When can my baby begin solid foods?

What food will be on the menu for your baby’s first solid meal? Fruit, vegetables, meat, cereal? Do you know when to start solid foods?

At this point, you may have a plan or are confused because you have received too much advice from family and friends with different opinions.

Here are some helpful tips from American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Pediatrician David Hill, MD, FAAP on starting your baby on solid foods. Remember that each child’s readiness depends on his own rate of development.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • Can he hold his head up? Your baby should be able to sit in a high chair, a feeding seat, or an infant seat with good head control.
  • Does he open his mouth when food comes his way? Babies may be ready if they watch you eating, reach for your food, and seem eager to be fed.
  • Can he move food from a spoon into his throat? If you offer a spoon of rice cereal, he pushes it out of his mouth, and it dribbles onto his chin, he may not have the ability to move it to the back of his mouth to swallow it. That’s normal. Remember, he’s never had anything thicker than breast milk or formula before, and this may take some getting used to. Try diluting it the first few times; then, gradually thicken the texture. You may also want to wait a week or two and try again.

The AAP recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months. When you add solid foods to your baby’s diet, continue breastfeeding until at least 12 months. You can continue to breastfeed after 12 months if you and your baby desire. Check with your child’s doctor about the recommendations for vitamin D and iron supplements during the first year.

For more information on the following topics check out the full AAP article on Starting Solid Foods:

  • How do I feed my baby?
  • Which food should I give my baby first?
  • When can my baby try other food?
  • When can I give my baby finger foods?
  • What changes can I expect after my baby starts solids?
  • Should I give my baby juice?
  • Does my baby need water?
  • Good eating habits start early

Source: Starting Solid Foods Copyright © American Academy of Pediatrics updated 1/16/2018

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.