Solid Foods: What And When
Cereal and baby foods are not needed until 4 months of age. Until then breast milk and commercial formulas meet all of your baby's nutritional needs. Introducing strained foods earlier just makes feeding more complicated without helping your baby in any way. Research has shown that early solids won't help your baby sleep through the night.
At 4 months, start with rice cereal, which is less likely to cause allergies than other cereals. Barley and oatmeal may be tried 1 or 2 weeks later.
Strained or pureed fruits and vegetables are introduced next. Although the order of foods is not important, introduce only one new food at a time and no more than three per week. If your infant doesn't seem to like the taste of cereals, start with fruits (such as bananas) which are sweeter than cereals. Your goal is to have your infant introduced to the taste of most foods by 8 months old. Meat is offered last because your baby already receives plenty of protein in milk.
Between 8 and 12 months of age, introduce your baby to mashed table foods or junior foods. These are a little thicker than strained foods and require some chewing. If you make your own baby foods in a baby-food grinder or electric blender, be sure to add enough water to get a consistency that your baby can easily swallow.
By 10 months, introduce finger foods. By 12 months of age, your baby should be eating the same meals as you do except for the fact that table foods are carefully chopped up so they are easy to chew.
Although there is some controversy about them, egg whites, wheat, peanut butter, fish, and orange juice may be more likely to cause allergies than other solids and should be avoided until 1 year of age (especially in infants with allergies).
In summary, have your child on your diet by her first birthday. If you have questions about solid foods, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 11/1/2003
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.