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10 Tips for Starting Your Baby on Solid Food

By Amelia Winslow, nutritionist, chef and busy mom. Follow her on her blog Eating Made Easy.

Starting your Baby on Solids

Introducing your baby to solid food is an exciting milestone, as it marks the beginning of his life as a real eater. But with so much information available and so many conflicting recommendations, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or confused.

Rest assured, because despite what people may tell you, it’s hard to go wrong. As long as you follow your baby’s lead and a few basic guidelines, the process will likely be enjoyable and fun (albeit messy!) for both you and your baby.

Here are 10 tips to help make solid feeding a success.

1. Start around 6 months

Though your pediatrician may give you the green light to start solids at your baby’s four-month appointment, research shows – and health experts agree - that waiting until six months is best for your baby’s health. Not only can introducing solids too early can be harmful, but most babies aren’t developmentally or physiologically ready until 6-8 months of age.

2. Start with real, wholesome foods

In the past many parents offered rice cereal as the first food, but this is an outdated recommendation with no real reasoning behind it. Instead, start with whatever fruit or vegetable puree you like. Squash, sweet potato, peas, avocado, and banana are all good choices because they can easily be blended into a smooth puree. But really, as long as you avoid honey and cow’s milk (not recommended for babies under one year), what you offer is up to you.

3. Keep it runny

Since this is the first time your baby will be swallowing something other than milk, the consistency of whatever you offer should be very runny: somewhere in between a liquid and a solid. You can achieve this by mixing a smooth puree with breastmilk or formula. As your baby masters the process of eating from a spoon, you can slowly offer thicker, more textured purees.

4. Begin with one feeding per day

The first few months of solid feeding are about introducing your baby to new flavors, textures, and to the routine of eating food other than milk. So it’s best to start slow – with one feeding per day, at a time when your baby is in a good mood and somewhat hungry but not ravenous. An hour or so after nursing/bottle-feeding, or when your baby is happy and well-rested, are generally good times.

5. Continue to breastfeed or bottle-feed

Nearly all of your baby’s calories and nutrients will still be coming from breastmilk or formula, so don’t taper back on nursing or bottle-feeding just yet. Breastmilk or formula is still the most nutritious food for your baby, and solids won’t become the bulk of your baby’s diet until one year of age or even later.

6. Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t like something

You may feel like freaking out if your baby rejects broccoli, but there’s no need. It can take 10 or more exposures to a food for a baby to begin to like it, so continue to offer foods she doesn’t love right away, perhaps even mixed with other foods she does enjoy. If you’re persistent, most babies will eventually like most foods.

7. Choose organic whenever possible

Buying organic food is one of the best ways to limit your baby’s exposure to toxic, persistent pesticides (as well as to antibiotics, artificial growth hormones and GMOs – none of which are allowed in the production of organic food). Organic food is the purest, most healthful food you can offer your baby, and supporting organic farming also helps to ensure a safer food system for future generations.

8. Taste your baby’s food

Since babies are just tiny versions of adults, they are likely to enjoy what you enjoy! Baby food won’t have the sugar or salt that we’re accustomed to, but the flavor of the food should still taste and smell good to you. If something isn’t appealing to you, odds are it won’t appeal to your baby either.

9. Be flexible

Babies may enjoy a food sometimes and not others, or eat a lot one day and not another – just as is true for adults. When your baby is teething or sick, she may not want to eat any solids at all for a few days (which is fine, as long as she’s continuing to breastfeed or take a bottle). Rather than sticking to a strict feeding schedule, be flexible to meet your baby’s changing moods and needs.

10. Make feedings a positive experience

One of the goals of solid feeding is to help your baby experience food in a positive manner, so he develops a good relationship with food and enjoys eating a wide variety of healthy foods throughout his lifetime. Keep this in mind and adjust whatever factors you need to (your baby’s position, the time of day, the type of food, etc) so as to make feeding time more comfortable for both you and your baby.


For more reliable information on solid feeding, check out these resources:


About the Author

Amelia WinslowAmelia Winslow is a nutritionist, chef and busy mom who believes healthy eating should be simple and enjoyable, not stressful or overwhelming. Her blog Eating Made Easy is at http://eating-made-easy.com/.

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