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Starting Solids: Step by Step

Learn When Your Baby Should Start
-- By Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietician

Change... Change... Change! Just when you and your baby have the breast or bottle-feeding skills mastered, it's time to move on to solid foods. And the questions start coming again. How much? How often? What kind? Food allergies? Choking concerns? Wouldn't it be nice if your baby came with feeding directions? Do not worry; starting solid foods is just another parenting adventure. By using the following tips and feeding guidelines, you and your infant will be mastering the high chair in no time.

Ready, Set, Go!
Your baby will be on breast milk or infant formula for the first year of life. However, most babies are ready to start solid foods between four and six months of age. But do not rely completely on the calendar. Your baby needs to be physically and developmentally ready for solid foods. There is no need to rush. Solid foods will not help your baby sleep through the night. So never put solid foods into a bottle or feeding device. Solid foods fed too early are hard to digest and can cause food sensitivities or colic. Remember that each baby is special. Your baby's appetite, growth and development will help you and your baby's doctor decide when to start other foods. Watch for these readiness clues.
  • Your baby can sit with little support in a high chair or on your lap. Your baby can control his head movements.
  • Your baby can move food from the front to the back of the mouth. A baby younger than four months does not have enough control of the tongue to handle food fed from a spoon and the food is pushed out of the mouth. As your baby develops, the tongue becomes more coordinated and moves back and forth. This allows your baby to swallow foods from a spoon.
  • Does your baby show an interest in the foods you are eating? As your baby watches you, she is learning. Try some iron-fortified infant rice cereal. If your baby doesn't seem interested, wait a few weeks and try again. Never force your baby to eat solid foods.
  • Has your baby's weight doubled since birth?
4-6 Months

STEP 1: Iron fortified infant cereal

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Member Comments About this Article
"You should not give your baby or any child fruit juice. It's sugar in water, and the acidicness will destroy their baby teeth. This happened to my nephew." -- KNEBLIE05
"You should not give your baby or any child fruit juice. It's sugar in water, and the acidicness will destroy their baby teeth. This happened to my nephew." -- KNEBLIE05
"Giving several ounces of water to a baby will not result in water intoxication or seizures. It is best to talk with your pediatrician before providing a child under the age of one with water to be sure it is necessary and will not interfer with breastmilk, formula or solid intakes." -- TONKA_14
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About The Author
Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. She teaches prenatal classes and counsels individuals, helping women eat right and stay fit before, during and after their pregnancies.
Becky Hand


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