Breast milk or formula is the only food your newborn needs. However, by ages 4 months to 6 months, most babies are ready to begin eating solid foods as a complement to breast-feeding or formula-feeding. It’s during this time that babies typically stop using their tongues to push food out of their mouths and begin to develop the coordination to move solid food from the front of the mouth to the back for swallowing.
In addition to age, look for other signs that your baby is ready for solid foods. For example:
- Can your baby hold his or her head in a steady, upright position?
- Can your baby sit with support?
- Is your baby mouthing his or her hands or toys?
- Is your baby interested in what you’re eating?
If you answer yes to these questions and you have the OK from your baby’s doctor, you can begin supplementing your baby’s liquid diet.
What to serve when
Continue feeding your baby breast milk or formula as usual. Then:
- Start with baby cereal. Mix 1 tablespoon of a single-grain, iron-fortified baby cereal with 4 tablespoons of breast milk or formula. Even if the cereal barely thickens the liquid, resist the temptation to serve it from a bottle. Instead, help your baby sit upright and offer the cereal with a small spoon once or twice a day. Once your baby gets the hang of swallowing runny cereal, mix it with less liquid and gradually increase the amount you offer.
- Add pureed meat, vegetables and fruits. Once your baby masters cereal, gradually introduce pureed meat, vegetables and fruits. Offer single-ingredient foods that contain no sugar or salt, and wait three to five days between each new food. If your baby has a reaction to a particular food — such as diarrhea, rash or vomiting — you’ll know the culprit. After introducing your baby to a variety of single-ingredient foods, you can begin to offer them in combination.
- Offer finely chopped finger foods. By ages 8 months to 10 months, most babies can handle small portions of finely chopped finger foods, such as soft fruits, vegetables, pasta, cheese, well-cooked meat, baby crackers and dry cereal. As your baby approaches his or her first birthday, you might offer your baby three meals a day — as well as snacks — with mashed or chopped versions of whatever the rest of the family is eating.
Original article by Mayo Clinic. Read it here.