Feeding Solid Foods to Infants
Baby's First Foods
The first foods recommended for your baby are those that are easily digested and least likely to trigger an allergic reaction. The very first food often recommended is iron-enriched baby rice cereal.
Rice cereal is one of the three single-grain cereals widely available. These cereals provide extra calories, along with iron. Infant cereals are prepared by mixing them with formula, breast milk, or water. The consistency should start out thin. It can thicken over time.
Offer the cereal at the end of breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Use a spoon to feed your infant the cereal in small (teaspoon-size) bites. You can start with two to three teaspoons of cereal at four to six months of age. Gradually increase the amount of cereal per day. At six months to eight months, your infant should be eating one to four tablespoons of cereal twice a day.
Feeding cereal from a bottle is usually not recommended, unless your infant has GERD (see Infant GERD).
Rice cereal is best to start with because it is so easy to digest and almost never causes an allergic reaction. After your baby has conquered the rice cereal, you can begin offering oatmeal and barley cereal.
Beyond the Grains: Pureed Foods
Once your baby has tried each of the grain cereals and is ready to try something new, a variety of pureed foods can be gradually added. This includes protein foods, fruits, and vegetables.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting with pureed meats (along with cereal) before progressing to vegetables and fruits.
You should start with one or two tablespoons a day of pureed meats. Once cereals and pureed meats have been added to the menu and accepted, it is time to start adding pureed fruits and vegetables.
There are several pureed fruits and veggies that are typically suggested as great starting points. These include:
- Green beans
- Mashed bananas.
These are all great sources of nutrition, and babies tend to love the new flavors that they offer.