Infant: Feeding Guidelines
Always follow a recommended diet from your pediatrician to supply a fully balanced diet to meet your baby’s nutritional requirements. Many doctors recommend beginning solids at 6 months. You can use a little common sense to determine the right time for your baby.
When starting your child on solid foods, it is a good idea to introduce one food at time in order to trace the development of food allergies. You should wait 2 to 7 days between new foods to be sure your baby is not allergic. Signs of food allergies can include stomachache, diarrhea, skin rash, wheezing and vomiting.
- When your baby is ready to begin solids, introduce vegetables first to encourage the acceptance of these flavors before introducing the sweeter tastes of fruits.
- Start with 1 tablespoon of a mild tasting vegetable like avocado or sweet potato. Gradually increase the quantity.
- Be patient. When introducing a new fruit or vegetable give your baby at least eight chances before you give up that food. Children often need to try a food several times before they will accept it.
- Try offering new foods when your child is hungry to avoid rejection.
- A soft spoon and plastic dish will make mealtime easier for your baby.
- Stir food well after heating to avoid hot spots. Touch-test the food’s temperature before feeding to your baby.
- Watch for signs that your baby is finished eating like turning his head away or not opening his mouth. When your baby signals the meal is over, it’s over. Do not encourage overeating.
- Once your baby has adjusted to pureed baby food and is showing signs of readiness, you can vary the consistency of the food. Begin with small, soft lumps in the pureed baby food and then move to mashed, ground or chopped foods. Textured and lumpy foods help your baby develop oral skills and muscle tone.
- Try adding new textures with pureed baby foods that your baby already enjoys.
- Around 8-12 months, add soft table foods and finger foods like dried toast, soft fruit pieces and cooked, chopped vegetables.
- Around 8 months, your baby may need additional protein sources like meat and beans.
- Mild spices like vanilla, garlic powder, ginger, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, mint, oregano, basil or lemon zest can add new flavors and interest to your child’s foods. Most pediatricians recommend waiting until your baby is at least 8 months of age to add spices.
Introducing Solid Foods: Suggested Timeline
- 6 Months (or first solid foods)
- Breast milk and/or iron-fortified formula
- Iron fortified single grain infant cereals (rice, oatmeal, barley)
- Ripe Avocados
- Ripe Bananas
- Sweet Potato
- 6-7 Months
- Green Beans
- Sweet Potato
- White Potato
- Yellow Squash
- 8-9 Months
- Collard Greens
- Honeydew Melon
- Cottage cheese, soft cheese, yogurt
- Pureed and well-cooked beans like lentils, black beans
- Mashed and well-cooked meat, fish, tofu, cooked egg yolk
- Finger foods like soft breads, peeled wedges of fruit, cooked vegetable pieces
- 10-12 Months
- Blueberries (pureed, not whole berries)
- Finely grated or mashed raw yellow squash, greens, sweet peppers
- Strips of tender lean meats
- Whole wheat breads, crackers, sugar-free cereals