All About Babies

Confused About Introducing Solid Foods to Baby? You're Not Alone!

Accoring to a new survey, more than half of parents say they are confused about infant nutrition.

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If you aren't sure when your baby should try his first solid foods, you aren't alone. A new survey conducted by Beech-Nut Nutrition Company found more than half of parents are confused about infant nutrition.

The company surveyed 200 parents and expecting parents, and 34 percent said they don't know when they should start their baby on solids. Meanwhile, 53 percent said they thought information about infant nutrition is not clear.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 6 months is the right age to introduce baby to solid foods. But since baby is still relying on breast milk or formula as his main source of nutrition, figuring out how to strike the right balance can be confusing.

"It's important that babies are able to hold their heads in a steady, upright position before offering them solids," says Rallie McAllister, M.D., MPH, MSEH. "You'll also want to make sure that he's no longer exhibiting the extrusion reflex, which is when babies use their tongues to push food out of their mouths."

How To Start Solids

Dr. Mark R. Corkins, professor of pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center and a member of the AAP council on nutrition, suggests starting baby on iron-rich foods, since breast milk is typically low in iron. "Iron is crucial for red blood cells, so start off with something that contains iron," he told Reuters Health. "Iron-fortified cereals are traditional."

After baby gets used to infant cereal, pureed fruits and veggies with a variety of textures and flavors are usually next on the menu.

Just know that there's no perfect time to introduce solids to your baby. Every baby is different, so your best bet is to talk to your child's pediatrician about his specific nutrition needs.

And don't let your anxiety take away from the fun! Your baby will likely love the experience of expanding his palate (just beware of flying, pureed peas—after all, he's not going to like everything!).

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.