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Feeding Your Infant: Ages 5-8 Months

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.

Starting Solids

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:

Tips for Feeding Your Baby Solids

To help your baby learn to eat solid foods, remember the following:

Other key points:

Feeding Schedule: 5-8 Months

AgeFood and Daily Amount
5-6 months 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.
OR
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
7-8 months Breast milk: 3-5 feedings, or on demand
OR
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.

Suggestions When Using Solid Foods

Cereal
  • Start with single-grain cereal such as rice cereal.
  • Wait until your baby is 6 months old to try other kinds of cereal.
  • Start by making the cereal thin—mix one teaspoon of dry cereal with 2-3 tablespoons of breast milk or iron-fortified formula.
  • As baby gets older, make it thicker—mix one tablespoon dry cereal with 2-3 tablespoons of breast milk or iron-fortified formula.
Meat
  • Use plain, strained meats when starting. If meat is too thick, thin with breast milk, iron-fortified formula, or meat juices.
Fruits and vegetables
  • Start with pureed fruits and vegetables.
  • Start with single, plain choices.
  • Don't serve fruit desserts.
Drinks
  • Continue breast milk or iron fortified formula for the first year of life.
  • Do not give juice to children younger than 6 months.
  • Your baby can start to drink water at 6 months or younger if the weather is warm.
  • Have your baby use a cup, not a bottle.
  • Use only 100% juice, not flavored fruit drinks like Kool-aid, punch, or cola.
RESOURCES:

Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
http://www.healthychildren.org

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
http://familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society
http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca

Dietitians of Canada
http://www.dietitians.ca

REFERENCES:

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