Breast milk (or iron-fortified infant formula) is sufficient to meet your baby’s needs for her first 6 months of life. After that, it is important to consider her developmental readiness and abilities; your baby may be ready to start solid foods when she is able to sit up, hold her head steady, take food from a spoon, and swallow easily.
When to Serve What to Your Baby
Begin with single-ingredient foods, introduce one new food at a time, and wait 5 to 7 days between introducing foods. If you serve green beans for the first time on Monday, do not offer any other new foods until the following Monday.
Start with small amounts (1 to 2 Tablespoons) once or twice per day. Pay attention to your baby’s hunger and fullness and allow him to decide how much to eat. As your baby gets older, he will eat more solid foods and less breast milk/formula; however, continue serving breast milk or formula until your baby is at least 1 year old.
- Around 6 months, babies need additional sources of iron
- Start with iron-fortified infant rice cereal
- Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t accept food the first time it is offered. Wait a few days and try again
- After your baby tolerates rice cereal for a week, you may begin another single-ingredient infant cereal (e.g. oatmeal, barley; no wheat until at least 8 months)
- Some experts now recommend pureed meat/poultry as a first food because it is a good source of iron and other important nutrients; discuss this with your pediatrician
- Next, move on to pureed or strained cooked vegetables and fruits (no corn, tomatoes, citrus fruits, or strawberries):
- Orange vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, squash) taste better, so introduce green vegetables (green beans, peas) first. Don’t give up if your baby does not accept vegetables the first few times you serve them; it can take multiple exposures to a new food – as many as 10 to 15 times – for a child to accept it
- Fruits are sweeter and better-tasting than vegetables, so introduce these after your infant has developed a taste for vegetables
- Pureed meat/poultry, if not already serving
- Diced, easily mashed, soft-cooked vegetables
- Small pieces of easily mashed soft fruit with peel removed (e.g. banana, avocado) or soft-cooked fruit
- Wheat-based whole grain finger foods such as small, bite-sized pieces of plain whole wheat toast or dry, unsweetened, whole grain cereal (e.g. Cheerios)
- Mixed-grain infant cereals
- Plain full-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, small pieces of mild cheese (no cow’s milk)
- Cooked egg yolk, mashed (no egg whites)
- Pureed or easily mashed soft-cooked legumes (dried beans, peas, lentils)
- Tofu, mashed or small cubes
- Pasta, mashed or small pieces
- Finely diced or crumbled, soft-cooked, tender lean meats and poultry – remove tough parts (no hot dogs)
- Small chunks of soft fish with bones removed (no tuna or shellfish)
- Chopped, soft combination foods (casseroles, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese)
- Soft or cooked finely-chopped family foods
Keeley graduated Summa Cum Laude from Seattle Pacific University with a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition and a Dietetics Specialization. She went on to complete her dietetic internship at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, where she received the Distinguished Dietetic Intern Award and Scholarship.