Baby Fact: When to start feeding your baby solid food

Like many parents out there, you are probably wondering when you can introduce solid food into your baby’s diet. It is safe to introduce solids to a baby between the ages of 4 to 6 months however, the World Health Organization recommends that infants should start eating solid food at 6 months of age. Until you start providing solid food to your baby, breast milk or formula provides all the nutrition and hydration your baby needs to grow and develop.

When your baby is ready to feed, they will start displaying cues to get your attention! You should be able to notice and observe:

  • Hand to mouth coordination
  • Chewing motion
  • Sitting well on their own with the ability to stabilize their head
  • Increased appetite
  • Interest in food, other than breast milk or formula

Once you see these signs displayed by your baby, you will know that they are ready to start trying some new food!

Solids, in a pureed form, may be introduced in the following order (provide food by teaspoon not in a bottle):

**Remember to introduce a new food every 3-5 days as change can be difficult for a baby and you want to ensure that there are no allergies to any food items**

4 – 6 months:

  • Cereal
    • Starting with rice is recommended but keep it mind it may constipate your baby, barley, or oatmeal
    • Begin with giving food twice daily, usually starting with 1-2 teaspoons per meal-time, for breakfast and dinner after you provide a milk meal

5-7 months:

  • Vegetables
    • Squash, beans, peas, sweet potato, carrots etc. given for lunch and dinner
  • Meat
    • Lamb, beef, chicken, veal etc.
    • Best to give daily with lunch
  • Fruit
    • Apple, pear, banana, peaches etc, given whenever the baby desires

At 6 months of age, water can be introduced into your baby’s diet. Tap water is preferred due to the fluoride content. Juice is not recommended. Also at this age the texture of the food may slowly be thickened from pureed to mashed to soft when and if your baby is tolerating.

**Do NOT give honey until your baby is 12 months of age due to infection issues

It is important to remember that your baby will still need breast milk or formula until the age of 1 year. After 1 year, homogenized milk is preferred, and once your child reaches 2 years of age, the fat content of the milk is your choice.

Enjoy this time! It is fun and exciting to see your child exploring, just remember to be patient because every child progresses at a different pace.

Discuss any feeding questions or issues you have with your doctor.

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