When should you introduce solids? And how much should you give your little one? Use our chart as a guide

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


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.

Parents Magazine


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