Our baby is only three months old, but we’ve already been talking about when we’ll start solids. She’s often at the table with us, so it seems natural to have her start sharing our meals. But I also know that despite our excitement about this milestone and our eagerness to let her start tasting food, it’s better to wait until she’s older and actually ready.
The Department of Health recommends introducing babies to solids when they are 6 months of age and definitely not before 4 months of age (consult your doctor about the best feeding scheduled for your baby). In addition to age, there are other signs of readiness for solid foods, including these outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- Your baby can hold up her head.
- He’s sitting up on his own with minimal propping.
- She’s showing an interest in eating.
- He’s able to open his mouth to receive food.
- She’s able to turn her head away when finished eating.
- He’s able to clear a spoon of food.
- She no longer spits a spoonful of thin baby food right out of her mouth.
Once your baby shows these signs of readiness, Jill Castle, a registered dietitian and childhood nutrition expert, recommends offering him food once a day, to start, and at regular mealtimes to establish a routine. Castle suggests starting with iron-fortified cereals mixed with breast milk or formula, cooked and mashed sweet potato blended with breast milk or formula until very smooth and thin, and mashed avocado. Remember to introduce your baby to one new food at a time, two to three days apart, so that you can watch for any signs of a food allergy.
If your baby isn’t interested in solid food right away, don’t worry about it. “It can take several months for your baby to want to eat solid foods, and she may go through many phases of interest and disinterest,” says Carley Mendes, holistic nutritionist and author of Baby Knows Best, An Intro to First Foods. And it’s important to remember that these early eating experiences from the ages of 6 months to one year are more about exposure than anything else. “There’s no rush—breast milk or formula remains the primary source of nutrition until age 1,” she adds.
Try these puree recipes when your baby is ready:
- Roasted Banana and Pear Puree for Baby
- Orange and Carrot Puree for Baby
- Roasted Fennel and Carrot Puree