When, What, and How to Introduce Solid Foods
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula when they are about 6 months old. Every child is different. How do you know if your child is ready for foods other than breast milk or infant formula? You can look for these signs that your child is developmentally ready:
- Your child can sit with little or no support.
- Your child has good head control.
- Your child opens his or her mouth and leans forward when food is offered.
What Foods Should I Introduce to My Child First?
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that for most children, you do not need to give foods in a certain order. Your child can begin eating solid foods at about 6 months old. By the time he or she is 7 or 8 months old, your child can eat a variety of foods from different food groups. These foods include infant cereals, meat or other proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, yogurts and cheeses, and more.
If your child is eating infant cereals, it is important to offer a variety of fortified infant cereals such as oat, barley, and multi-grain instead of only rice cereal. Only providing infant rice cereal is not recommended by the Food and Drug Administration because there is a risk for children to be exposed to arsenic. Visit the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to learn more.
How Should I Introduce My Child to Foods?
Let your child try one food at a time at first. This helps you see if your child has any problems with that food, such as food allergies. Wait 3 to 5 days between each new food. Before you know it, your child will be on his or her way to eating and enjoying lots of new foods.
The eight most common allergenic foods are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. Generally, you do not need to delay introducing these foods to your child, but if you have a family history of food allergies, talk to your child’s doctor or nurse about what to do for your baby.