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Feeding Your Baby

If your child is 4 months old and can hold her head up, the time may be right to introduce solids. Use this chart as a guide, but remember that until age 1, food should supplement breast milk or formula, not replace it.

Age 4-6 Months
What to start? Rice cereal. It's the least likely to cause allergies, and it provides a valuable source of iron.
How Much? Mix 1 tsp. of cereal with 1 Tbs. of breast milk or formula. (Over time, you can make the cereal thicker and servings larger.) Aim for one or two solid feedings a day in addition to his usual diet.
Tips for Success Start with feedings in the morning, when babies are typically more relaxed. Wait four days before introducing another grain, such as barley. This will help you identify an allergy.
Age 4-8 Months
What to start? Fruits and veggies. These can be introduced either before or after cereal at each meal. Try anything from peas to pears, but offer new foods a few days apart so you can watch for allergies.
How Much? To start, serve 2 to 3 tsp. once a day. Work up to 1 to 2 Tbs. two or three times a day.
Tips for Success Introduce vegetables first, before your baby develops a preference for the sweet taste of fruit, and wait until she's 1 before feeding her citrus fruits -- their high acid content can upset her stomach.
Age 8-12 Months
What to start? Soft foods. Oatmeal, mashed sweet potatoes, and yogurt are all easy for a baby to eat. A child this age also needs additional sources of iron, so try pureed meats like beef or turkey.
How Much? Gradually work up to 1 to 2 Tbs. of soft foods and 2 Tbs. of pureed meat each day. Babies can get overwhelmed, so offer only two or three foods at one time.
Tips for Success To interest your child, try placing small amounts of new foods next to favorites.
Age 9-12 Months
What to start? Finger foods. Your baby has developed his superior pincer grasp and is eager to try feeding himself. Offer cooked pasta, soft bits of fruit, and dried cereals.
How Much? One or two finger foods (about 1 to 2 Tbs. of each)at each meal, in addition to several servings of the foods above.
Tips for Success Make sure all pieces are smaller than the width of your child's pinkie. Continue to feed him with a spoon to make sure he's getting enough to eat each day.
Age 12-24 Months
What to start? Table foods. If you're no longer giving your baby breast milk or formula, be sure she's getting all of the calories and nutrients she needs by offering her a wide variety of healthy foods.
How Much? Total servings per day (serving sizes in parentheses): 4 grains (1/2 slice bread, 1/4 to 1/2 cup cereal or pasta); 4 fruit/veggie (1 to 2 Tbs., or 3 oz. juice); 2 protein (1 oz. meat or 1 egg); 4 dairy (4 to 6 oz. whole milk, 1/3 cup yogurt, or 1/3 oz. cheese).
Tips for Success Entice your child to eat a varied diet by always providing different textures, colors, and flavors at mealtime.