The first year of development is an exciting time for a new baby. There’s so much to see, do, and taste! It is fun to help our children explore their environment by introducing new textures and tastes into their world. However, there are a few general guidelines that can help you and your baby during this time of exploration.
Birth to 4 months
Baby should be enjoying only breast milk or formula at this time. His or her gastrointestinal system is still developing. So, no solid food, juice, or water.
4 to 6 months
Bring on some soft solids! If your baby has started holding their head steady, sitting up, and closing their mouth around a spoon, they may be ready for cereal and pureed foods. Start out simple with sweet potatoes, squash, bananas, or pears. You can also add rice cereal to their formula or breast milk.
6 to 8 months
Expand the horizons of soft, solid foods. You can now add strained fruits and vegetables and pureed meat or tofu on top of the soft solids your little one has been enjoying. While variety is great, be sure to introduce each food one at a time. Space them apart by three days or so in order to help gauge possible allergic reactions.
8 to 12 months
Add finger foods! Now is the time to start placing small pieces of ripe fruit, teething crackers, O-shaped cereal, yogurt, and cooked beans with soft skins in front of your baby. Allow them to experiment with picking up the food and transferring it to their mouth.
If you have any questions or concerns about which foods to introduce to your baby and when, be sure to discuss them with your doctor. He or she will be able to guide your choices based on your baby’s individual needs and your personal preferences.