Feeding Baby Solid Foods

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until your baby is at least 6 months old before feeding baby solids (anything other than breast milk or formula). Your child's doctor can give you the best advice about when to introduce solid foods into your baby's diet.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Start with iron-fortified, single-grain rice cereal because it is best tolerated by most babies.
  • Keep the first feedings small and thin in consistency. One or two teaspoons of rice cereal mixed with breast milk, formula or water is enough. As your baby's appetite grows, increase the portion. Gradually, reduce the liquid content until the consistency is normal. Look for signs that your baby is full: pushing the food away, playing with the food or utensils or becoming interested in her surroundings. Never force your baby to eat more than she wants.
  • Next, introduce single-ingredient fruits and vegetables one at a time to test for allergic reactions. Then try strained, multiple-ingredient foods.
  • Serve textured foods and soft table foods or finger foods, such as raw or cooked fruits or soft cooked vegetables, between 7 and 10 months of age, when your baby starts teething. Make sure that your baby can sit up before you give him anything chewy or crunchy to eat. As teeth come in and your baby can chew better, offer more table foods. Do not give chips, popcorn, nuts, hot dog pieces or anything else that might present a choking hazard.
  • Find the right temperature. Babies seem to prefer fruits at room temperature, and cereals, vegetables and meats warmed. Heat baby foods or strained table foods in a pan of water on the stove or in the microwave oven on a medium setting. With either method, remove any lids before heating. Do not microwave food at high temperatures because the uneven heating can cause "hot spots." Always stir thoroughly and test the food before feeding it to your baby.

© Parenthood.com, used with permission.

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