Introducing Solid Foods
Your baby is ready for strained/pureed foods when s/he can do all of these things:
ξ Hold head up and sit with support in an infant seat or high chair.
ξ Put fingers and toys in mouth.
ξ Show interest in food and opens mouth when s/he sees food.
ξ Close lips over spoon and does not push spoon out with tongue.
ξ Keep food in mouth and swallow (some dribbling early on is normal).
ξ Can turn his/her head and mouth away to stop feeding.
ξ Every baby will advance with feedings at their own rate. Don’t worry if s/he refuses a
meal. Avoid making your child clean the plate.
ξ The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until your child is 6 months
of age before introducing solids.
ξ Once your baby learns to eat one food, wait at least 3 days before trying a different food.
This gives you time to notice any allergic reactions such as rashes, diarrhea, or vomiting.
*If your family has food allergies or your baby was born early, talk to your doctor
before adding solid foods to your baby’s diet.
ξ Baby cereal has been the most common 1st food, but experts agree that foods may be
started in any order. Babies who are mainly breast fed will get more of the iron and zinc
they need if their 1st food is baby meat.
ξ Avoid putting baby cereal in a bottle unless directed to do so by your child’s doctor
because of reflux.
ξ Start with a teaspoon and slowly work up to a tablespoon.
http://www.healthychildren.org is sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics and is an
excellent source of information. This is a general timetable for introducing solid foods into
your baby’s diet
Age Food Items Daily Amounts Comments
Birth to 6 months Breast milk and/or
8-12 feedings per day Your baby is not
ready for solid foods
4-6 months Breast milk and/or
iron fortified formula
4-6 feedings per day or
(Most common first
food for formula fed
2-4 tablespoons You may start with
plain rice, oat or
barley cereal mixed
with breast milk or
to give a single grain
First food for breast
milk fed infants
more iron and zinc]
1-2 tablespoons Use plain, strained,
pureed or baby meats.
Do not use “dinners”
as they contain
and avoid meats high
in nitrate and salt such
as wieners, luncheon
meats and bacon.
Fruits and Vegetables 1-2 tablespoons of
vegetables or fruits
Pureed, plain fruits
Do not offer juice
unless told to do so by
6 to 8 months
Breast milk and/or
3-5 feedings or 30—
32oz of formula
You may start
offering some breast
milk or formula in a
cup. Offer the cup to
your baby with all
meals by 8 months.
Vegetables 2-3 tablespoons Offer pureed
vegetables with some
soft, cooked, small
pieces of vegetables
mashed up with a fork
or as finger food.
Fruits 2-3 tablespoons Offer different kinds
of pureed fresh fruits.
Avoid “desserts” and
Meats, egg, beans 1-2 tablespoons Meats may have
introduced if your
baby was breast fed.
or enriched hot
4-6 tablespoons Offer rice, oat, barley
and wheat cereals to
provide variety in
flavor and texture.
Toast, crackers, dry
may be used as finger
foods 1-2 times per
day. Small pieces of
toast or crackers may
*According to the American Academy of Pediatrics there is no evidence that waiting to start soft
foods like peanut butter, eggs, dairy, soy and/or fish prevents a food allergy. HOWEVER, if you
have a strong family history of food allergies, talk to your child’s doctor before introducing these
foods. Avoid giving cow’s milk to drink in place of formula or breast milk until 1 year of age as
it is not a complete source of nutrition. It is fine, however, to offer full fat yogurt, cottage cheese,
or small pieces of cheese as long as there are no food allergies.
ξ Make sure your hands and all bowls, spoons and the high chair are clean.
ξ Spoon the amount of food you think your baby will eat from the baby food container into
a bowl. The original container may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. After 2
days it needs to be thrown away. If you feed your baby from the baby food container, any
food that is left after the feeding is done must be thrown away. Dipping your baby’s
spoon back in the jar after it has been in your baby’s mouth will cause bacteria to grow
and make it unsafe for your baby to eat.
ξ Meal times will be messy. Relax and have fun! Throw an old tablecloth under the
highchair to help with clean up.
ξ Let your baby touch and handle food. Keep a clean rag ready.
ξ If your baby does not like a food, offer it again at a different meal. It may take many
times of trying a food before your baby decides if s/he wants to eat.
ξ Heat food or formula in the microwave because hot spots in the food or formula can burn
your baby’s mouth.
ξ Use honey. Honey may contain bacterial spores which can cause infant botulism and
make your baby sick.
ξ Give your baby sweetened drinks like Kool-Aid, soda pop, punch or juice.
ξ Put your baby to bed with a bottle. This leads to tooth decay.
ξ Feed your baby foods that are high in nitrates/nitrites (beets, turnips, collard greens or
spinach). These foods can make babies less than 6 months of age sick. (The level of
nitrates/nitrites in commercial baby food is checked for safety so this rule only applies to
homemade baby food). Older babies can handle these foods.
9 to 12 months Breast milk or
4-5 feedings or about 22-
32 oz formula
Continue giving a cup
at all meals.
Meats, eggs, beans,
tofu, dairy (cheese,
1/4-1/2 cup with each meal Make sure meats are
soft and cut into small
pieces. Do not offer
Fruits 1/4-1/2 cup at 2 meals Offer fruits that
require some chewing
if your baby chews on
cereal or crackers
well. Offer more
finger foods and less
mashed food. Avoid
Vegetables 1/4-1/2 cup at 2 meals See above
If you would like information on making your own baby food, ask a Registered Dietitian.
Suggestions for finger foods:
ξ Cooked macaroni ξ Dry cereal ξ Soft, peeled diced fruit
ξ Graham crackers ξ Bread sticks ξ Mandarin orange sections
ξ Dry toast pieces ξ Arrowroot
ξ Small pieces of mild
ξ Small pieces of soft, well cooked vegetables
Avoid foods that cause choking:
ξ Nuts, Seeds ξ Hot dogs ξ Candy
ξ Popcorn ξ Grapes ξ Hard Candy
ξ Chips/pretzels ξ Raw vegetables ξ Gum
ξ Crunchy, thick peanut
What is the most important thing you learned from this handout?
What changes will you make in your diet/lifestyle, based on what you learned today?
If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions please contact UW Health at one of the
phone numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition
Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s
Hospital (AFCH) can be reached at: (608) 890-5500.
Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) can be reached at:
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor.
This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because
each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team
when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 9/2017 University of
Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Clinical Nutrition Services
Department and the Department of Nursing. HF#207