And What Can
My Baby Eat?

According to the American Association of Pediatrics -- which is where most all pediatricians acquire their guidelines -- most babies are ready to eat solid foods around six months.

baby eating baby food

When can my baby eat solid foods?

Somewhere around six months of age, babies become more active and the tongue-pushing reflex -- the one necessary for breast and bottle feeding -- slowly goes away. You know when the tongue-pushing reflex is gone when a baby pushes the food to the top of her mouths and swallows instead of pushing the food out of her mouth with her tongue.

Most doctors also recommend that babies are able to sit upright and unsupported before introducing solid foods. Ultimately, check with your child's doctor about her individual needs and use your best judgment about the right time to start solid foods. Not every baby is the same and you know your baby best.

Breastfeeding and solid foods

Currently the AAP recommends that mothers breastfeed exclusively for six months. Breastfeeding is encouraged to continue along with feeding solid foods until at least 12 months of age.

Tip: Check with your doctor before replacing feeding time at the breast with solid foods. The introduction process of solid foods doesn't necessarily mean that it should or can replace a meal.

Which foods do I start with?

Rice cereal or baby oatmeal is typically one of the first solid foods for babies. This is because rice and oats are less likely to cause an allergic reaction in a young child. Our doctor didn't suggest we start with rice cereal (partially because we waited until our children were at least six months old before introducing solids), but offered it as a suggestion to thicken up the runny consistency should our children prefer something thicker.

As for whether to start fruits or vegetables first, opinions go either way. Some doctors and moms believe that a baby will better take to the idea of solid foods if fruits are introduced first and some believe that vegetables set the child up for a wider range of tastes. Some even go by color of foods -- start with the lighter, more earthy-tones and then work your way to the darker colors.

Allergic reactions to baby food

Although there is no evidence that supports giving babies eggs and fish before the age of one will determine if your baby is allergic, most doctors still recommend waiting until after age one to introduce foods that are more likely to cause an allergic reaction.

Important: Honey should never be introduced to a baby until after age one due to botulism.

Give your baby one food at a time every two to three days to determine if your child has an allergic reaction. Look for diarrhea, a rash or vomiting as a possible reaction to foods. If an allergy occurs, stop giving your baby the food and call your doctor immediately.

More on baby food

3 Steps to healthy homemade baby food
Can you make baby food without a baby food maker?
New options from Plum Organics


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