Health Library

Food, Introduction to Solids

Introduction to Solid Foods

The introduction of solid foods usually starts at 6 months of age. Check with your baby's pediatrician for their recommendation on when to introduce solid foods to your baby's diet.

General Guide

Introduce one single-ingredient food at a time. Wait three to five days before introducing another new food, to make sure your baby doesn't have an unhealthy reaction to a food. Only use a spoon to give food. Never mix infant foods in the baby's bottle. Use of an infant "feeder" is not recommended because baby won't develop proper feeding skills.

 Typical Portion Sizes and Daily Intake for Infants

Age (months)

Food (Portion Size)

Feedings Per Day

0-4

  • Breast milk or infant formula (2-4 ounces)

8-12

4-6

  • Breast milk or infant formula (6-8 ounces)

4-6

6-8

  • Breast milk or infant formula (6-8 ounces)
  • Infant cereal (2-4 Tablespoons)
  • Crackers (2), bread (½ slice)
  • Fruit or vegetable (2-3 Tablespoons)
  • Meat (1-2 Tablespoons) or beans (1-2 Tablespoons)

3-5
2
1
1-2
1-2

8-12

  • Breast milk or infant formula (6-8 ounces)
  • Cheese (½ ounce) or yogurt (½ cup)
  • Infant cereal (2-4 Tablespoons), bread (½ slice), crackers (2), or pasta (3-4 Tablespoons)
  • Fruit or vegetable (3-4 Tablespoons)
  • Meat (3-4 Tablespoons) or beans (¼ cup)

3-4
1
2

2-3
2

The following foods are not recommended for infants because of the risk of choking:

  • Popcorn
  • Peanuts
  • Raisins, whole grapes
  • Uncut, stringy meats
  • Hot dog pieces
  • Hard, raw fruits or vegetables such as apples, green beans
  • Sticky foods such as peanut butter, which can get stuck in the back of mouth
  • Any other pieces of food that the infant cannot chew because they do not have advanced chewing skills yet. Unchewed food can block the airway, because babies cannot cough and clear their throats on their own.

Other General Feeding Guidelines:

  • Milks other than those just for infants—such as cow's, goat, rice, or soy milk—are not appropriate before 1 year of age. Avoid rice milk before the age of 4 years.
  • Do not give honey until 1 year of age because of the risk of botulism.
  • Avoid juice before 1 year  of age. When introduced, only give juice (100% only) in a cup, not a bottle, and limited to 4 ounces per day.
  • Sugar-containing foods and drinks and foods with added salt are not recommended for infants.
  • In store-bought baby foods, avoid fillers such as modified food starch or tapioca. Baby food desserts are not recommended because they have added sugar.

Cereals (4-6 months)

  • Use the dry form of cereal from the box rather than from the jar.
  • Use single cereals rather than mixed cereals.
  • Begin using rice cereal (rather than barley, oatmeal or corn). Start by using two teaspoonfuls twice a day and slowly increase the quantity up to a maximum of 12 teaspoonfuls.
  • Feed cereal only from a spoon. Never mix cereal in baby's bottle.

Vegetables (4-6 months): Add before Fruits

  • Feed vegetables only from a spoon. Never mix vegetables in baby's bottle. Use of an infant "feeder" is not recommended because baby won't develop proper feeding skills.
  • Introduce vegetables about two to three weeks after starting cereals.
  • Introduce only one vegetable at a time (again using single vegetable servings before mixed vegetables).
  • Suggested vegetables to begin with are squash, sweet potato, green beans or carrots.

Fruits (4-6 months)

  • Feed fruits only from a spoon. Never mix fruits in baby's bottle. Use of an infant "feeder" is not recommended because baby won't develop proper feeding skills.
  • About two to three weeks after your baby has started vegetables, a single fruit may be added. Start with pears, applesauce, bananas or peaches.

Meats (8-9 months)

  • A meat and vegetable mix may be used instead of a single vegetable.
  • Begin with chicken or turkey and vegetable, then add other kinds.
  • Do not use dinners. They contain very little meat and much starch.

Eggs (8-9 months)

  • Egg yolks and whites may be introduced at this age.

Table Foods (8-12 months)

  • Table foods should be given while the child is sitting at the table with the family.
  • If table food is started too early, the child may not be able to chew it well and might choke.
  • Offer soft bland foods at first. Good choices are mashed potatoes, noodles, rice, soft vegetables.
  • Cut or mash foods into bite-sized pieces appropriate for child's age.

Things to avoid because of choking risk are:

    • Peanuts or nuts
    • Popcorn
    • Whole grapes
    • Hot dogs
    • Raisins

Last Updated 09/2021

Reviewed By Rohan Klare, Registered Dietician

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