Weaning, Starting Solid Foods

WHEN TO START FEEDING YOUR BABY SOLID FOOD

Start feeding your infant solid food when your baby's caregiver recommends it. Most experts suggest waiting until:

  • Your baby is around 6 months old.

  • Your baby's muscle skills have developed enough to eat solid foods safely. Some of the things that show you that your baby is ready to try solid foods include:

  • Being able to sit with support.

  • Good head and neck control.

  • Placing hands and toys in the mouth.

  • Leaning forward when interested in food.

  • Leaning back and turning the head when not interested in food.

HOW TO START FEEDING YOUR BABY SOLID FOOD

Choose a time when you are both relaxed. Right after or in the middle of a normal feeding is a good time to introduce solid food. Do not try this when your baby is too hungry. At first, some of the food may come back out of the mouth. Babies often do not know how to swallow solid food at first. Your child may need practice to eat solid foods well.

Start with rice or a single-grain infant cereal with added vitamins and minerals. Start with 1 or 2 teaspoons of dry cereal. Mix this with enough formula or breast milk to make a thin liquid. Begin with just a small amount on the tip of the spoon. Over time you can make the cereal thicker and offer more at each feeding. Add a second solid feeding as needed. You can also give your baby small amounts of pureed fruit, vegetables, and meat.

Some important points to remember:

  • Solid foods should not replace breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.

  • First solid foods should always be pureed.

  • Additives like sugar or salt are not needed.

  • Always use single-ingredient foods so you will know what causes a reaction. Take at least 3 or 4 days before introducing each new food. By doing this, you will know if your baby has problems with one of the foods. Problems may include diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, fussiness, or rash.

  • Do not add cereal or solid foods to your baby's bottle.

  • Always feed solid foods with your baby's head upright.

  • Always make sure foods are not too hot before giving them to your baby.

  • Do not force feed your baby. Your baby will let you when he or she is full. If your baby leans back in the chair, turns his or her head away from food, starts playing with the spoon, or refuses to open up his or her mouth for the next bite, he or she has probably had enough.

  • Many foods will change the color and consistency of your infants stool. Some foods may make your baby's stool hard. If some foods cause constipation, such as rice cereal, bananas, or applesauce, switch to other fruits or vegetables or oatmeal or barley cereal.

  • Finger foods can be introduced around 9 months of age.

FOODS TO AVOID

  • Honey in babies younger than 1 year . It can cause botulism.

  • Cow's milk under in babies younger than 1 year.

  • Foods that have already caused a bad reaction.

  • Choking foods, such as grapes, hot dogs, popcorn, raw carrots and other vegetables, nuts, and candies.

Go very slow with foods that are common causes of allergic reaction. It is not clear if delaying the introduction of allergenic foods will change your child's likelihood of having a food allergy. If you start these foods, begin with just a taste. If there are no reactions after a few days, try it again in gradually larger amounts. Examples of allergenic foods include:

  • Shellfish.

  • Eggs and egg products, such as custard.

  • Nut products.

  • Cow's milk and milk products.