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How do I start giving my baby solid foods?

At 6 months, you'll start to introduce solids, which is the recommended age. Start with a simple rice cereal or a grain cereal that has some iron. That period is simply a practice period. It's a time to learn how to eat, and most of the calories will still come from formula or breast milk.

As you introduce foods, I recommend starting with vegetables, as they aren't as tasty as fruit, so your baby doesn't have an aversion to vegetables and only like the sugary taste. So every 3 or 4 days you'll introduce 1 vegetable until you've run the whole shelf. That way you can watch for 4 days to see if your baby tolerates or has an allergy to that specific food.

If you introduce foods before 4 months of age in a formula-fed baby, the chance of obesity as they grow older is increased. This is not so for breast-fed babies. If you introduce foods before 4 months of age, your baby is perhaps more likely to actually breathe in the food rather than swallow it, because of lack of trunk control, or neck support, or the ability to tolerate a more solid food rather than a simple liquid.
During the first two years, children move from exclusive breast or bottle feeding to eating table foods with the rest of the family. An important part of this process is the specific foods and textures you introduce at each age. The order in which you introduce solid foods doesn't matter for most babies. The traditional progression has been single-grain cereals followed by vegetables, fruits and meats. While there is nothing wrong with this pattern, pureed meat or poultry actually may be the best first food to provide sources of iron and zinc.

Introduce one new food at a time and wait three to five days before starting another. If you notice diarrhea, vomiting or rashes, stop the new food and contact your baby's health care provider. These symptoms may indicate a food allergy.

Keep in mind that textures are very important for introducing solid foods. Most babies prefer to start with softer, smoother textures and gradually move toward thicker foods. Firm foods, especially round foods, are choking hazards. Items that may cause choking include popcorn, peanuts, whole grapes, uncut or stringy meats, hot dog pieces, sticky foods such as peanut butter and hard, raw fruits or vegetables such as apples, green beans and carrots.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.