There’s no exact time when your baby should begin solid foods. Every baby is different. But moms and dads can look for certain signs (developmental cues) that will help you know that your baby is ready.  In the first 4 months of life, babies only need breastmilk (if they are breastfed) or formula (if they are bottle fed). In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfed babies receive only breastmilk for the first 6 months of life and continue breastmilk in their diet for up to age 12 months.

During pregnancy, your baby got all of her nutrients and vitamins from the food you ate and the vitamins you took. Once your baby was born, all those extra vitamins and nutrients were stored in her body to help her grow. As your baby gets bigger, those extra vitamins start to lessen. When your baby is between 4-6 months, she may begin to show signs that she is ready to try some solid foods alongside her breastmilk or formula diet. However, don’t rush to start your baby on solid foods. Just watch for her developmental cues and she’ll let you know when she’s ready. When beginning solid foods in your baby’s diet, it’s important to know that solid foods are meant to complement your baby’s overall nutrition, not replace breastmilk or formula. During this transition, your baby’s primary source of nutrition should still be breastmilk or, if he is bottle-fed, formula.

  • Breastmilk is the best food for most babies.
  • Try to breastfeed your baby for the first 6 months of life.
  • Babies are ready to start solid food at about 5 or 6 months.

Your Baby Ready for Solid Food

How do you know if your baby is ready for solid foods?  There are many signs to look for that will indicate that your little one may be ready to begin the journey into solid foods. Your baby may be 3 months old or 4 months old when you start to feel she may need “something more” than formula or breast milk.

-4 months of age
Developmental cues for baby

  • The baby turns his head toward anything that brushes his cheek.
  • He has a strong reflex, called extrusion, to push things out of her mouth with his tongue. This tongue-thrust reflex means he’s not ready to eat anything other than breastmilk or formula.

What baby can eat

  • Breastmilk or infant formula only (no solid foods)

How much baby can eat

  • Newborns typically want to eat every 2 to 3 hours.
  • By the end of the fourth month, your baby may want to eat every 4 hours.
  • When he’s full, he will stop sucking and he will be relaxed and sleepy.

4-6 months of age
Developmental cues for baby

  • The extrusion reflex goes away. The baby develops the ability to eat non-liquid foods.
  • She may show a desire for food by opening her mouth, drooling and leaning forward.
  • She begins to chew and brings her hands to her mouth.
  • She begins to handle objects with the palm of her hand.

What baby can eat

  • Iron-fortified cereals (such as rice, barley and oatmeal) mixed with breastmilk or infant formula (It’s best to start with rice cereal, since it’s less likely to cause an allergic reaction.)
  • Breastmilk or infant formula

How much baby can eat

  • Your baby will only eat a little bit of solid foods at the beginning.
  • Start with 1 tablespoon of cereal combined with 3 tablespoons of breastmilk or infant formula once a day.
  • Little by little, increase the amount of cereal to 3 to 4 tablespoons mixed with breastmilk or infant formula once or twice a day. Remember: You can choose how thick to make the mixture by adding more breastmilk or infant formula.

6-8 months of age
Developmental cues for baby

  • The baby begins to sit upright with support.
  • He feeds himself finger foods.
  • He develops the ability to pick up foods with a pincer (finger-to-thumb) grasp.

What baby can eat

  • Pureed and textured cooked vegetables and fruits (start baby on one food at a time to see if there are any allergic reactions)
  • Unsweetened, non-citrus juices, such as pasteurized apple or grape, mixed with water from a cup
  • Breastmilk or infant formula

How much baby can eat

  • Begin with 1 tablespoon of a fruit or vegetable once a day.
  • Slowly increase to three solid foods meals a day, with each meal being about the size of baby’s fist.
  • Mix juices with water (1 part juice and 1 part water). Do not substitute breastmilk or formula for water.
  • Do not give your baby more than 4 ounces of juice per day.

8-10 months of age
Developmental cues for baby

  • The baby begins to hold her bottle.
  • She reaches for and grabs food and her spoon.
  • She sits upright unsupported.

What baby can eat

  • Breads and cereals
  • Yogurt
  • Soft, cooked vegetables, such as squash, peas, green beans and carrots
  • Cooked fruit, such as peaches, apples and pears
  • Very finely cut or pureed meats, fish, casseroles, cheese, cooked egg yolks as well as mashed legumes
  • Breastmilk or formula

Note: If you give your baby canned fruits or vegetables, be sure they come with no added salt or sugar.

How much baby can eat

  • When you first introduce meat and fish to your baby’s diet, expect her to only eat about 1 teaspoon a day.
  • Little by little, offer more meat and fish to your baby, giving her as much as 1 to 2 tablespoons of meat a day.
  • Baby can eat small portions (1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon) from the other suggested foods each day.
  • Feed baby three solid foods meals a day, with each meal being about the size of baby’s fist.

Note: Watch for signs of food allergy when first introducing fish and wheat-containing products, such as bread and crackers, to your baby’s diet.

9-12 months of age
Developmental cues for baby

  • The baby begins to use a spoon correctly, but spilling may still occur.

What baby can eat

  • Each solid food meal should have iron-fortified cereal, a fruit or vegetable and some finger foods
  • Breastmilk or formula

How much baby can eat

  • Offer your baby 1 tablespoon of each food group at each meal. The main food groups are grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, and meat and beans.
  • Feed baby three solid foods meals a day, with each meal being about the size of baby’s fist.

Foods to avoid

Some infants may feel ill or have allergic reactions to foods that don’t affect your other children. After you introduce a new food to your baby’s diet, watch for signs like diarrhea, rash or vomiting. If your baby has any of these signs or any other signals that concern you, speak with your baby’s health provider before giving her this food again. The health provider will help you find out if your baby is allergic to this food. In your baby’s first year, avoid feeding her:

  • Egg whites
  • Citrus fruits or juices
  • Cow’s milk
  • Honey (this may contain bacteria that can develop into a toxic illness called botulism, which can be very dangerous to infants)
Nutrients in Avocados
VITAMINS: (one cup pureed) Vitamin A – 338 IU
Vitamin C – 20.2 mg
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – .2 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – .3 mg
Niacin – 3.9 mg
Folate – 205 mg
Pantothenic Acid – 3.3 mg
Vitamin B6 – .6 mgContains some other vitamins in small amounts.
MINERALS: (one medium)
Potassium – 1166 mg
Phosphorus – 124 mg
Magnesium – 67 mg
Calcium – 30 mg
Sodium – 18 mg
Iron – 1.4 mgAlso contains small amounts of selenium, manganese, copper and zinc.