Age-by-Age Guide to Starting Solid Foods

We've made it easy to feed your baby a healthy, balanced menu. This age-by-age guide to solid foods will ensure your baby gets all the nutrition she needs.

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Solids 101

baby eating in highchair
Juice Images/Veer

Breast milk or formula will still be his primary source of nutrition. As he gets closer to age 1, solids become more vital, delivering important nutrients and helping establish his lifelong food preferences. Try these menu ideas from Eileen Behan, RD, author of The Baby Food Bible.

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How to Start Solids

Find out how to start feeding your baby solid foods.

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Age: 6 to 8 months

baby food in jars
Alexandra Grablewski

When your baby first starts solids, offer him 1 to 2 tablespoons of food once a day, then add a second meal after he's responded well for a week or two.

Baby should be getting cereals, fruits, veggies, and protein -- in addition to three to five nursings or 24 to 32 ounces of formula. Feel free to start easy finger foods now too. Small bites of banana, avocado, or omelet are good options. Toast sticks, roasted sweet potato sticks, and smashed berries are also fun and nutritious.

And remember that these portion size estimates are just that: estimates. Some babies eat more, and others eat less. Follow your baby's cues.

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Choose a Baby Food Maker

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6 to 8 months: Breakfast

feeding baby

2 tablespoons of infant cereal. No need to stick with rice -- try other grains like oats and barley too. Plus, some fruit or vegetable puree or finger foods.

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6 to 8 months: Lunch

Spicy Sweet Potato
Alexandra Grablewski

1 to 2 tablespoons of infant cereal, 2 tablespoons pureed fruit or vegetables (applesauce, ripe mango, sweet potatoes, or peas).

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6 to 8 months: Dinner

Apple and Cabbage
Alexandra Grablewski

1 to 2 tablespoons of infant cereal, 1 to 2 tablespoons fruit or vegetables (like pureed carrots and squash, banana, or pureed apricots), and 1 to 2 tablespoons protein (such as pureed lentils, pureed chicken, or flaked salmon as a finger food).

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Age: 8 to 11 months

baby eating
Linda Farwell

Add finger foods and meats (if you haven't already) to the daily lineup. Your baby should continue to receive three to five nursings or 24 to 32 ounces of formula each day.

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8 to 11 months: Breakfast

baby eating in highchair
Fancy Photography/Veer

2 to 3 tablespoons of infant cereal, about 1 to 2 tablespoons of fruit such as diced kiwi, banana, ripe peaches, watermelon, or cantaloupe.

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8 to 11 months: Lunch

cubes of Avocado
Bryan McCay

2 to 3 tablespoons of infant cereal, 2 tablespoons pureed fruit, 1 tablespoon finger foods such as whole-grain cereal, avocado, bits of tofu, or cooked and diced zucchini.

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8 to 11 months: Dinner

Asparagus and Broccoli
Alexandra Grablewski

2 tablespoons pureed veggie, 1 to 2 tablespoons pureed meat (like chicken or beef), 1 tablespoon finger food such as tiny pieces of pineapple, ripe peaches, mango, or diced banana.

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Age: 12 to 24 months

toddler eating in highchair
BananaStock/ Jupiter

Swap formula for about two cups of whole milk per day. Still nursing? Continue, but make sure solids are his main source of nutrition.

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12 to 24 months: Breakfast

chopped hard-boiled egg yolk
Bryan McCay

1 slice of toasted whole-grain bread, 1 egg (cooked any style), 6 sliced grapes, plus 2 ounces milk. Snack: half a banana (sliced), plus 2 ounces milk.

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12 to 24 months: Lunch

baby eating cheerios
Alexandra Grablewski

2 whole-grain crackers, 1 slice cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup soft-cooked, small broccoli florets, 2 ounces milk.

Snack: 1/4 cup whole-grain cereal, 1/4 cup small, ripe melon chunks.

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12 to 24 months: Dinner

cooked pasta
Bryan McCay

1/2 cup whole wheat noodles with tomato sauce, 1 ounce lean ground beef, 2 tablespoons soft-cooked, chopped veggies, 2 ounces milk. Snack: 1/4 cup chopped fruit, 1/4 cup whole yogurt.

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baby holding sippy cup

Your baby can get all the hydration she needs from breast milk or formula, but you should still offer a cup of water at mealtime after she reaches 6 months to get her accustomed to drinking from a cup -- and the taste of plain water. Avoid juice before age 1, and limit it to a maximum of 4 oz. per day after that. After age 1, be sure she drinks about two cups of water each day.

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