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The rate of development is different for everyone. Many children are ready to start trying solid foods when they have at least doubled their weight since birth — typically between 4-6 months of age. This is when a baby should have developed the enzymes needed for proper digestion.
A few ways to determine if your child is ready for solids include:
- Holds their head up on their own
- Ability to sit up without assistance
- Shows an interest in your food
- Opens their mouth when food comes near
- Can move the food from a spoon to their throat with their tongue
What type of food should you start with for babies?
Single-grain baby cereals are a popular first food, but you can start with vegetables or fruit as well. The order does not matter. What’s important is that the food is soft enough to be broken down with a baby’s gums and not a choking hazard. This is why purees and cereals are a good starting point. Just be sure they are blended until smooth and runny enough to go down easy.
When can your baby try other solid foods?
It’s recommended to start with just one food at a time. Allow your child to have just one solid food for 3-5 days before adding a new one to their diet. This allows you to be able to monitor how they react to the food, if they can tolerate it, and ensure they are not allergic. If your child experiences diarrhea, rash, or vomiting, stop feeding that food to your child and consult with your doctor.
How to feed solids to a baby?
Starting with a teaspoon or less is recommended. If they’re not interested, you can try adding in a little bit of breast milk or formula. In the beginning, most of the food will likely end up on your baby’s face, in the chair or on the floor. Don’t get frustrated. Pay attention to your child’s cues — don’t force it. Talk to your baby, stay positive, make it fun and eventually day-by-day they will gradually get more in their mouth and even swallow.
We say this often, but family mealtime is so important for children and their development. This is where they learn from you, process what you’re doing, pick up on your eating habits and create their own.
If you have any questions about your child’s nutrition or concerns about what food they should be eating, call Children’s Medical Center. Our number one focus is your child’s health.