When is My Son/Daughter Ready to Try Pureed Food?
Your son/daughter is ready to try pureed food (soft foods that have been blended or cooked until soft and creamy) when he or she:
- Is at least 4 months old
- Weighs double (twice as much) his or her birth weight
- Can sit in an infant seat or highchair and hold his or her head up without becoming tired
- Shows behaviors that say he/she is interested in food, like staring at food, reaching for food, smacking his/her lips and opening his/her mouth when he/she sees solid foods
Which Foods Are Okay to Offer?
Breast milk or formula should still be the main source of nutrition for your son/daughter. In addition to breast milk or formula, you can offer the following foods to your son/daughter:
- Baby cereal that is fortified with iron (has iron added to it)
- Stage 1 pureed fruits and vegetables. (Stage 1 purees are the thinnest purees available.)
- Pureed proteins, like meat and beans
How Can I Successfully Offer Pureed Food to My Son/Daughter?
You can successfully offer pureed food to your son/daughter by following these tips:
- Start by feeding your child once a day.
- When your baby is trying new types of food, offer only 1 new food or ingredient every 3-4 days. This makes it easier to figure out if your son/daughter prefers certain foods. It can also help you figure out if he/she is allergic to certain foods.
- Remember that babies begin by having small portions. In the beginning, it’s normal for a baby to only eat 1-2 tablespoons of food at a time.
- Offer foods with a single ingredient. For example, offer oatmeal instead of multigrain cereal.
- Use an infant-sized spoon with a shallow bowl.
- Make sure your son/daughter is sitting in his or her chair properly. The highchair should be supportive and your son/daughter should be sitting with his or her legs, head, back and feet supported.
- Make sure your son/daughter can look straight ahead at the person feeding him or her.
- Watch your son/daughter’s cues. Wait for him/her to finish a bite before offering another. It might take time for him/her to coordinate movements between bites.
- Watch for signs of fatigue or tiredness. It’s important that your son/daughter doesn’t become frustrated while eating.
What is Normal Behavior While My Son/Daughter Tries Pureed Food?
Your son/daughter might show different behaviors while you are offering pureed food. The following behaviors are normal while offering pureed food:
- Tongue thrusting (sticking his/her tongue in and out)
- Messiness, including spitting out some pureed food
- Making faces or grimacing
- Preferring some flavors over others
- Lip smacking
- Mild gagging
When Should I Ask for Help While Offering Pureed Foods?
You should call your son/daughter’s pediatrician if he/she shows any of these signs while trying new pureed food:
- Gagging when he/she sees pureed food
- Gagging after you show him or her purees multiple times
- Consistent coughing or gagging
- Consistently refusing food
- Showing signs of acid reflux (heart burn or upset stomach), like arching his/her back while eating or crying while eating
- Showing signs of an allergic reaction, like unexplained diarrhea or stools with excess mucus, vomiting, rash or hives or trouble breathing
What Else Should I Know About Feeding Pureed Food to My Son/Daughter?
Here is some helpful information about your son/daughter’s nutrition while he/she is trying pureed foods, like the importance of iron and cautions about nitrates:
It’s important that your son/daughter gets enough iron so he or she can grow properly and be healthy. Babies who were born full-term can have low iron levels by the time they’re 6 months old. Babies who were born pre-term can have low iron levels by the time they’re 2-3 months old.
Choose foods that have a lot of iron in them, like meat or beans. This will help add iron to your son/daughter’s diet.
If you’re breastfeeding, it’s important that you continue to take prenatal vitamins so your son/daughter gets enough iron.
Nitrates, a preservative in certain foods, can be harmful to your son/daughter’s health. This is especially true with some homemade foods because vegetables naturally collect nitrates as they grow in soil. Make sure to rinse off vegetables before pureeing them.
Nitrates are not a concern with jarred baby foods. This is because jarred baby foods are tested for safe nitrate levels before they are sold in stores.
Did you know?
Your son/daughter doesn’t need juice in his or her diet. He/she can fill up on juice before eating more nutritious foods. It can also cause your son/daughter to have diarrhea, a rash or gain extra weight.