Starting Solid Foods: When, How, What to Consider

Perfect Foods & Drinks

Homespun Advice

Making your own baby food is something you might like to do. But certain vegetables -- beets, turnips, carrots, collard greens, and spinach -- may contain large amounts of nitrates.

Parents sometimes give young infants this produce, says Frank Greer, MD, on the AAP Committee on Nutrition, but in rare cases, nitrates from these vegetables may cause anemia. Some baby-food companies don't even test all the time for the chemical, Dr. Greer says. To reduce risk, refrigerate opened foods containing these ingredients, and throw away after 24 hours.

Which Comes First: Fruits or Veggies?

Don't stress over the choice, says Carol Berkowitz, MD, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you think about it, "breast milk is sweeter than formula," she says.

So order doesn't matter: Give your infant pears before green beans if you want. Tasting the sweetness of fruit first won't turn baby off to veggies.

The Milk Enthusiast

A fine meal should be paired with the right drink. Solids don't replace breast milk or formula in the first year. Here, a guide to how much your baby will drink each day.

  • 4 to 5 months: 30 oz.
  • 5 to 6 months: 35 oz.
  • 6 to 7 months: 28 oz.
  • 7 to 9 months: 24 oz.
  • 9 to 12 months: 22 oz.

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