When babies graduate to solid foods
Look for healthy options as you expand your baby’s diet
One of the milestones in a child’s life is graduating to solid foods. But how do you know if your little one is ready? And what foods should they be eating? Here’s what you need to know.
Ready for solid foods?
The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) says each child’s readiness for solid foods depends on his or her rate of development. To determine if your baby is ready, ask yourself:
- Can your baby hold his or her head up with good control?
- Does he or she open his or her mouth when you offer food?
- Can he or she move food from a spoon into the back of the mouth to enable swallowing?
Most children are ready for solid foods when they can accomplish these tasks and have doubled their birth weight. This generally occurs by six months of age, but consult your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns.
One food at a time
Parents typically start by introducing soft and pureed foods, expanding their child’s diet gradually. The AAP recommends giving one new food at a time and waiting a couple of days before adding another. If any allergic reactions occur, such as diarrhea, rash or vomiting, stop the new food and talk with your pediatrician.
Within a few months of introducing solid and pureed foods, a baby’s diet should include a variety of foods, such as:
- Breast milk and/or formula
- Fruits and vegetables
- Finger food ideas
Once your child can sit up and bring hands and objects to mouth, you can offer finger foods. Make sure food is cut into small pieces and easy to swallow. A good option is breakfast cereal. Post brand Sesame Street Cereal is among cereals specifically formulated to melt in your child’s mouth for safe consumption. Learn more at postfoods.com.
When purchasing finger foods, make sure you’re providing nutrients toddlers need. “I always focus on nutritional benefits when buying foods for my two little ones,” says Dr. Roshini Raj, a physician. “Specifically, check for whole grains and fortification of nutrients like choline, iron and zinc that help with brain development.”
Other ideas include:
- Banana, peach, plum and avocado pieces
- Small pieces of cucumber
- Cooked and mashed sweet potato, squash and peas
- Scrambled eggs
- Cooked elbow pasta with marinara sauce
- Cooked and finely chopped chicken or fish