Babies often hit one of their growth spurts at 6 months. Around this time, it may seem that your little one just can't eat enough, and you may be wondering if now is the time to add some solid food. Here are some guidelines for knowing when your baby is ready for solid foods and how to introduce them.
A baby's growth from 5-8 months will allow for many changes in food intake. Breast milk or iron-fortified formula still needs to be the main part of a baby's diet. Solids may be started at this time.
Not Too Soon...
Solids do not help young infants sleep through the night. Starting solids too soon can:
Just the Right Time
To find out if your baby is ready for solid foods, look for these signs:
To help your baby learn to eat solid foods, remember the following:
Other key points:
|Age||Food and Daily Amount|
Breast milk: on demand—Your baby may need an iron supplement (given as drops) until they start getting enough iron from food sources. A vitamin D supplement may be needed, as well.|
Iron-fortified formula: 4-5 feedings of 6-8 ounces each—If your baby is not eating enough vitamin D fortified formula, they may need a supplement.
Infant cereal: 2-4 tablespoons
|starting at 6 months||
Fruits/vegetables: 2-4 tablespoons, twice daily
Breast milk: 3-5 feedings, or on demand
Iron-fortified formula: 3-5 feedings of 6-8 ounces each
Infant cereal: 4-6 tablespoons
Infant juice: 2-4 ounces (from cup only)
Fruits: 1-2 tablespoons
Vegetables: 5-7 tablespoons
Meats: 1-2 tablespoons
Finger foods: One small serving of toast, crackers, teething biscuits, or plain dry cereal
When giving your baby finger foods, watch your baby carefully for choking. Be extremely careful or avoid foods that may increase the chances of choking, like hot dogs, hard candy, grapes, seeds, popcorn, and nuts.
|Fruits and vegetables|
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society
Dietitians of Canada
Baby food and infant formula. Department of Health & Human Services Food Safety website. Available at: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/types/babyfood/index.html. Accessed March 25, 2016.
Feeding guide for the first year. Stanford Children's Health website. Available at: http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=feeding-guide-for-the-first-year-90-P02209. Accessed March 25, 2016.
Fruit juice and your child's diet. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Fruit-Juice-and-Your-Childs-Diet.aspx. Updated November 21, 2015. Accessed March 25, 2016.
Guidelines for feeding healthy infants. USDA WIC Works website. Available at: https://wicworks.fns.usda.gov/wicworks//WIC_Learning_Online/support/job_aids/guide.pdf. Accessed March 25, 2016.
NHLBI integrated guidelines for pediatric cardiovascular risk reduction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 12, 2013. Accessed March 25, 2016.
Starting solid foods. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Switching-To-Solid-Foods.aspx. Updated February 1, 2012. Accessed March 25, 2016.
4/2/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Saki N, Nikakhlagh S, Rahim F, Abshirini H. Foreign body aspirations in infancy: a 20-year experience. Int J Med Sci. 2009;6(6):322-328.
10/12/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Baker R, Greer F, the Committee on Nutrition American Academy of Pediatrics. Diagnosis and prevention of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia in infants and young children (0-3 years of age). Pediatrics. 2010;125(5):1040-1050.
Last reviewed March 2016 by Michael Woods, MD Last Updated: 3/25/2016