Although breast milk or formula will continue to be the most important part of your baby's diet for at least the next few months, 6 months is a good age to start introducing solids. Start out slowly. Adults appreciate variety at meals, but a baby needs to ease into eating.
Try these tips for introducing solid foods:
- Start with cereal.
Iron-fortified cereal is a good source of iron and B vitamins, as well as of the calories your baby needs. Eating small amounts of simple cereals (rice or barley mixed with breast milk, formula, or water) from a spoon twice a day helps your baby learn how to eat solid food.
- Move on to vegetables and fruits.
Begin by offering pureed vegetables such as green beans or peas at midday; eventually, add strained or mashed fruit (bananas, plain unsweetened applesauce) in the morning. In general, your baby's food should be soft, smooth, and strained.
- Check for allergies.
Wait five to seven days before introducing new menu items so that you can be sure your baby isn't sensitive to the previous food.
- At mealtimes, hold your baby upright in your lap or in an infant seat.
Use a small spoon. If she sticks her tongue out, give her a few more tries and then back off for a week or two. As she matures, the tongue thrusting will stop.
- Avoid feeding your baby cereal in a bottle (unless your baby's healthcare provider recommends this).
Your baby needs to learn how to use her mouth with solids.
Have patience when feeding and rest assured that your baby will eventually learn to eat. Don’t we all!