-When & How -
Leading health organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization, recommend introducing solid foods together with continued breast milk and/or infant formula around six months of age in order to meet an infant's energy and nutritional needs. Developmental signs of food readiness include:
Your child sits with little or no support.
Your child has good head control.
Your child opens their mouth when food is offered.
Although the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend a particular order for food introduction, they do suggest offering a variety of foods by the time the child is seven to eight months of age. These foods include proteins, vegetables, fruits, grains, cheeses & yogurts.
Waiting three to five days between each new food will help determine whether your child develops an allergy to that specific food. Eight of the most allergenic foods include cow's milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans.
It is easier at first for babies to eat foods that are well pureed and smooth in texture. As your baby's oral skills develop, mashed and thicker foods can be introduced. Gradually increase food consistency and variety as the child gets older. Always align the right food textures with your baby's developmental stage to help prevent choking or discomfort. Feed small portions during the early stages of food introduction, and encourage your baby to eat slowly. During the first month of food introduction, your baby might eat one small meal a day. By the time your baby is seven to eight months old, they might require two to three meals a day, followed by three to four meals a day at nine to 12 months of age.
Most importantly, listen to your baby. Your baby's body language will tell you how they are feeling. Throughout this learning adventure, you and your baby will get to know one another even better. Honoring your baby's feeding cues empowers them to understand their own bodies, giving them the confidence they need for a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2021). Infant food and feeding. Accessed February 1, 2021.
World Health Organization. (2021). Infant and young child feeding. Accessed on February 1, 2021. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/infant-and-young-child-feeding