5 - 6 Months

First solid foods for your baby

Mother feeding their child

Around 6 months, most babies are ready to start solid foods. This early stage is about learning how to eat and enjoy new tastes and textures. Until age 1, most of your baby’s nutrition will still come from breast milk and/or formula.

No matter what feeding method you choose—traditional purees, baby-led weaning, or a mix of both—here are some tips to help you get started. Need more advice? Check out our expert course “Food Before 1.”

Is your baby ready for solids?

Each baby advances at their own pace, so it’s okay to wait a week or two to make sure they’re ready. Even at 6 months, it’s important to watch for signs of solid food readiness in your baby, which may include: 

  1. Sitting up with good head control
  2. Watching you intently while you eat or drink
  3. Bringing objects to their mouth
  4. Leaning forward or opening their mouth when offered food

If your baby isn’t showing these signs by 7 months, it’s a good idea to talk to their pediatrician.

7 tips for introducing solids

Time it right. Wait about 30 to 60 minutes after nursing or formula feeding before serving solid food. Offer solids when your baby is well-rested and neither too hungry nor too full. 

Once a day is okay. For the first couple of months, aim to offer solids 2 to 3 times a day, but let your baby’s interest and hunger dictate when, what, and how much they eat. It may take a week or two for your baby to get comfortable with the process, so be flexible—it’s okay if they only eat solid foods once a day in the beginning. Around their first birthday, you can transition to a more structured meal and snack schedule.

Let them determine the quantity. At this stage, 1 to 2 spoonfuls of food is all your child may eat at each feeding session. Your baby should decide how much they eat. 

Watch their posture. To reduce the risk of choking, be sure your baby is sitting upright, not leaning backward or slumping forward.

(Un)dress for the occasion. Use a bib or strip your baby down to their diaper. Have a few washcloths or napkins ready to wipe up any spills or messes. If they are baby-led weaning, a drop cloth on the floor can be helpful.

Don’t force it. If the process of introducing solids gets frustrating, your baby may be giving you a sign that they’re not interested right now. If they cry, look away, or refuse to take a bite, stop and try again another time. 

Give your baby a spoon. Introducing a baby-size spoon promotes independence, motor skills, and more.

What foods are best to start with?

While new parents were once advised to start with rice cereal, there’s no scientific reason you need to start that way. These days, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) acknowledges a range of options:  

Foods mixed with breast milk or formula Use breast milk, formula, broth, or water to create an almost liquid consistency of pureed fruits, vegetables, and meats. 

Soft finger foods You can also introduce soft foods sliced into thick strips or sticks your baby can hold and chew from the top down. All foods should be soft enough for you to mash easily with a fork. A banana or well cooked apple or sweet potato are all great options. 

Iron-rich foods Exclusively or primarily breastfed babies in particular need external sources of iron at around 6 months of age. Even if you are following baby-led weaning, you may want to consider including iron-rich foods including pureed spinach and meat or iron-fortified baby cereals. Studies show that including foods rich in vitamin C, like strawberries, broccoli, and potatoes, support iron absorption. You can also talk to your baby’s pediatrician about an iron supplement. 

Safety considerations when introducing solids

  1. Consult your baby’s doctor if there’s a family history of food allergies and/or your baby has moderate to severe eczema.
  2. If your baby doesn’t have severe eczema and there’s no family history of food allergies, introduce common allergens early and often to prevent food allergies. Common allergens include peanuts, fish, shellfish, eggs, sesame, soy, and wheat. Allergens should be offered one by one, waiting 3 to 5 days between each. Most reactions—like rash, vomiting, and diarrhea—will occur within 24 hours of exposure.
  3. Stay close and offer support as needed. As your baby learns to eat, they may cough, sputter, and spit up food that they can’t handle. 
  4. Know the difference between gagging and choking. Choking occurs when a piece of food gets stuck in the throat or windpipe and the airway becomes blocked. If a baby is choking, they won’t make any sounds and their face or lips may turn blue. As a precaution, experts recommend learning the infant Heimlich maneuver, regardless of what feeding method that you use.


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Posted in: 5 - 6 Months, 7 - 8 Months, Eating and Drinking, Feeding, Baby Care, Health, Lovevery App, Child Development

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