Patient EducationNov | 10 | 2019
Introducing Solid Foods to Your Baby
Introducing solid foods to your baby can be a fun, exciting and sometimes confusing time. In this handout, you will learn tips on when and which solid foods to feed your baby.
When Can My Baby Start Eating Solid Foods?
Your baby can try solid foods between 4 and 6 months of age. Waiting to try solids until this age can help lower your child’s risk of chronic (long-term) diseases, such as diabetes, overweight or obesity.
How Do I Know When My Baby is Ready to Try Solid Foods?
Good signs your baby is ready to try solid foods include:
- Sitting upright with support
- Good head control
- Showing interest in your food
How Do I Introduce Solid Foods?
You can offer solid foods on a spoon first. This way, you can see which tastes and textures your baby likes. You can also tell when your baby is full or if they do not like a certain food.
How Much Food Should My Baby Eat Between 4-6 Months?
Babies should still get most of their calories from formula or breast milk. They should only get a couple tablespoons of solid food 2-3 times a day.
When Can My Baby Start Eating Finger Foods?
Most babies start to eat finger foods when they develop a pincer grasp (can hold food between their first finger and thumb). This usually happens between 7-10 months of age.
Good finger foods include diced ripe fruits and vegetables, such as avocado, peach and pear. There are no right or wrong food textures to introduce to your baby as long as your baby is able to safely chew the food (not at risk of choking) and they are enjoying the experience.
What Should My Baby's Daily Diet Include After Starting Pureed Foods?
The best diet for children at all ages is a variety of whole foods. Whole foods are foods that are as close to their original form as possible. This includes chicken breasts, apples, carrots and other fresh foods. Avoid juice, sugary or sweetened drinks and pre-packaged foods that have added sugar and salt.
My Baby Does Not Like a Certain Food. How Can I Help?
Babies might need to try foods almost 20 different times before they like them. Keep offering foods to your baby. Taste buds change as we grow and develop. Your baby might dislike something today but they may love it tomorrow.
Does My Baby Need to Drink Water?
Babies get enough water from breast milk and formula. They do not need extra water until after 1 year of age. You can give your baby 1-2 oz. (ounces) of water around 9 months of age. This can help them learn how to use a sippy cup.
How Can I Help My Baby Be Less Picky?
Here are tips on how to help your baby learn to be less picky with food:
- Offer your baby many different flavors and textures early on and show them you eating those foods.
- Offer your baby foods you like to eat.
- Let your baby feed themselves. This lets them explore and play with the food when they are ready. Do not be afraid to let them get dirty. Even touching or smelling new foods is a step in the right direction.
What Should I Do If I Am Concerned About My Baby's Feeding?
If you are concerned your baby has a feeding issue, talk to your pediatrician. Our team at the Center for Feeding and Nutrition would be happy to help!
What Are Signs of a Food Allergy?
Common signs of a food allergy include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Anaphylaxis (a serious allergic reaction that causes trouble breathing, swelling of the face or body, rash, diarrhea or vomiting). If your baby shows signs of anaphylaxis, call 911 right away.
When Can I Introduce Fish, Peanut Butter and Eggs?
Research has shown that introducing foods like fish, peanut butter and eggs helps lower your baby’s risk of becoming allergic to these foods. Introduce these foods any time after your baby is 4- 6 months of age in forms that they can handle.
Are There Certain Foods My Baby Should Not Eat?
Yes. Your baby should not eat the following foods before 1 year of age:
- Honey. Honey can cause botulism in infants (a disease that weakens and paralyzes, or stiffens, the muscles).
- Whole milk and dairy foods made with whole milk, such as yogurt or cheese. Whole milk affects how well your baby’s body absorbs iron. This can lead to iron deficiency (low iron levels) and anemia (very low iron levels).
- Foods that your baby can choke on. This includes hot dogs, grapes, popcorn and whole nuts. After 1 year of age, cut these foods into fingernail-sized pieces before serving to your child.
Rev. 1/2019. Mass General for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.