Tag Archives: when to feed baby solids

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Should You Feed Your Baby Cereal From A Bottle?

When it comes to feeding a baby, you’ll find that everyone (from your grandmother to your aunt to the stranger on the street) has opinions on how babies should be fed, when babies should be fed, and what babies should be fed.

Some opinions are based in solid, researched evidence (for example, there’s plenty of evidence to indicate that breastfeeding is a healthier option for babies than formula-feeding.) Other opinions, however, will be based less on facts and more on past experience. You may hear a number of people say, “My mom did this with me!” or “My grandmother had 8 children, and she always did this…”

Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle

For example, you may have friends or family members suggest that you feed your baby cereal in a bottle. People often suggest this to parents whose babies don’t sleep, or whose babies don’t seem to be gaining much weight.

So, is this a good recommendation? Will putting cereal in your baby’s bottle help her sleep well, or eat more, or gain weight?

Is Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle A Good Idea?

Probably not. There are many risks associated with feeding your young baby (under 6 months) cereal from a bottle. Some of those risks include…

  • Choking. Adding cereal to a bottle thickens the milk. This makes it harder for young babies to swallow, increasing the changes that they’ll “aspirate” (or inhale) the thickened milk and choke on it.
  • Increased food allergies. There’s lots of evidence to suggest that introducing solids to a baby before 4 months of age significantly increases the risk that the baby will develop food allergies. This is because a young baby’s digestive system isn’t mature enough to handle solid foods until 4-6 months of age. We discuss food allergies in more detail in this post; check it out for more information.
  • Habitual overeating.Babies who take cereal from a bottle tend to drink more than babies who drink straight breastmilk or formula. This is the idea behind putting cereal into the bottle in the first place — that baby will take in more food.The problem is that when a baby routinely and consistently takes in large quantities of thickened milk, it can lead to a habit of overeating. And since childhood obesity rates are already problematic (and are on the rise), we definitely don’t want to teach our little ones to overeat from birth!
  • Lower nutrient intake. When parents add cereal to a bottle, they often reduce the amount of breastmilk or formula they put into the bottle (to make room for the added cereal). This is dangerous. For the first 6 months of life, breastmilk and formula provide all the nutrition a baby needs, while cereal provides little nutritional value until after 6 months. So if your baby is taking in less breastmilk and formula, he’s getting less of the vital nutrients he needs.

Will Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle Help Her Sleep Better?

This is usually the number one reason that parents even consider putting cereal in their baby’s bottle — friends and family members assure them that a little cereal in the bottle will help baby sleep longer and better. And for exhausted, sleep-deprived parents, even a little extra sleep sounds too tempting to pass up!

However, before you go racing to fill your infant’s bottle with rice cereal, you should know something — there’s no evidence that feeding your baby solids (whether by spoon or by bottle) will help her sleep better. That’s because when babies wake at night, they’re not just waking from hunger — they’re waking for a variety of other reasons (like sleep associations.) So adding cereal to your baby’s bottle likely won’t make a difference in her sleep, but it will put her at risk for a variety of complications.

Will Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle Help With His Reflux?

If your baby struggles with reflux, you may have heard friends and family members suggest adding cereal to his bottle as a way to thicken the milk and help it say down. Is this a good idea? Does it work?

The reviews on this are mixed. Some pediatricians actually recommend this to parents, and many parents claim that mixing cereal into their babies’ bottles reduces spitting up. However, other pediatricians caution that while adding cereal might reduce episodes of spitting up, it doesn’t actually cure the reflux. Others advocate for using a special reflux formula.

The bottom line: if your baby suffers from reflux, check with your pediatrician before making any changes to his diet.

Our Recommendation

Here’s our advice, for all parents: don’t add cereal to your baby’s bottle unless your doctor has advised you to. There are far too many risks associated with feeding your baby cereal from a bottle, and there are no actual benefits. Instead, stick with feeding your infant breastmilk and/or formula, and hold off on offering solids until close to 6 months of age.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

What are your thoughts on feeding a baby cereal from a bottle? Share them below!

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5 Tips On Feeding Treats To Your Baby

If you’ve read many of our posts, you know by now that one of the things we emphasize on this blog is healthy eating. We’re committed to the idea that starting a baby on the healthiest possible foods is the first step to a lifetime of healthy eating for your child.

We’ve written about the importance of feeding your baby fresh, or lightly-cooked, fruits and vegetables. We’ve emphasized that it’s best to offer lean proteins and whole grains, and that you should keep sugar and salt to a minimum. We’ve even touched on whether or not it’s best to buy organic produce for your baby.

Special Occasions Mean Treats!

But sometimes, life throws a special occasion our way, doesn’t it? And many of us tend to mark our special occasions by serving special food — fatty, sweet, calorie-packed treats that delight our taste buds but aren’t so great for our waistlines!

How do we handle these kinds of special occasions with our babies? Do we let them indulge in treats, or do we withhold the junk food?

Below are 5 tips to help you sort out how your’e going to handle special-occasion treats with your baby.

5 Tips On Offering Treats To Your Baby

If your baby won’t miss it, then don’t offer it.

A 6 month old likely has no idea that a warm chocolate chip cookie is one thousand times more delicious than a plate of steamed carrots. So why offer the cookie in the first place, if he’s not going to miss it? What’s more, once he does get a taste for sweet, gooey treats, you can bet he’s going to love them, and that he’s going to clamor for more. So stick with offering healthy foods and skipping junk food for as long as you can.

Load your baby up on healthy foods first.

If you’re headed to a gathering where you know there’s going to be lots of tasty treats, commit to filling your baby up with healthy foods first. That might mean feeding your baby at home, before you leave; it might also mean packing some healthy snacks and taking them with you. Stuff your baby full of nourishing food so that she won’t be hungry for treats. This way, even if you do offer a small treat, she’ll be so full, she probably won’t eat much.

Set the example.

Parents, this one is hard. Believe me, I know. But it’s important! We can’t expect our little ones to embrace healthy eating habits if we as parents aren’t willing to eat healthy, too. Yes, our babies are very young, and they probably aren’t closely watching and evaluating our eating habits at this point. But it’s never too early to start walking the walk, right?

So the next time you and your baby are faced with a table full of delicious treats, make sure you model the eating habits you want your baby to have. This means limiting your own indulgence, and not filling up on sugary, fatty, salty junk food.

Don’t be afraid to say no.

If you do decide to let your baby indulge in a small treat, know in advance that he’s going to want more. And that just makes sense, right? When has anyone ever been content to eat one tiny brownie, when there’s a whole pan available? 

If your little one beings wailing for more, don’t be afraid to firmly say no. When it comes to food, it’s probably a good idea to set boundaries early, and to let your baby know that when mom or dad says “All done,” it actually means all done.

Remember to relax and enjoy the moment.

It’s a good and wise thing to limit your baby’s intake of treats, of course. Lots of extra sugar isn’t good for our little ones! But let’s remember that a little extra sugar certainly isn’t going to do serious damage. I know many moms who try to follow a “No sugar before 12 months” rule. And while that’s an admirable vow, it doesn’t always play out practically. Special occasions happen, and sometimes, you just have to relax and let your baby eat some cake. It’ll be more fun for everyone if (every once in awhile) you do just that.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

How do you feed treats to your baby? Share your tips below!

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Are You Feeding Your Baby Too Much Solid Food?

It’s always nice when a baby who’s just started eating solid foods shows a real appetite for them. As a parent, you know that it feels great to offer your little one healthy purees and then watch as she gobbles them up.

But can that healthy appetite ever be a problem? Can a baby actually eat too much solid food?

In a word, yes.

Remember, for the first year of life, a baby’s primary source of nutrition should be breastmilk and/or formula. It’s just fine to offer solid foods (starting around 5 or 6 months), but solid foods shouldn’t replace breastmilk or formula as a source of nourishment.

In this article, we’ll explore two signs that you may be feeding your baby too much solid food and two easy ways to fix the problem.

2 Signs You’re Feeding Your Baby Too Much Solid Food

  1. Your baby regularly eats more food than is recommended.

    There’s no formula for exactly how much food you should be offering your baby at each meal; rather, its best if you use your baby’s own hunger cues and appetite as a guide.

    But if you find that your baby is routinely eating more than is recommended, you may want to consider offering a bit less food at each sitting. A healthy appetite is a good thing, but not if your baby ends up overeating every day! Check out our Amounts of Solid Food By Age chart to determine appropriate serving sizes for your baby.

  2. Your baby regularly drinks less breastmilk or formula than is recommended.

    This is another sign that you may be offering too much solid food. If you find that your baby is regularly nursing less, or taking less formula during feedings, then you’ll want to take a careful look at how much solid food you’re offering.

    Sometimes, babies who fill up on solids don’t have much room left for breastmilk or formula. And since breastmilk and/or formula is a key part of your baby’s nutrition, it’s vital that they drink plenty of it. Our Amounts of Solid Food By Age chart (referenced above) also includes recommended amounts of breastmilk and formula; check that to see if your baby’s getting enough.

Remember, if your baby has a good appetite for solid foods and eats quite a bit, that’s not necessarily a problem; as long as he’s also nursing or formula-feeding well, and taking in the recommended amounts of breastmilk or formula, all is well.

In addition, if you find that your baby isn’t getting the amounts of breastmilk or formula that she needs, it might not be due to her solids intake. If you know that she’s eating normal amounts of solid foods, then you’ll want to think about other reasons that could be causing her to drink less breastmilk or formula (like illness, or teething).

However, if the two signs listed above seem to go hand-in-hand, then you can be pretty certain that you’re feeding your baby more solid food than is good for her, and it’s causing her to take in less breastmilk or formula than she needs.

Too Much Solid Food and Not Enough Breastmilk/Formula? Ways to Solve the Problem

If you suspect your baby’s consuming too much solid food and not enough breastmilk or formula, there are a two simple steps you can take to fix the situation.

  1. Offer breastmilk or formula before offering solids.

    This one just makes sense, right? When your baby’s at his hungriest, offer him the breast (or the bottle) before you give him a handful of cheerios or a dish of mashed bananas. That‘ll help ensure that he drinks plenty of breastmilk or formula. It’ll also help take the edge off his appetite for solids.

  2. Offer (a little) less solid food.

    Some people suggest stopping solids altogether, and going back to a breastmilk/formula only diet. We generally don’t recommend this strategy, since it’s not a good method for striking a balance between solids and breastmilk or formula.

    Instead, if you suspect you’re offering too much solid food, we recommend cutting back on serving sizes a bit. Simply offer your baby a little less solid food than you normally would. That (in combination with nursing or bottle feeding before you offer solids) should ensure that your baby isn’t eating too much solid food.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

Was your baby a big solids eater? How did you strike a balance between solid food and breastmilk/formula? Share your tips below!

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6 Things To Know Before Starting Your Baby On Solids

We talk a lot around here about starting solids (since it’s the name of our site and all! 😉 ) That’s because it’s our desire to equip all parents with the knowledge they need to give their baby the best possible start to eating solid foods.

We know, however, that for parents (and especially for you first-time parents) the information related to starting your baby on solids can be a LOT to take in! There’s so much to remember, and we know (from personal experience!) that it’s enough to make any parent feel anxious.

In this post, we’ll review six things you need to think about before starting your baby on solid foods. We’ve shared all this information in previous posts, but here, we’ll condense and summarize it for you, in the hopes that it’ll make your life a little easier. Because what parent couldn’t use a healthy does of “easier”, right?

Right.

1. Know When to Start Baby on Solids

We’ve written a lot about when it’s time to start your baby on solids. You can check out our How to Know When to Start Baby on Solids post, as well as our 9 Signs Your Baby Is Ready to Start Solids post.

Short version: It’s best to wait until your baby’s close to 6 months to start feeding your baby solids. That’s based on a recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which urges parents to make breastmilk (or formula) their babies’ only source of nutrition for the first 6 months of life.

2. Know How to Start Feeding Baby Solids

Need a little guidance on how to start feeding your baby solid foods? Check out this How To Introduce Your Baby to Solid Foods post (it includes great tips on food sensitivities and allergies). You can also read this How To Feed Your Baby Solids post for a video clip on steps to feeding. Finally, check out our When Do Babies Eat Solid Foods In A Day post for tips on how many meals to offer your baby, and when to offer them.

Short version: Start by offering baby smooth, runny purees. As she gets older, you can offer thicker, lumpier foods with more texture and, eventually, chopped table food. In the beginning, be prepared to be patient — the feeding process will be long and messy, and it may take baby awhile to get the hang of it. Begin by serving one small meal (after baby has nursed or bottle-fed); then, gradually build up to two and then three meals.

3. Know Which Foods Are Best, And How Much Should to Serve

It’s critical that parents know which foods to offer baby at certain ages, and which foods to avoid. Be sure to look over the 8 Most Common Baby First Foods post for recommendations on which foods to serve first. You’ll also want to check out our Types and Amounts of Solid Foods by Age charts to help you decide which foods to offer at each stage of your baby’s development, and how much food you should be serving at each stage.

Short version: Rice cereal is the most common first food, followed by fruits and veggies that are sweet and easy-to-digest. Avoid serving allergenic foods (like milk, nuts, and fish) until baby is 12 months. Begin by offering one or two tablespoons of food each day; then, gradually increase the serving sizes.

4. Know All About Buying Vs. Making Baby Food

Before you start offering your baby solid foods, you’ll want to think about where those solid foods are going to come from. Do you buy baby food? Make it yourself? Read this Should You Make Your Own Baby Food post for tips.

If you do want to dive in and make some of your baby’s food yourself, we’ve got plenty of recipes to get you started. Check out our homemade fruit purees and veggie purees. We also have a complete listing of protein recipes. We’ll even show you how to make baby cereal! And once your baby’s older, we have a sampling of great meal recipes he’s sure to love.

Short version: Buying all of your baby’s food is expensive, but making all of it might not fit into your schedule. Instead, consider buying some and making the rest. Making your baby’s food doesn’t have to be hard; you can simply cook fruits and vegetables you have on hand until they’re soft, and then puree them in your blender. You can serve them immediately, or you can freeze them in small containers for later.

5. Know How Your Baby Might React to Starting Solids

Every baby’s different, so until you start your baby on solids, you won’t know how he’s going to react. Some babies love solids; others aren’t fans at first :). Check out our How Your Baby May React To Starting Solids post for more information.

Short version: Some babies love solids too much; if your baby’s eating tons of food but not nursing or bottle-feeding enough, cut back on the solid food (since breastmilk and/or formula should be your baby’s primary source of nutrition for the first year of life.) But what if your baby seems to hate solids? No worries! There’s no harm in taking a break and trying again later. Finally, starting solids will impact your baby’s digestive system in a big way; your baby may start having diarrhea or constipation.

6. Know Your Baby Feeding Products

We’ve mentioned this a few times in past articles, but it bears repeating: you don’t need fancy gadgets and expensive, trendy tools to feed your baby well. If you have a few bibs, a set of spoons, a couple of (BPA-free) plastic dishes, and a comfy seat for baby, you’re ready to go!

Sometimes, though, it’s worth investing in a few products, especially if they’ll make the baby food making and serving process easier on everyone. Check out our Recommended Products post for a sampling of items we think are worth the investment!

Short version: High-quality bibs, spoons, and dishes are worth the money spent, since you’ll use be using them constantly. A high-quality of high chair can be a good investment, too (especially if it converts into a regular chair, like the Tripp Trapp!) If you’re planning on making lots of your baby’s food at home, buy some good, basic tools (like a steamer basket) as well as some good freezer and storage containers.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

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9 Signs Your Baby Is Ready To Start Solids

When it comes to feeding a baby solids, one of the most common questions parents ask is, “How do I know my baby’s ready to start solid foods?” He might seem hungrier than usual, but does that mean he’s ready? She may have good head and neck control, but is that a sign that she can start eating solids?

We tackle the question of when to start in our How To Know When to Start Your Baby on Solids post, but we thought it might be helpful to review. Below are nine common signs that’ll help you know if your baby’s ready to begin her solid food journey.

  1. Baby Has Doubled His Birthweight

    Once your baby has doubled his birthweight, health experts generally agree that his digestive system is ready for an introduction to solids.

  2. Baby Sits With Support

    If your baby can sit up with support (being held on an adult’s lap, or with the aid of a highchair or infant seat), she may be ready to start solids.

  3. Baby Has Good Head and Neck Control

    This one is important. As a newborn, your baby wasn’t able to hold his head up; as he grows, however, he should gain more head and neck control, to the point where he can hold his head up on his own, without support. It’s essential that your baby have good head and neck control order to swallow food properly.

  4. Baby Seems Interested in Food

    You might start to notice your baby watching you like a hawk while you eat, or even grabbing for the food on your plate, if she happens to be sitting in your lap during a meal. When your baby starts showing interest in food like this, it can be a sign that she’s ready to start eating solid foods herself.

  5. Baby Chews or Mashes Things In His Mouth

    If you notice that your baby puts something in his mouth and tries to chew or mash it with his gums, that may be a sign that he’s ready to start solids. That chewing and mashing motion is an important step for your baby in learning how to eat.

  6. Baby Loses Her Tongue-Thrust Reflex

    Your baby was born with a tongue-thrust reflex that helps protect against choking — when an object ends up in her mouth, her tongue automatically pushes it out of her mouth. Your baby will lose this reflex around 4 months of age. When she finally does, it can be a sign that she’s ready to start solids (since she’ll be able to swallow the food you put in her mouth, instead of automatically spitting it out).

  7. Baby Lets You Know When He’s Full

    You may have noticed that your baby sometimes turns away from the breast or bottle, letting you know that he’s full. That’s means that he’s learning to self-regulate his appetite, and that can be a sign that he’s ready to begin eating solid foods.

  8. Baby Seems Hungrier Than Usual

    This is usually the number one reason why parents start their babies on solids. Baby will be nursing normally, and then suddenly, BAM! She’s hungry all the time, and no amount of breastmilk or formula seems to satisfy her. This can be a sign that she’s ready to start solids, although it’s not always a great indicator.

    Keep in mind that a growth spurt happens around 3-4 months of age. Some parents start solids around that time, but according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, that’s a bit too early. Instead, experts recommend nursing frequently and waiting it out; many parents find that within a week or so, their babies are back to nursing normally again.

  9. Baby Start Waking At Night

    This phenomenon often goes hand-in-glove with your baby seeming hungrier than usual. If your baby has been sleeping well and then suddenly begins waking during the night, you might feel that he’s hungry and not getting enough to eat. Again, this can be a sign that he’s ready to begin solid foods, but it’s not a very reliable sign.

    Some babies wake at night only out of hunger; for those babies, extra nursing or bottle feeding sessions, or a bit of solid food before bed, will help. But most babies wake for other reasons (like sleep associations, or sleep regressions); for those babies, adding solid foods won’t help them sleep. In addition, your baby might suddenly start waking at night due to teething, or even illness. It’s important to rule out any other causes for the nighttime waking before you decide to start solids.

None of these signs by themselves indicates that your baby is ready to start solid foods. However, if you see many of these signs happening together, that very well may signal that your baby is ready to begin solids.

Remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting solid foods around 6 months of age. You don’t have to follow that recommendation exactly, of course, but it is considered best to wait until closer to 6 months to begin solids (instead of beginning at 3 or 4 months, which used to be standard.)

Remember too that for the first year of your baby’s life, breastmilk and/or formula should be her primary source of nutrition (another AAP recommendation). So it’s essential that even after you start your baby on solid foods, you continue nursing or bottle feeding often. See our Amounts of Solid Foods by Age chart for recommended amounts of breastmilk and formula.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

How did your baby let you know he was ready for solid foods? Share your baby’s readiness signs below!

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8 Most Common Baby First Foods

When it comes to starting your baby on solids, a question parents ask themselves (aside from how and when to start) is, “What foods should I start with?” After all, your baby hasn’t tasted anything but breastmilk or formula up to this point; whatever foods you offer first are going to have a big impact!

There are a few rules when it comes to what foods you should feed your baby first. Avoid any allergenic foods (like milk, eggs, tomatoes, nut butters, etc.) Think about textures, too; whatever foods you start your baby on should be smooth, runny, and pretty lump-free. So raw carrots are out. 😉 And you’ll want to start with foods that are easy for your baby to digest. Avoid things that’ll cause gas (like broccoli) or that are highly acidic (like tomatoes and strawberries).

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the 8 most common “first foods” for baby, along with a few words about each. This list is in no particular order. What’s more, this list isn’t meant to be a rigid, inflexible guide; you don’t have to start with these foods! Simply use this list as a guide to help you create the “menus” for your baby’s first few weeks of  meals.

  1. Rice Cereal

    This is the #1 most common first food for babies, for a few reasons.  It’s bland, so babies usually don’t reject it based on its taste.  Its texture makes it easy for babies to swallow.  And it’s easy to digest, making it a good first option.

  2. Oatmeal Cereal

    Once babies have mastered rice cereal, many parents move on to oatmeal.  Like rice cereal, oatmeal is fairly bland and smooth.

  3. Applesauce

    Applesauce is smooth and easy to swallow, making it a good first food.  And since babies tend to prefer sweet flavors, it’s usually a baby favorite 🙂  Plus, it’s easy to find sugar-free applesauce at the supermarket, making it an inexpensive choice.

  4. Bananas

    Many parents love the convenience of serving mashed bananas — they’re easy to mash, and since they’re already soft and don’t need cooking, they provide a great way to feed your little one fresh fruit.  What’s more, bananas are easy for tiny tummies to digest.

  5. Avocados

    Avocados are great first foods for many of the same reasons as bananas — they’re easy to mash, they’re soft and easy to eat when they’re fresh, and they’re highly digestible.  And you can feel good knowing that each time you feed your baby avocados, you’re offering her heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

  6. Pears

    Pears are fiber-rich and delicious; they can also help relieve constipation and reflux.

  7. Sweet Potato

    Sweet Potatoes are a fantastic first food for baby.  They’re packed with vitamins and minerals, they’re easy to digest, and babies usually love their naturally sweet flavor.

  8. Squash

    Winter squash, like butternut and acorn squash, is delicious and nutritious.  And squashes tend to produce smooth, runny purees — all the more reason to make it one of the first foods you offer to your baby!

Of course, you can buy commercial, prepared versions of all the food above; you certainly don’t have to make your own baby food.  But if you decide you want to try making your baby’s food yourself, check our our recipes for homemade cereal, homemade fruit purees, and homemade veggie purees.

You may also want to check our our Types and Amounts of Solid Foods By Age charts, for more information on what first foods are best for your baby.

What foods did you introduce to your baby first?  Share your list of first foods below!

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A Solid Foods Feeding Schedule: Types and Amounts of Solid Foods By Age


When it comes to starting your baby on solids, the list of “dos” and “don’ts” seems long, doesn’t it?  Enter a simple question like, “How much should I feed my baby at each meal?” or “When should I start feeding my baby dairy?” into a search engine, and you’ll find pages and pages answers (many of which contradict each other!)

We know that when it comes to baby schedules, moms like to have the basics presented to them in a clear, easy-to-understand way.  We’ve attempted to do just that in this article.  Below, you’ll find two simple charts:   one outlines the types of solid foods you can feed your baby, by age; the other highlights amounts and serving sizes, by age.  Use both as a guide as you shop for and prepare your baby’s foods.

Remember, these charts are a general guide — they’re not set in stone!  If your baby eats more servings of vegetables in a day than we’ve recommended here, good for him!  We’ve simply grouped the foods based on their digestability, texture, and allergy risk.  What’s more, the serving sizes we recommend are general ranges, but all babies are unique.

You’ll also notice that this chart shows solid food beginning between 4-6 months. You can start small amounts of solid food as early as 4 months; however, based on the most recent health information, we recommend waiting until closer to 6 months to start solids.

As you look over the recommended amounts of solid food, keep one thing in mind: you should always prioritize your baby’s breastmilk or formula intake over your baby’s solid food intake. In other words, if your baby isn’t drinking the recommended amounts of breastmilk or formula, but is eating plenty of solid food, be sure to decrease their solid food intake and really focus on making sure they’re drinking the recommended amounts of breastmilk or formula.

Finally, keep in mind that the information offered here should never replace the advice or guidance of your baby’s doctor.

TYPES OF SOLID FOODS BY AGE

Age Grains Fruits Vegetables Meat and Dairy Feeding Tip
Birth-4 Months None None None None At this age, breastmilk or formula is all a baby needs to be properly nourished.
4-6 Months Rice cereal (traditionally a baby’s very first food), followed by oatmeal and barley. Apple, Avocado, Banana, Pear Green Beans, Sweet Potato, Squash None Not sure if your baby’s ready for solids? Review the tips for when to start.
7-8 Months Same as above. Same as above, plus cherries, mango, papaya, nectarines and peaches, and plums. Same as above, plus carrots, cauliflower, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, and zucchini. Poultry (chicken and turkey), beans, and legumes.  Doctors used to recommend waiting to offer egg whites until after 12 months; that recommendation has changed. Now, egg yolks and whites can be introduced around 8 months. In the beginning, it’s best to offer baby single-ingredient meals. Around 8 months, however, you can start mixing foods for more interesting tastes.
9-10 Months Same as above, plus quinoa, wheat, pasta, crackers, bread, bulgar, kasha, and millet. Same as above, plus blueberries, coconut, figs, grapes (mashed), kiwi, and melon. Same as above, plus asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cucumber, eggplant, mushrooms, onion, peppers, and spinach. Same as above, including yogurt, cheese (including cottage cheese and cream cheese), beef, pork, tofu. Begin offering your baby tiny bits of food; you can feed these to her on a spoon or spread them on a tray and encourage her to feed herself.
11-12 Months Same as above. Same as above, plus tomatoes, citrus fruits, and strawberries. Same as above, plus corn. Same as above, plus fish. Whole milk, shellfish, nuts, and nut butters can be introduced any time after 12 months. By this point, your baby should be feeding himself more and more. Whenever possible, offer your baby finger food at meals.

 

AMOUNTS OF SOLID FOODS BY AGE

Age Liquid

(per day)

Grains

(per day)

Fruit

(per day)

Vegetables

(per day)

Meat and Dairy

(per day)

Birth-4 months 25-35 oz of breastmilk (~6 breastfeeding sessions) or 20-30 oz. formula (or combination). No water or juice. None None None None
4-6 months (1-2 solid feedings per day) 25-35 oz of breastmilk (~5-8 breastfeeding sessions) or 20-30 oz. formula (or combination). No water or juice. 1-2 tablespoons dry infant cereal, mixed with breastmilk or formula 1-2 tablespoons pureed fruit 1-2 tablespoons pureed vegetables None
7-8 months (2-3 solid feedings per day) 25-35 oz of breastmilk (~5 breastfeeding sessions) or 20-30 oz. formula (or combination). 2-3 oz. of  water.** 1-6 tablespoons dry infant cereal, mixed with breastmilk or formula 1-6 tablespoons pureed/mashed fruit 1-6 tablespoons pureed/mashed vegetables Meat: 1-2 tablespoons pureed/mashed protein (offer at 8 months)
Dairy: 1/4-1/2 cup yogurt or cottage cheese; 1 oz. shredded cheese
9-10 months (3 solid feedings per day) 25-35 oz of breastmilk (~4-5 breastfeeding sessions) or 20-30 oz. formula (or combination). 4-6 oz. of  water.** 2-4 tablespoons dry infant cereal, mixed with breastmilk or formula.
1-2 servings other grains*
4-8 tablespoons mashed/chopped fruit 4-12 tablespoons mashed/chopped vegetables Meat: 2-6 tablespoons mashed/chopped protein
Dairy: Same as 7-8 month recommendations.
11-12 months (3 solid feedings per day) 25-35 oz of breastmilk (~3-4 breastfeeding sessions) or 20-30 oz. formula (or combination). 6-8 oz. of water.** Same as above, except increase “other grains” to 2 servings 6-8 tablespoons mashed/chopped fruit, or 1/2 cup diced 6-12 tablespoons mashed/chopped vegetables, or 1/2 – 3/4 cup diced Meat: 2-6 tablespoons mashed/chopped protein, or 1/4 cup diced
Dairy: Same as 7-8 month recommendations.

*1 serving of “other grains” = 1/2 slice of bread, 2 crackers, 1/2 cup Cheerios, or 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta

**You can offer small amounts of juice at this age, too, but based on pediatric dental recommendations, we don’t advise offering much juice at all (if any).  We also advise that parents offer breastmilk or formula first.  Only offer juice or water if your baby is getting the breastmilk and/or formula he needs each day.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

Have anything you’d like to add to our chart? Share your input below!

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How To Introduce Solid Foods To Your Baby

So you now know when to start your baby on solid foods, and you may have decided that the time is now — your baby’s ready!  Now, it’s time to feed your little one solids for the first time.  But that can be easier said than done.  How should you introduce solids?  What foods should you begin with?  Cereal?  Fruits and Veggies?  Help!

Introducing Solids:  What Should Be Your Baby’s First Foods?

When it comes to introducing solids, infant cereals (particularly rice cereal) are traditionally recommended as the best first foods for baby.  These make great starting foods because their texture is soft and smooth, and their taste is fairly bland.  They can also be mixed with formula or breastmilk, making their flavor familiar to baby and making the transition to solids even easier.  Finally, infant cereals are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction, and they’re fortified with iron (something babies start needing more of around 6 months of age).

However, research has shown that cereal is not always the best starting food for babies.  Today, some health experts recommend starting with fruits and vegetables (pureed, of course), or substituting whole grain oatmeal for powdered infant cereal. They suggest that bananas, avocado, or sweet potatoes are excellent first foods, since they’re sweet (like breastmilk) and easy to mash.

In general, it’s best to delay the introduction of allergy-causing foods (see below) and start with foods that are considered safe for your 4-6 month old baby (like the ones listed above). Of course, all babies are different and we’ve heard of babies being allergic to even banana. This is rare, but you will want to take it slow with any new foods (see “4 day rule” below)!

Introducing Solids:  What About Food Allergies and Eczema?

Food allergies can make any mom worry, but you may be particularly concerned if you have a family history of food allergies or of eczema (a skin condition that can be an indicator of food allergies.)  If that’s the case, you will want to be even more careful about watching for allergic reactions in your baby or how you introduce new foods to your baby.

Regardless of whether or not your family has as history of food allergies, it’s recommended that you introduce individual foods one at a time.  In other words, don’t mix peas and carrots together if both are brand new foods for your baby.  Offer them separately.  What’s more, you should follow the “4 Day Rule”:  wait about 4 days in between introducing a new food to your baby. That will give you time to see if an allergic reaction develops, and it’ll help you better determine which food is responsible for the reaction.  And if food allergies run in your family, be especially careful to introduce foods this way. You don’t have to delay introducing any foods – the old “rule” to introduce typically allergenic foods like peanuts and shellfish after 12 months of age no longer applies. However, if you are introducing an allergenic food – especially if a history of such allergies runs in your family – observe your baby closely after offering that particular food.

Food Sensitivities/Intolerances vs. Food Allergies

Keep in mind, too, that while your baby may not develop a true food allergy, he may have some food sensitivities or food intolerances.  Food sensitivities and intolerances are more common than true food allergies.  For instance, true milk allergies aren’t that common, but milk sensitivities and intolerances are.

In addition, The symptoms of food sensitivities and intolerances are usually less severe than true food allergies.  For example, after eating a new food, you might notice that your baby has a night of poor or restless sleep.  Or you might notice that he seems gassy after eating something new.  These can be signs of a food intolerance.

For more information about food intolerances/sensitivities, and how they’re different from true food allergies, check out this article on mayoclinic.com.

Introducing Solids:  Should I Still Breastfeed/Bottle Feed?

Oh, yes!  The fact that your baby is eating solids now doesn’t mean you should cut out (or even cut back on) breastmilk or formula.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastmilk or formula be your baby’s primary source of nutrition for the first year.  Therefore, your goal in introducing your baby to solids isn’t to provide her with nutrition that she’s not getting from breastmilk or formula.  Breastmilk and formula still give her all the nutrition she needs.  Rather, you’re introducing solids in order to give her some practice at eating (and eventually feeding herself) solid foods.  To be sure that your baby’s getting enough breastmilk or formula, check out our Amounts of Solid Foods by Age chart; it includes recommended daily amounts.

Keep this in mind as you start feeding your baby solids; if you notice that he’s eating more and drinking less than his required daily amount, reduce the amount of solid food you offer and try to increase his nursing or bottle feeding to ensure that he’s getting enough breastmilk or formula.  Solid food will fill him up (and those extra calories will be necessary as he gets bigger), but it won’t offer the same nutrition as breastmilk or formula.

Introducing Solids:  Slow and Steady is the Way to Go!

A final word about how to introduce solids:  make “slow and steady” your mantra as you introduce your baby to this new way of eating.  Remember, this is a big change for your baby — her eating now involves new tastes, new textures, and new skills on her part (like chewing!)  As with anything new, your baby’s going to need some practice with eating solid food before she gets “good” at it.

So be prepared to be patient.  In the beginning, meals will likely be long and messy.  You may wonder if your baby’s gotten any food in his belly after you see how much he’s managed to smear in his hair and on his face! That’s the fun part! 🙂 Or, you may find that it takes 45 minutes to get finish a few tablespoons of cereal.  But that’s okay!  It’s all part of the learning process.  Slowly, steadily, your baby will figure it out, and eating will be more fun and less work!

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

How did you introduce your baby to solids? Share your tips!

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How to Know When to Start Your Baby On Solids

When Start Baby on Solids

When your baby was a newborn, your feeding options were pretty straightforward (though maybe not simple):  breast or bottle?  And for awhile, breastmilk and/or formula is all your little one needs to be well-nourished.  But there comes a time when your baby will be ready for a little more, and at that point, you’ll need to introduce solid foods into your baby’s diet.

Introducing solids is a big step (especially for you first-time parents!)  And one of the first questions parents have about solid foods is, “When should I start baby on solid foods?”

When to Start Solids:  Signs Your Baby is Ready for Solids

These physical signs indicate that your baby may be ready to start solids:

  • Your baby has good head control and is able to sit up with support:  This is a big one.  Before starting solids, your baby needs to be able to hold her head up on her own (so that she’s able to swallow), and she needs to be able to sit up straight.
  • Your baby shows an interest in food:  Maybe you’ve noticed your little guy staring at you while you eat dinner, or maybe you’ve caught him reaching out and trying to grab that food right off your fork!  When babies begin showing an interest in food, it may be a sign that they’re ready to start solids.  (Keep in mind, though, that this sign alone doesn’t indicate readiness.  It should appear along with some of the other signs listed here.)
  • Your baby has lost the “tongue-thrust” reflex:  For the first 4 months of your baby’s life, she has a tongue-thrust reflex to protect against choking — when an object ends up on her tongue, she automatically pushes it out of her mouth.  After 4 months, your baby gradually loses this reflex, so that when you put a spoonful of food in her mouth, she’s able to swallow it.
  • Your baby attempts to mash or chew food:  When you put food in his mouth, your baby should automatically mash it with his gums.  If he does, it’s a sign that he’s ready for solids.
  • Your baby lets you know when she’s full:  You may notice that your baby begins to turn away from the bottle or breast when she’s had enough.  This is a sign that she’s able to self-regulate her appetite, which is an important step in being ready to start solids.

When to Start Solids:  What age?

Of course, the calendar can be (and traditionally has been) an indicator of when it’s time to start solids.  Parents (as well as healthcare providers) consider a baby’s age when deciding if it’s best to start solids.  This can be misleading, however, since age recommendations for starting solids have changed over the years.

Decades ago, it wasn’t uncommon for moms to start their babies on solids at a very young age — 1 or 2 months old!  Over the years, however, as medical and nutritional sciences have evolved, moms have been encouraged to wait a little longer before starting solids.  Over time, 4-6 months of age has become the recommended starting place.

Recently, however, the window for starting solids has been pushed back even further; now, experts recommend starting solids closer to 6 months, if possible (some even recommend waiting to start until after 6 months).  There are a number of reasons for this recommendation to delay solids, including:

  • Decreasing the risk of food allergies.
  • Decreasing the risk of future obesity.
  • Decreasing the risk of iron-deficiency anemia.
  • Allowing the baby’s immune and digestive systems more time to mature.

When to Start Solids:  Is “My Baby Seems Hungry” A Good Reason to Start Solids?

So we know some of the signs a baby may show indicating she’s ready to start solids.  And we’ve established the age when it’s best to start (around 6 months).  But often, the number one reason a parent considers starting solids is simply because baby seems hungry.  The baby may begin waking more often at night, or demanding to be nursed/bottle fed more frequently than usual.  This often starts to happen around 4 months of age, and it may seem like a sign that the baby isn’t getting enough to eat and needs something more.

Be cautious about using this as a reason to start solids, however.  Keep in mind that many babies experience a growth spurt around 4 months of age, so that could be the reason your baby is suddenly waking up hungry at night, or needing to nurse more frequently during the day.  Growth spurts don’t last long (around a week or so), so it’s best just to wait these out, before starting your baby on solids.

We need to remember, too, that the famous 4 month sleep regression occurs at this time, too.  So it’s possible that the sudden night waking has nothing to do with hunger and instead has to do with the fact that your baby’s sleep patterns are becoming more like an adult’s.  In this case, starting solids early wouldn’t help your baby sleep, simply because it’s not hunger that’s causing her to wake in the first place.

Based on this, it’s best to avoid starting solids before 5 or 6 months of age, even if your baby seems hungrier than usual around 4 months.  Instead, we recommend that you increase your nursing, or offer more bottles during the day and continue to feed as necessary at night.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

When did you start your baby on solids?  How did you know your baby was ready?  Share your story!

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