At 4-6 months you can introduce solid foods so your baby can get used to new tastes and textures and a different mechanism of eating. Breast milk and formula are still the major sources of nutrition.
Developmental milestones which indicate infants are ready for solids:
- Sits with support.
- Has good head and neck control.
- Pushes up with straight elbows from lying face down.
- Shows readiness for varied textures of supplemental foods by placing their hands or toys in their mouth.
- Leans forward and opens mouth when interested in food, and leans back and turns away when uninterested in the food, or not hungry
Offer solids initially between two regular feeds and at a time your child is most alert. Try only one new food at a time to rule out any allergies. Your child may reject a food a number of times before subsequently taking it eagerly. Give each new food at 3-5 days interval before starting a new one. Start with one solid meal a day, and then, depending on how your child likes the solids, by 6 months you can progress to three meals per day.
Start with oat or rice cereal: Mix 1-2 tablespoons with water, formula or breast milk. Offer it with a spoon. You can then try other plain cereals. Try the stage one vegetables either together with the cereal meal, or by itself, and then try the fruits.
For babies with severe eczema or significant family history of food allergy, we would recommend that a blood test or skin test be performed, and then if necessary do an oral food challenge of highly allergenic foods.
In babies who do not have severe eczema, we recommend earlier introduction (6 months) of peanut products; after initial introduction of stage 1 foods. There are commercially available products with peanut in them such as: Bamba, MyPeanut.
You could try a quarter teaspoon of peanut butter and add it to 1oz pureed baby food.
Refer to https://www.niaid.nih.gov/sites/default/files/peanut-allergy-prevention-guidelines-parent-summary.pdf for additional information
At around 6-7 months you can introduce stage 2, or thicker purees and mixtures of foods.
At around 8-10 months, if your child has a pincer grasp, can put food in their mouth, has chewing motion, and can sit independently, your child may be ready for table food.
- Soft fruits – bananas, melons, pears, peaches, nectarines etc. All food must be cut into small pieces, skinned and seeded.
- Soft steamed vegetables in small pieces.
- Cheese, yogurt
- Breads, noodles, rice, crackers
- SMALL pieces of ground beef, turkey, chicken, lamb and pork.
- Pancakes/ baked goods containing eggs
For allergenic foods like fish, shellfish, eggs and ground nuts:
- Your infant should be given an initial taste of one of these foods at home, rather than at day care or at a restaurant.
- If there is no apparent reaction, the food can be introduced in gradually increasing amounts.
- Consult your child’s health care provider if your child has signs of an allergic reaction after eating a food, has moderate to severe eczema that is difficult to control, or has a sibling with a peanut allergy. An allergy evaluation may be suggested in these cases.
- AVOID all foods that are a choking hazard.
Food to avoid
Certain foods should be avoided in infants younger than one year of age. They include HARD, ROUND FOODS (e.g., nuts, grapes, raw carrots, popcorn, gum and round candies), which can lead to choking, as well as HONEY (because of the association of honey with infant botulism).
Starting Solids (click here for PDF)