After months on a milk-only diet, your baby is almost ready to start trying solid food! It’s an exciting, sometimes confusing time. Here’s how to know when it’s time, what to do, and when.
Step 1: Look for signs
You may notice that your baby seems very interested in what you or other people around him / her are eating. He or she has started sitting up without help, and is no longer spitting up.
Step 2: Talk with your doctor
He or she will know when to start and what foods to try first.
Step 3: Start small
First meals may only be a tablespoon or two of food. Common starter foods are infant cereals made of whole grains like rice, oatmeal or barley, or pureed single fruits or vegetables like sweet potato, carrot or apple. The food should be pureed without any chunks in it. Place a very small amount of food on the very front part of an infant spoon and slowly put the spoon up to baby’s mouth. Make sure baby doesn’t put too much of the spoon in his or her mouth, this could cause choking!
Step 4: Go slow
Wait a few days after starting your baby on a new food before trying another one. That way, you can make sure baby isn’t allergic to the food. (Signs of allergy include vomiting, diarrhea or other stomach problems, rashes, or trouble breathing.)
Step 5: Know what to avoid
If you’ve dipped your baby’s spoon back in the container, throw out the food when you’re done. Skip any foods that are chunky or will make your baby have to chew. Cow’s milk food, like yogurt or cheese, may be harder to digest in the first few months of eating, so talk with your provider about the best time to try those. Finally, eating honey can cause infant botulism—a rare but serious disease—so hold off on any food containing honey until baby turns one.
Step 6: Enjoy!
Watching baby explore new flavors and foods is as great way to bond and to make family mealtime fun.