Starting your child on solid foods is a big milestone! It may seem scary, but it can be an exciting time for your baby to be introduced to new tastes and textures. Before starting to eat food, it’s always a good idea to talk to your baby’s doctor, especially if you have questions or concerns.
Most babies will be ready to start eating food around six months old. Although many babies are still breastfeeding at six months, this is the time to integrate food in with milk.
Is your baby ready? Some signs to look for:
- The tongue-thrust reflex that causes your baby to push food out of their mouth is gone.
- Your baby can sit up and support his or her head.
- Your baby is interested in what is on the dinner table. Your baby may stare or grab at the food or even make interested noises.
- Your baby can draw in his or her lower lip making it possible to eat from a spoon.
Here are some other tips to keep in mind as you get started:
- Single ingredient foods are typically good to start with, as they do not have extra sugar, preservatives, or other additives. An example is a mushed banana.
- New foods should be introduced slowly and one at a time. You should wait a few days between introducing new foods to your baby. If your baby is allergic, the source of the allergy can be easily identified.
- While introducing solid foods, your baby will continue to drink breast milk or formula in order to get all the necessary nutrients.
- Babies can be slow to accept new foods, so if your baby rejects a particular food, try introducing it again at a later time.
- Try introducing a new food at a time of day when your baby is well rested and not cranky.
- When your baby is 8 to 10 months old, they’re likely ready to start moving towards finger foods.
- If you’re thinking of starting your baby on a vegetarian or vegan diet, please talk to your doctor and a dietitian.
If you choose to prepare pureed foods at home rather than buying them at your local story, make sure to follow the same safety rules when cooking meals for your family, such as washing your hands.