Baby's First Solid Foods

Dr. Alan Greene answers the question, What should I feed a baby just starting on solids?


My 4-month-old was on breast milk only. Her pediatrician recommended that she start solid food. Does packed baby food contain preservatives? Will she need plain water with it?


How wonderful for your baby to have had only breast milk so far! Sometime between 4 and 6 months is a fine time for most babies to start solid foods. For babies who are growing well, I usually recommend waiting until they are "asking" for it by their facial expressions and behavior, especially when they see you eating.

It's usually best to start with a cereal such as rice, barley, or oats, and to feed the baby once or twice a day. Give her as much as she wants of the solids. A little plain water (4 ounces or so) is also fine. You'll be able to tell if she needs it by the firmness of her stools.

Most of the stage 1 foods have only the ingredients listed (i.e., peas and water). There are also organic baby foods available that were grown without the use of pesticides or persistent chemicals. Earth's Best is one brand, and Gerber also has an organic line. They do tend to cost a bit more, but not much more, and you will never feed a child as inexpensively as during that first year!

You can also prepare baby foods at home. I met some mothers who started a small business called Fresh Baby. They have a kit for teaching moms to make baby food at home. I love the idea! You can find them at

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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