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Transitioning Baby to Solids

A KidNutriYum reader is getting ready to transition her baby to solid food, and has asked for some general guidelines on how to go about doing so. This is a very exciting time, but can also be somewhat stressful for first time parents.

Some important factors to consider are whether to feed your baby organic, as well as whether to purchase or make your baby’s first foods. Should you decide to proceed on your own, KidNutriYum can recommend some fantastic resources that will help you get started!

The following are some signs that indicate that your baby is ready to start experimenting with food:

  • Baby is interested in what you’re eating

  • Baby opens mouth if offered a spoon

  • Baby is able to sit up with support and has full neck control

Note that pediatricians generally recommend starting your baby on solids between the ages of 4-6 months. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Health Canada recommend that babies receive only breast milk and/or formula for the first 6 months. Nonetheless, it is best to consult with your pediatrician to determine what timing is best for your baby.

Regardless of when solids are introduced, breast milk and/or formula should remain the predominant source of nutrition for the first year. Continue to feed your baby breast milk or Formula on demand until this time.

The following are some guidelines regarding when and how to introduce various foods and consistencies to your baby:

6-7 Months:

1 Rice Cereal, followed by Barley, Oats, & Wheat (Iron fortified cereal mixed with breast milk or formula)

  • Start 1-3 tbsp once/day

  • Increase to 2 feedings of 2-5 tbsp/day

2 Pureed Vegetables (Yellow, Green, or Orange)

  • Start with 1-3 tsp twice/day each

  • Increase to 3-5 tbsp daily

3 Pureed & Cooked Fruits or very ripe mashed fruit (banana)

  • Start with 1-3 tsp twice/day each

  • Increase to 3-5 tbsp daily

7-9 Months

1 Mixed Cereals

  • 2-5 tbsp daily

2 Soft, mashed, and cooked vegetables

  • 4-6 tbsp daily

3 Thicker purees & then finely chopped fruit

  • 6-7 tbsp daily

4 Purees of cooked meat, poultry, fish, tofu, mashed legumes, egg yolk (hard cooked & mashed with water) Gradually add thicker purees and then finely chopped soft meat

  • 1-3 tbsp daily

5 Plain Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Grated Cheese

  • 1-2 tbsp daily

9-12 Months

1 Continue infant cereals

  • 8-10 tbsp daily

2 Introduce other unsweetened cereal, pasta, rice, bread, etc.

3 Mashed or soft cooked vegetables (small pieces)

  • 6-10 tbsp daily

4 Soft ripe fresh fruit peeled, seeded, and diced

  • 7-10 tbsp daily

5 Minced or diced cooked soft meat, fish, poultry, legumes, tofu, egg yolk

  • 4-6 tbsp daily

6 Plain Yogurt, Cottage cheese, other cheeses

  • 2-4 tbsp daily

Single foods should first be introduced for 3-5 days before proceeding to the next single food to ensure that your child does not have an intolerance or food allergy. Watch for reactions such as rashes, diarrhea, etc.

There is some debate on whether vegetables should be introduced before fruit so that your baby does not get accustomed to and prefer sweeter tastes therefore later rejecting more bitter tasting vegetables. An alternative to introducing only cereals, followed by only vegetables, and then on to fruits, and so on may be to rotate as follows:

Instead of 3-5 day rotations such as:

Rice Cereal ->Barley Cereal->Oat Cereal->etc.->Squash->Carrots->etc->Apple->Pear->and so on…

Consider 3-5 day rotations as follows:

Rice Cereal->Squash->Apple->Barley Cereal->Carrots->Pears->and so on…

According to the Mayo clinic, foods that have previously been avoided such as fish, eggs, and peanut butter is not necessary since there is a lack of convincing evidence showing that doing so will prevent allergies. Regardless, consult with your pediatrician, especially if there is a history of food allergies in your family.

Other foods that should be avoided prior to 1 year according to some experts are as follows (re potential allergies, choking, etc.):

  • Honey

  • Citrus

  • Cow’s Milk

  • Nuts

  • Popcorn

  • Raisins

  • Egg Whites

It is a good idea to start implementing meal time schedules with the family as soon as possible so that your baby gets used to the routine. Finally, the best time to introduce new foods is when your baby is happy – breakfast and lunch are good times to start when your baby may be less tired.

The “Wholesome Baby Food” website has some great charts (guidelines) to help you get started:

It may take patience and perseverance, but eventually your baby will start to accept and enjoy the new foods being introduced – good luck and have fun!

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