Single-grain cereals have traditionally been the first solid food introduced to a baby, but pediatricians now say the type of food introduced first doesn’t really matter.
If you start with iron-fortified cereal, start small—with just 1/4 tsp of cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. Strained or pureed fruits and vegetables could come next.
Some pediatricians recommend that you start vegetables ahead of fruits, so your baby will learn to like foods that aren’t sweet. Increase the amount of solid food slowly as your baby’s eating skills and interest develop. Then begin adding other foods, 1 at a time (to test for allergic reactions).
If you are breastfeeding, as you increase the amount of solid food you feed your baby, nurse your baby before giving him his solids, to be sure that your milk supply is stimulated for as long as you wish to continue nursing.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies continue nursing through their first birthday, and beyond, as long as both mother and baby desire. (The World Health Organization recommends 2 years.)
Remember that eating is a learned skill. At first, your child will get used to using her tongue, swallowing, accepting the spoon, and the texture of the cereal. Look to your child for cues. Eating should be a fun, new experience that you both enjoy.
See also ...
• Starting Solids – advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics
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