Feeding Solid Foods to Infants

When feeding your infant solid foods, it's important to start with single-ingredient foods, make sure the foods have no additives, and introduce one new food at a time. There are many choices of solid foods, including iron-enriched baby rice cereal, pureed fruits and vegetables, and pureed foods mixed with small pieces of meat (after eight months of age).

Introducing Solid Foods to Infants

Your child may be showing signs of wanting solid foods. Your child's healthcare provider might have given you the go-ahead. But if this is your first time feeding your child solids, you might have a lot of questions.
 
In this article, we hope to address most of them, including:
 
  • Tips for starting solids
  • Which foods and liquids you should introduce first
  • What complementary baby foods and liquids should then be added
  • What foods should be avoided.
     
If you are wondering whether or not your child is ready for solid foods, click on Starting Solid Foods. That article will give you information regarding signs that your child is ready to start solids. You can also click on Infant Feeding Schedule to see a chart of when certain foods should be started and the types of foods.
 

Tips on How to Start Solid Foods in Babies

When it is time to start giving your baby his or her first solid foods, it can be exciting, fun, and quite messy. Here are some tips that you should follow when starting solid foods:
 
  • Start with single-ingredient foods.
     
  • Start with cereals and finely pureed foods (meats first, then fruits and vegetables).
     
  • Make sure foods have no additives, including salt or sugar. Commercial baby food often has vitamin C added, which is okay.
     
  • Give your baby one new food at a time. The idea behind feeding your baby one food at a time is if they have a reaction, you will know with reasonable certainty which food caused that reaction.
Signs of an allergic reaction to food in infants include hives, diarrhea, rash, coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, or pale skin. Make sure to contact your healthcare provider if any of these symptoms occur.
  • With each new food that you introduce, offer your baby that food for three to five days in a row before starting another new food. After each new food is introduced, watch your baby for any allergic reactions or food intolerances. If any of these occur, stop feeding your baby that new food and consult a healthcare provider for the next steps.
     
  • With the introduction of each new food, a good rule of thumb is to introduce that new food in the morning, so that you have the entire day to observe for reactions to the food; daytime is much better than being awakened in the middle of the night.
     
  • Do not offer mixed-ingredient foods until you are sure that your baby isn't allergic to or has a food intolerance to any of the individual ingredients.
     
  • At least one feeding per day should have a food or liquid high in vitamin C.
     
  • Continue to breastfeed or bottle feed. As you introduce solid foods, bottle-fed babies should consume no more than 28 to 32 ounces of formula a day. Breastfed babies can continue to nurse on demand.
     
  • If at first you don't succeed -- when you try new foods, don't be surprised if your baby doesn't like it the first time; try again the next day, and the next. These foods are new textures and flavors, and it may take a few times to get used to them. In fact, research has shown that it may take up to 15 times of an infant being exposed to a food before they accept it.
     
  • In the beginning, the goal of introducing foods is less about how much is eaten and more about exposing your infant to a variety of textures and flavors.
A Dose of Reassurance for Parents of Picky Eaters

Guide To Feeding Infants

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