Age-by-Age Guide to Starting Solid Foods
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.
Age: 6 to 8 months
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.
6 to 8 months: Breakfast
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.
6 to 8 months: Lunch
1 to 2 tablespoons of infant cereal, 2 tablespoons pureed fruit or vegetables (applesauce, ripe mango, sweet potatoes, or peas).
6 to 8 months: Dinner
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).
Age: 8 to 11 months
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.
8 to 11 months: Breakfast
2 to 3 tablespoons of infant cereal, about 1 to 2 tablespoons of fruit such as diced kiwi, banana, ripe peaches, watermelon, or cantaloupe.
8 to 11 months: Lunch
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.
8 to 11 months: Dinner
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.
Age: 12 to 24 months
12 to 24 months: Breakfast
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.
12 to 24 months: Lunch
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.
12 to 24 months: Dinner
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.
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.