Starting solid food: Everything you need to know

Has your little one started staring at every bite of food as it goes from your plate into your mouth? Has she tried to grab little morsels for herself? If so, you may be asking yourself the big question: "Is my baby ready to start solids?"

Starting Solids:
10 Things You Need to Know

1. Make sure your baby is ready. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until your baby is at least four to six months of age before introducing solid foods. Around this time your baby will begin to show signs of readiness for solids. She begins to sit up well, unsupported; she can pick up small items; and she is very interested in what is on your dinner plate. Every baby is different: It is more important to watch your baby for signs of readiness than to decide an arbitrary time for introducing solids.

2. Go slowly. You and your baby have lots of time to explore this whole new world of culinary delight. Offer your baby very small amounts of food to start out (a half teaspoon or so). Gradually increase the amount you are offering until you are giving your baby one-quarter cup or so of food at a time.

3. Breast milk or formula comes first during baby's first year. To keep an adequate milk supply, if you are breastfeeding, and to provide your baby with his most important food during his first year of life, nurse or feed your baby formula before offering solid foods.

4. There is not one best, set-in-stone, method of food progression. Your baby's likes and dislikes and your family history of allergies/asthma will play a big role in which foods you offer your baby -- and when.

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