Infant feeding tips: Introducing solid foods
Explore suggestions for the best way to introduce solid foods into your baby’s diet.
A lot of parents become anxious to start feeding their infant solids – it’s an exciting time. Trying new foods and seeing the different faces your baby makes can be fun and sometimes entertaining. Keep in mind that there are some basic guidelines for starting your infant on solids. Start out by trying rice cereal and only rice cereal for a week or so. By trying only one new food at a time it makes it much easier to determine why your baby had some kind of reaction (vomiting, diarrhea or a rash), if it does occur.
A single-grain cereal made for babies and iron-fortified mixed with breast milk, formula or water is a great start! Once your baby learns to eat one type of food, you can start to introduce other foods. There is no medical evidence that proves introducing food to your infant in any particular order is better than another. Some parents will introduce vegetables after cereal and then fruit. Again, there is no evidence proving that your baby will develop a dislike for vegetables if your introduce fruit first.
Keep these things in mind before you start feeding your infant solids:
- Always consult with your pediatrician or physician.
- Your baby should be able to hold his own head up while sitting up in a high chair; be sure to invest in an infant seat with good head control.
- Your baby should be able to push food from his mouth to his throat and swallow; when you put a spoon in her mouth and the spoon and food gets pushed out, your baby might not be ready. You can either dilute the cereal with more liquid (breast milk, formula or water) or wait a couple weeks and try again.
- Your baby should have doubled his birth weight, which is usually around 4 months of age (13 lbs.).
Don’t be surprised if most of the food ends up on your infant’s face, bib etc. Talk to your baby saying things like “Yummy!” or “Mmmm!” Your enthusiasm may help keep your baby’s interest in eating.
Keep in mind that this is a new experience for you baby so try not to become frustrated. If your baby becomes frustrated and starts to cry and/or rejects the spoon by turning his head away, do not force your baby to eat. Return to bottle feeding and try again later.
It is important not to put cereal in a bottle because your baby could choke. If she is ready to eat solids, she can certainly eat them from a spoon. Have fun experimenting and always consult with your doctor if you have questions.
For more articles on child development, parenting and life skill development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.