When to Introduce Foods to Your Baby

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.

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Jennifer Brown is a mama and an MD who enjoys finding fun in the chaos that comes with being a working mommy. Balancing the effort it takes to raise two adorable boys and juggle a thriving medical career, Jennifer also loves baking cookies, taking photos, reading fiction, and drinking coffee.

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