Baby food: What you need to know

If you are a new parent, you may be wondering when to introduce solid foods for your little one. Is it when they are hungrier? Is it when they are six months old? Is it when they begin to crawl? But the answer is: look for cues that tell you that your baby is ready.

Most babies are ready for solid foods between ages 4 and 6 months. If your baby can hold his or her head in an upright position or sit with support, then this means that they are ready for eating solid foods. Also, if your baby is hungrier and interested in what you are eating, then these are all signs that your baby is ready. However, getting ready does not mean that you should cut off your baby from your breast milk at once. Make sure you wean him or her out it gradually and make the transition to solid foods slowly.

What to feed your baby

Doctors usually recommend rice cereal for your baby's first solid food. Mix a teaspoon of the rice cereal with 4 to 5 teaspoons of breast milk or formula and serve it to your baby with a small spoon once or twice a day. Do not serve it from a bottle. Some babies love it right from the start and others are not too happy with it. So, be patient.

When your baby gets used to the food, mix it with less liquid and introduce pureed fruits and vegetables. By 10 to 12 months, introduce your baby to eat small portions of finger foods such as cheese, pasta, soft crackers or ground meat. And when your baby turns a year old, feed them mashed or diced portions of your food.

What type of food to avoid

Avoid feeding your baby eggs, citrus, cow's milk, or honey before age 1. Also, do not feed peanuts or peanut butter, fish or shellfish as they may cause allergies and rashes. Avoid feeding your baby foods that may poke a choking hazard such as grapes, hard candy, popcorn, carrots etc.

For more information on diet, nutrition and your baby check out our baby care videos.

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