How to Introduce your Baby to Solid Foods
When your baby is 4-6 months old and has reached the following milestones:
sits up with support
watches you eat
drinks >40 oz formula a day or is breast feeding more frequently than usual
He or she is likely ready to start eating solids. Your infant should only be fed solids by spoon, NEVER in the bottle. Introduce rice cereal first. Mix it with formula or breast milk to a smooth runny paste. Rice cereal is considered the least allergenic and is a good source of iron, calcium, and B vitamins. As your baby becomes accustomed to eating the thin cereal, you can begin to thicken it by adding less liquid. Your baby’s poop will change after starting cereal, but if you suspect constipation, please call our office.
Start feedings with small sized servings of one or two tablespoons and gradually increase as your baby “gets the hang” of eating off a spoon. The small quantities allow your infant to practice swallowing from a spoon and experience the new food without being overwhelmed by large quantities. If your baby doesn’t seem to understand how to eat when being spoon fed, he or she may not be developmentally ready yet. That’s okay! Just try again in a week or two. If you make it to the 6 month visit without some success with spoon feeding, let us know.
Once your baby is eating rice cereal regularly and without difficulty, you can start offering other foods. You may introduce additional cereal varieties as well as pureed vegetable and fruits. Stay away from meat and wheat products until your child is at least 6 months old. Introduce just one food at a time and wait 3-4 days before offering a new ingredient. This is important so that if a food does not agree with your infant, it can be easily identified. If foods are introduced in rapid succession, or if mixed foods are given, it becomes difficult to identify the food causing the problem. There is a wide range of baby foods to choose from. You may make your own baby food or buy it from the store. If you make your own, make sure it is well pureed so the baby won’t choke. As your baby begins eating more solids, a variety of cereals, vegetables, fruits, and meats becomes more important for a balanced diet.
For now, breast milk and/or formula continue to be a primary source of your baby’s nutrition.
When you start solids, make sure that your baby continues to either breast feed 3-4 times daily or receives 16-24 oz. or more of formula a day. Your baby needs formula or breast milk until he or she is one year of age. We do not recommend fruit juices EVER.
No milk products, eggs, peanut butter or honey until 12 months of age. Limit citrus fruit and tomato products until 12 months due to their acidic nature.