Not sure when to start solids, or when you can introduce meat? Follow this simple age-by-age guide to what, when and how much to feed your baby, from birth through age two.
Birth to 6 Months
From birth through 6 months of age, the AAP strongly recommends that you breastfeed your baby exclusively. If breastfeeding is not possible, formula should be your baby’s source of nutrition. Although you may hear recommendations to start your baby on solids as young as 4 months old, the newest research has prompted organizations such as the AAP and WHO to recommend waiting until 6 months old to ensure your baby is developmentally and physically ready to begin solid baby foods.
6 to 8 Months
At 6 months old, your baby may be ready to begin solid foods. Look for such signs as ability to hold her head up easily, ability to sit up with minimal support, and interest in food. When your baby is ready, sometime in this time period for most babies, you can start once daily feedings of the following foods:
- Infant cereal mixed with breast milk or formula to a thin, smooth consistency. Start with rice or barley before moving on to oatmeal or mixed grains.
- Finely pureed fruits such as bananas, apples, pears, peaches, mangoes, avocadoes
- Finely pureed vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans and squash.
- Finely pureed meats
- Whole milk yogurt
You should continue breast or bottle feeding as usual and always serve solids as a secondary feeding after breast milk or formula.
9 to 12 Months
During this time, you can thicken baby’s food and start to leave small chunks in it for baby to chew. Depending on how many teeth your baby has cut, you can try chewier and crunchier foods as well. Your baby’s diet can be expanded to include:
- Infant cereal mixed to a thicker consistency and mixed with fruits or vegetables
- Thicker, chunkier fruits and vegetables, expanded to a wide variety of options.
- Soft, small pieces of cheese
- Finger foods such as Cheerios, small pieces of soft fruits and vegetables such as bananas and cooked carrots, and well-cooked pasta
- Small chunks of well cooked meats
- Eggs, scrambled is best
- One small serving of fruit juice a day
- Toast with peanut butter, cut into small pieces
- Whole milk yogurt mixed with thicker fruit purees
During these months your baby will add a second feeding, probably around 9 months, and then a third by 12 months. During this time, however, breast milk or formula remain the main source of nutrition, and about 75% of calories should come from that source. Solids should be served in small portions after breast feeding or taking a bottle.
12- to 24 Months
During the second year your baby will cut the rest of his teeth and expand his chewing ability. He will also start using a spoon or fork to bring food to his mouth, albeit clumsily. At this point your baby’s foods should look a lot like what you are eating, but cut into smaller bites and in some cases, cooked more thoroughly. Add to the menu:
- Soups with lots of well cooked but chunky vegetables
- Crackers that dissolve fairly easily when chewed
- Whole cooked bite-sized pieces of vegetables
- Whole uncooked bite-sized pieces of softer fruits
- Whole milk, as baby weans from the breast or bottle
- Whole milk yogurt mixed with small chunks of fruits including berries.
- Infant cereal mixed with small chunks of fruits or berries.
By the end of the second year, your child will be able to eat just about anything you eat. Remain cautious about bite sizes however, as choking is still a hazard. Your child should be eating three meals a day along with two healthy snacks, and taking no more than 24 ounces of whole milk each day.