Introducing solids and new foods for the first time to your baby can be a challenge. Where do you start? How much should you offer him? How many days should you wait before giving her something new? Although every baby is different, here are a few guidelines on infant nutrition from the Children’s Home Society of California (©2007).
Good nutrition is very important to your baby’s proper growth and development. This guide will help you make healthy choices about feeding your baby from birth to 12 months of age.
- Feeding time is a learning time for your baby.
- Be patient and attentive to your baby’s needs.
- When bottle-feeding, hold your baby close. Never prop a bottle.
- Never allow your baby to fall asleep with a bottle in his or her mouth. This can promote “baby bottled tooth decay.”
- Feed your baby in a space that is easy to clean up. Getting messy is a normal part of learning to eat.
- Babies do not need desserts such as pudding, custard, and cobbler. Offer fruit for dessert instead.
Introducing New Foods
- Start one new food at a time.
- Wait about five days before giving the next new food to detect possible allergic reactions. Possible allergic reactions to foods include: skin rash, vomiting, respiratory problems, and diarrhea. Foods that commonly cause allergic reactions include: cow’s milk, citrus juice and fruits, egg whites, and wheat products.
- You may need to introduce the same food many different times before your baby accepts it.”
We’ve also included a developmentally appropriate table that includes age guidelines for introducing specific types of foods:
|Age||Developmental Skills||Appropriate Foods|
|Birth to 4 Months||Baby can suck and swallow, but tongue thrust reflex pushes out solid food.||Breast milk and/or iron-fortified formula|
|4-6 Months||Baby can sit unsupported, and tongue thrust reflex is lessened. Talk to your pediatrician to see if your infant should begin to eat solid food.||Breast milk and/or iron-fortified formula, rice cereal, applesauce, strained and pureed bananas and pears|
|6-8 Months||Baby can munch food, and use thumb and index finger to pick up small pieces of foods.||Breast milk and/or iron-fortified formula, teething biscuits, mashed potatoes and avocadoes, strained and pureed peaches, carrots, and squash|
|8-12 Months||Baby can grind food, hold a cup, and self-feeding skills improve.||Breast milk and/or iron-fortified formula, rice cakes, bite-size cheese cubes, soft tortillas, egg yolks, oatmeal, yogurt, tofu, noodles, peas, strained and pureed chicken.|
Remember, it is always best to check with your pediatrician if you ever have concerns about feeding your baby. We advise you to never give an infant under 12 months honey or other sweeteners, such as corn syrup, or foods that contain them. These types of sweeteners can cause a severe reaction or food poisoning.
At Kids’ Care Club, we support your baby’s discovery of first foods by gently encouraging them to try new things. Of course, for their safety, we will always only feed them the food you provide from home. Trying new food for the first time should be a positive experience. We’re here to guide your baby through the process.
You can find more information online at the Mayo Clinic, as well as by downloading this handy e-book from WIC’s website (Women, Infants and Children), a food program designed and funded by the US Government.