How to Introduce Solids to a Baby (From 4 to 12 Months)
Food is one of life’s great joys, and you want to share that with your child—but when? As you think about introducing solids into your babe’s repertoire, you should discuss it with your pediatrician, but here’s a general guide to when your little guy or gal can start experiencing some of the world’s culinary wonders. Well, if you can call pureed carrots a culinary wonder.
Birth to 4 Months
Variety may be the spice of life, but not for newborns. From birth until four months, stick to breast milk or formula, with the promise of some more flavor a few months down the line.
4 to 6 Months
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, your child is ready to try solid foods when she can hold her head up and sit upright in a highchair, weighs at least 13 pounds, can close her mouth around a spoon and can move food from the front to the back of her mouth. If your little one checks off those boxes, it’s time to start introducing pureed vegetables (like sweet potatoes or squash), pureed fruit (like apples or bananas), pureed meat (like chicken or beef), semi-liquid cereal and small amounts of unsweetened yogurt (though you should avoid cow’s milk until 12 months), in addition to breast milk or formula.
6 to 8 Months
All of the above, plus some more pureed or strained veggies and fruits (pears, applesauce, avocado and well-cooked carrots), pureed tofu, pureed legumes (like black beans, chickpeas, edamame and lentils) and iron-fortified cereals (like oats and barley). This is also a good time to start introducing small amounts of peanut butter or foods that contain finely ground peanuts. (A study at King's College in London determined that early introduction could prevent peanut allergies later in life.) Plus, again, breast milk or formula.
8 to 10 Months
Now you can add small amounts of soft, pasteurized cheese and cottage cheese, chunkier mashed vegetables (like cooked carrots, squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes), finger foods (like small bits of scrambled eggs, well-cooked potatoes, well-cooked spiral pasta, teething crackers and small pieces of bagel) and protein (small pieces of meat, poultry, boneless fish, tofu and well-cooked beans).
10 to 12 Months
The above, plus fruit mashed or cut into cubes or strips; small, soft-cooked vegetables (like peas and carrots); and food combinations (like macaroni and cheese or casseroles).