Baby's first foods (4–6 months)
Do not give solid food to babies under 4 months, as their digestion is not ready and they
should be wholly fed on breast milk or formula.
The recommended age to begin weaning is 6 months; however, each baby is different and
some are ready for solid food as young as 4 months old. You need to trust your instincts and
watch for signs from your baby that he or she is ready for some solid food. If your baby has
been sleeping through the night and then starts waking up during the night demanding
food, or begins drinking more breast milk or formula and does not seem satisfied, it may be
time to introduce a little solid food. Always check with your pediatrician first.
Other signs of readiness to look for are:
• good head control
• trunk stability, able to sit alone in a high chair
• starts to reach for your food
• ability to swallow foods without gagging
Even when you've introduced some solid food, breast milk or formula should still be the
primary food you give your baby.
Begin with one teaspoonful, once a day, of a solid food, usually rice cereal mixed with breast
milk or formula, which is easy to digest. Once your baby has successfully eaten this for four
or five days, with no adverse reaction, you can introduce a single fruit or vegetable. Wait for
four days before introducing another. This is called the "four-day rule."
By introducing one
new food at a time, you can determine if your baby has an intolerance or allergic reaction to
that food. Once you know which foods your baby enjoys and can safely eat, you can keep
feeding them to your baby as well as trying new ones too. Work up to an ice cube-size
(or 1 ounce), which is a portion for a young baby.
The food should be very pureed and have a sloppy, liquid consistency. If needed, add breast
milk, formula, or the cooking liquid to the puree to achieve this very thin consistency. Young
babies may have problems eating thick purees and may gag on them.