What Baby Food Should I Introduce First?

Reviewed on 6/16/2021
A baby should typically start solid foods by 6 months of age.
A baby should typically start solid foods by 6 months of age.

Your baby’s first food should be sufficiently bland and gooey. There is no hard-and-fast rule as to what should be given to your weaning baby. Whether you offer homemade food or buy premade baby food, you have a variety of options. However, you should note the following points:

  • You should give soft or pureed foods to prevent choking.
  • Introduce a single ingredient new food at a time from any food group every 3-5 days. Check out for any reactions. If you find any reaction, discontinue the food item and consult your pediatrician. If your child does not like the taste of a particular food, re-introduce the food later.
  • No evidence states it is desirable to wait beyond 4-6 months of age to introduce soft foods, such as eggs, dairy, soy, peanut products, or fish. Check with your child's doctor about how and when to give peanut products.
  • There is no evidence that your baby will dislike vegetables if you give fruit first.
  • Make sure to include foods that are rich in iron and zinc, such as baby food made with meat or iron-fortified cereals.
  • If you feed your baby premade cereal, ensure that you give them iron-fortified ones. Baby cereals are available to dry or premixed in individual containers. You can add breast milk, formula, or water to these cereals.

Within a few months of starting solid foods, your baby's daily diet should include a range of food items, such as

  • breast milk, formula, or both;
  • meats;
  • cereal;
  • vegetables;
  • fruits;
  • eggs;
  • fish;
  • cheeses; and
  • yogurts.

When can my baby begin solid foods?

You know your child is ready for starting solid foods if he

  • has better head control;
  • sits without support;
  • opens his mouth when he sees food;
  • is double his birth weight or weigh 13 pounds or more; or
  • moves food from a spoon into his throat.

The American Association of Pediatrician (AAP) recommends breastfeeding solely for babies for at least 6 months. Even after adding solid foods to your baby’s diet, continue breastfeeding until your baby is at least 12 months old.

What are appropriate solid foods for different ages?

Some of the suitable solid foods are listed according to age.

6 months old

  • Well-cooked and pureed meat, poultry, or beans
  • Ground, cooked, single-grain cereal or infant cereal with breast milk or formula
  • Cooked, pureed, and strained vegetables
  • Mashed banana or avocado

9 months old

  • Well-cooked, minced, or finely chopped meat, poultry, or beans
  • A variety of cooked vegetables cut into small, half-inch pieces, such as squash and green beans
  • Sliced and quartered bananas or small pieces of other soft fruits

12 months old

  • Soft, shredded meat, poultry, or fish
  • Small pieces of cooked vegetables
  • Small chunks of easy to chew fruits
  • Mixed food dishes the family is eating in appropriately sized pieces

Avoid the following foods for babies younger than 4 years of age:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Large chunks of meat, poultry, and cheese
  • Candy, gumdrops, or jelly beans
  • Popcorn and whole kernel corn
  • Hard, raw fruits or vegetables
  • Hot dogs unless cut into strips, bite-size pieces
  • Sticky food, such as peanut butter

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References
American Academy of Pediatrics. "Starting Solid Foods." Mar. 17, 2021. <https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Starting-Solid-Foods.aspx>.

Ellis, Esther. "Do's and Don'ts for Baby's First Foods." Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dec. 6, 2019. <https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/eating-as-a-family/dos-and-donts-for-babys-first-foods#>.

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