Introducing Solid Foods

Newborn / Baby Care & Feeding

Guiding new parents through baby’s first year and beyond is a top priority at Advanced Pediatrics. The following newborn and baby care articles have been written by Advanced Pediatric Associates and Pediatric Web. Should you have any questions regarding the following care recommendations, please call our Nurse Line at 303-699-6200, Option 2.

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Introducing Solid Foods

When is Your Infant Ready?

It is fine to offer breast milk or formula exclusively until 6 months of age. Feeding solids too soon may cause infant allergies and increase baby’s risk for obesity later in life. Solids do not help babies to sleep through the night. Rather than beginning solid foods at a particular age, it is more important to wait until your baby is developmentally ready. 

Most babies begin readiness for solid foods between 4 – 6 months of age.  Some signs which will help you recognize if your child is ready for solids are:

  • Baby can hold up head and sit with support.

  • Baby is big enough to tackle solid foods – generally when baby has doubled birth weight and weighs a minimum of 13 pounds.

  • Baby appears interested in food –and opens mouth when spoon is offered.

  • Baby is able to swallow food from a spoon.

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How to Begin Solids:

  1. For most babies it does not matter what solid foods are offered first.  Traditionally, single-grain cereals are usually offered first, but there is no medical evidence that solid foods should be introduced in any particular order. When you do feed cereal, make sure it is made for babies and iron-fortified -- mix with breast milk or formula until it develops a mustard-like consistency. (By six months, your baby should have 2 servings a day of iron-fortified infant cereal or meats to ensure adequate iron intake.)

  2. Use a baby sized spoon and start with a half spoonful or less per bite.  Talk your baby through the process, and be patient.  Sometimes it helps to offer a little breast milk or formula before and after offering the first few bites of solids from a spoon.

  3. Start with 1 – 2 Tablespoons of soft or pureed food.  Give baby one new food at a time, and wait 3 – 5 days before starting another.  Watch for any allergic reaction such as diarrhea, rash or vomiting. Call our office if you suspect an allergic reaction.  FOR ANY LIFE THREATENING ALLERGIC REACTION CALL 911.

  4. Generally meats and vegetables contain more nutrients per serving than fruits or cereals.  Within a few months of starting solids, your baby’s daily diet should include a variety of food each day including:  breast milk/formula, meats, cereal, vegetables and fruit.

  5. 5. If you make your own baby food, no sugar or salt should be added (peas, corn and sweet potatoes are good choices).  Home-prepared spinach, beets, green beans, squash and carrots contain a large amount of nitrates (commercially prepared versions of these vegetables are safer because manufacturers test for nitrates).

  6. Around six months of age solids should be offered 2 – 3 times a day, letting baby decide how much to eat.

  7. Wait till your baby is 9 months of age before adding cheese and yogurt.

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Breastfeeding and Formula:

  1. As your baby eats more solid food, the amount of formula or breastmilk may decrease, but he / she should still take at least 24 ounces of formula or 3-4 breast feedings a day until his / her first birthday.

  2. If your child is completely or partially breastfed, make sure you are giving a Vitamin D supplement (400 IU / daily).

  3. You may start offering a sippy cup around 6 months of age, so that the transition off the bottle around 12 months of age will go more smoothly.

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Juice and Honey:

  1. Do not give your baby honey until 1 year of age or later.

  2. Juice is not recommended, but if given should be diluted with water and limited to 2 – 4 ounces a day.

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When Can Baby Try Finger Foods?

You can start soft bits of finger foods when your baby shows a readiness (usually about 7 – 9 months of age). Wait till baby can sit up and bring objects to his / her mouth to feed self before offering finger foods.  TO AVOID CHOKING, MAKE SURE FINGER FOODS ARE SOFT, EASY TO SWALLOW WITHOUT CHEWING, AND CUT INTO VERY SMALL PIECES.   Some good foods to start with include:

  • Small pieces of banana

  • Well cooked pasta

  • Scrambled eggs

  • Well-cooked and finely chopped chicken

  • Well-cooked and finely chopped yellow squash, peas and potatoes

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Article provided by
Advanced Pediatric Associates

Disclaimer:  If you are not a patient of Advanced Pediatric Associates, we recommend that you consult with your own physician regarding health concerns. This information is provided as a guide to our patients, but in no way replaces the advice given by our staff. Occasionally, advice given by our providers or nurse line may vary slightly from that offered by Pediatric Web and its contributors. If you are unsure of any issue regarding your child's health, please call our Patient Care Line at (303) 699-6200. 

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