Introducing solid foods to your infant can be both an exciting and an intimidating phase for you and your family. One of the most frequent questions I get asked as a Pediatrician is, Solid Foods – When to start? Breast milk and/or formula will provide your infant with all his or her nutritional needs until they are 6 months old. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. For the formula fed infants, the AAP recommends to start introducing solid foods around 6 months of age.
There are many different types of baby foods. I generally recommend starting with a baby cereal mixed with either breast milk or formula. You can start with the mixture being more on the liquid side at first and then gradually make it thicker as your infant becomes more accustomed to eating from a spoon and swallowing the food. After a few days of successful cereal introduction, I recommend introducing pureed fruits and vegetables. Introduce only one food at a time, trying to wait at least 3 days in between. This way, if your infant develops a reaction to a certain food you can be certain which food caused it. Next, you can try some strained or pureed meats, beans, peas, yogurts and cheeses. These are all good sources of protein for your little one.
Some foods to avoid giving your infant are honey, cow’s milk (whole milk) and any foods your infant might choke on. We recommend avoiding honey for the first year of life because it rarely can cause infant botulism which is a muscle weakness disease. Cow’s milk should also be avoided for the first year of life because it can cause low blood levels in some babies. Certain foods are also more prone to be possible choking hazards such as grapes and these should also be avoided until an older age.