Starting Solids

WHEN TO START?
The AAP recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed until six months of age. If you choose to start complementary foods between 4 and 6 months, it’s not meant to be the main source of your baby’s nutrition. Breast milk/formula are still the main “food”.

AMOUNTS PER AGE, SERVING SIZES, FOOD TYPES

  • 4-6 months
    • 32-40oz liquid nutrition 5-6 times a day
    • Cereal (Optional)
    • Fruits/vegetables (Optional)
    • 0-1 feeding a day
    • Serving: 2-4 Tbsp/1-2 oz
    • 1-2 items at each meal
    • Pureed foods
    • Solids per day: 0-4 oz
  • 6-9 months
    • 28-36oz liquid nutrition 4-5 times a day
    • Cereal, Fruit, Vegetable, Meat, Grains, Dairy
    • 1-3 feedings a day
    • Serving: 2-4 Tbsp/1-2oz
    • 2-3 items at each meal or a whole Stage 2 jar
    • More textures
    • Solids per day: 6-14oz
  • 9-12 months
    • 20-30 oz liquid nutrition, 3-4 times a day
    • All above plus table foods
    • 3 meals/day
    • Serving: 3-4 Tbsp/2 oz
    • 3 items at each meal or a Stage 3 jar
    • Bite size pieces
    • Solids per day: 10-18 oz

STAGE 1: First solid foods. Only contain single ingredients like squash peaches, apples, cereals. Usually 2 ounce jars.

STAGE 2: Chunkier textures and some combos of “Stage 1 foods”. Usually 4 ounce jars.

STAGE 3: Combo meals that are very textured. Come in 5-6 ounce jars and usually contain meats.

FINGER FOODS: Foods that baby can pick up and eat himself. Usually small bits cheerios, ground meat, fruits.

TABLE FOODS: Foods that adults eat.

WHAT TO START WITH?
Depends on when you start. If starting around 4 months, then foods that are the least allergic are usually the best (“Stage 1 Foods”). If you wait until 6 months, then anything goes as long as your baby can handle the texture.

Most babies need iron and zinc by the time they are 6 months, so the first foods should reflect these needs. Options include meat and/ or infant cereals.

HOW DO I START?
If you start with rice cereal, mix it with either expressed breast milk or formula. Make sure you check to see if formula is already added to the brand you choose! If your baby has a cow’s milk allergy this can be a problem. Make it very watery about two tablespoons. Offer the cereal to the baby as a snack after breastfeeding or bottle.  Some babies will eat too much of the watery rice cereal if they are really hungry.  Start with one feeding a day for 3-4 days.  Stick to rice cereal before 6 months of age. If baby is over 6 months, other grains like oatmeal and barley are an option.  Remember that rice cereal has no fiber and if your baby eats a lot of it, he may become constipated.

SHOULD I MAKE MY OWN BABY FOOD?
Yes! You will need a baby food grinder or food processor.  You can use herbs and spices, but limit the salt content.  Use the food stage guide for amount/types and textures of foods to make.

WHAT FOODS ARE MORE LIKELY TO CAUSE FOOD ALLERGIES?

  • Peanuts
  • Egg Whites
  • Shellfish/Fish
  • Tree nuts
  • Wheat
  • Cow’s Milk
  • Soy
  • Citrus fruits/berries
  • Cocoa
  • Sesame seeds

If your family has NO history of food allergies, the AAP’s latest food recommendations say that it is okay to introduce allergy causing foods to babies as young as 6 months. If your family does have food allergies, speak with your doctor about when to offer these foods.

Make sure you only offer one new food every 3-4 days so you can figure out if there is a problem with a food. Your baby may be experiencing an allergic reaction if they have any of the following symptoms: a rash, profuse vomiting and/or horrible diarrhea.  Most reactions occur within 4 hours of ingestion of the allergy causing food.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD MY BABY NOT EAT?
Honey

Choking Hazards:

  • Raw carrots
  • Celery
  • Popcorn
  • potato chips
  • nuts
  • hard candy
  • hard meats
  • fruits with seeds
  • raisins
  • hotdogs
  • grapes (unless cut up well)