergy. Call your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.

Leave these foods off the meal plan. Avoid foods with added sugars. They're not healthy and your baby has never tried them, so he doesn't know what he's missing! Avoid honey until age 1 and peanut butter until age 2.

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