Starting solids is a very important milestone to your infant's life which will lay the foundation for healthy eating habits. Every infant is different and requires different amounts of liquids and solids. A trained pediatrician will assess your infant’s progress including weight, height and development, in order to choose the optimum feeding schedule for your child.
0 - 2 Months
When your child is born, you must choose between breastfeeding and formula. Breastfeeding is preferred because of its countless benefits (AAP Breastfeeding). However, if that is not an option, formulas provide a healthy alternative for your child. In the first couple of months, you will need to feed your infant every 2-3 hours, especially if you choose to breastfeed. Eventually, the schedule may be stretched to every 3-4 hours. You will notice that your baby can go longer between each feeding.
2 - 6 Months
By 2-6 months old, your infant should intake 4-8 ounces of breast milk or formula, 4-5 times a day. Although years ago, many pediatricians told parents to introduce baby cereal with milk around this age, today’s studies show that solids before 4-6 months of age can increase the risk of being overweight. I recommend waiting until 6 months of age prior to introducing solids to your infant.
6 - 8 months
At 6 months, you may begin introducing nutrient-dense complementary foods. Encourage infants and toddlers to consume a variety of foods from all food groups, including those rich in iron and zinc, especially for infants fed human milk. The amount of formula and breast milk intake should remain the same. The bulk of your infant’s nutrition will come from milk. You should always wait approximately 5 days before introducing another new solid to your infant. Start with 2-4 tablespoons of iron-fortified rice cereal, 2-3 times a day. Increase that amount after determining how well your baby is tolerating the rice cereal. You may then continue to introduce other cereals such as barley or corn cereal, soft mashed vegetables, Gerber Stage 1 food, etc. Introduce bland foods before any sweet fruits. As they begin to enjoy solids, you can introduce fruits and strained meats. You should progress slowly only as much as your infant tolerates. Be prepared for your baby’s refusal of certain foods because of unwanted flavor and texture. Do not force the food if your infant refuses. Try re-introducing the food in another week or so. You may also introduce infants to potentially allergenic foods along with other complementary foods. Honey should not be introduced until after 1 year of age. Also avoid foods with choking hazards such as hot dogs, popcorn, seeds and hard vegetables (i.e. raw carrots).
Vegetables -Green Beans, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Peas
Fruits - Apples, Avocados, Bananas, Pears, Mango, Peaches, Plum, Prunes
Protein - Chicken, Turkey, Tofu *Start after introducing the above
Dairy - Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
Cereal/Grains - Graham / Multi grain crackers, Cheerios, Toast, Rice
Fruits - Blueberries, Melons, Cherries, Grapes, (Peeled/mashed into other food only)
Vegetable Asparagus, Broccoli, White potatoes, Onions, Peppers, Mushroom, Parsnips
Protein - Beans, Beef, Ham
Dairy - Cream cheese, Cottage Cheese
Cereal/Grains - Pastas. bagels
Fruits - Berries, Citrus, grapes (cut 1/4 size)
Protein - Fish (White fish such as Cod, Haddock)
Dairy - Whole milk at 12 months