Solid Food Readiness

Babies often begin to show an interest in solid food around the time their teeth come in. If your baby is gaining weight well, however, there’s no need to rush to add solid food to his diet.

If you are breastfeeding, remember that pediatricians recommend this method of feeding, exclusively, for the first 6 months of life. If you are concerned that your breastfed baby is not getting enough to satisfy hunger before 6 months, talk with the child’s healthcare provider.

For formula-fed babies, sometime around 4–6 months of age, you’ll know your little one is ready to try a little baby cereal or strained fruit or vegetable when he or she:

  • Sits up mostly on his own and can hold his head up for long periods of time
     
  • Opens his mouth while you’re eating, watches you closely as you eat or tries to grab food from your plate
     
  • Remains hungry between breast- or bottle feeding
     
  • Doesn’t just push food out of his mouth with his tongue when you offer it

Check out this American Academy of Pediatrics video on introducing solid foods.  

Even so, his first taste of cereal may be promptly spit out. If the second and third tastes cause less of a reaction, he may be learning to like the taste and be ready for meals in addition to breast milk or formula.

Keep providing breast milk or formula, since this is where your baby will still get most of her nutrition during the first year of life (even after solid foods are introduced).

Though single-grain cereals have traditionally been introduced first, pediatricians now say it really doesn’t matter what the first solid foods are. If you’ve added cereals to your baby’s daily meals, next try a teaspoon of mashed vegetables; squash or sweet potato is often well received. Mashed fruits—applesauce and bananas with no added sugar—could come next, followed by strained meats, if you plan to have meat in your baby’s diet.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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