Starting solid food: Everything you need to know

Foods to Offer Baby:
Your Month-by-Month Guide

4 to 6 months of ageYour baby may enjoy sweet-tasting fruits or veggies as a first food. Though care providers often recommend offering iron-fortified rice as a first food, cooked, mashed sweet potatoes or very ripe bananas also make perfect first foods. They are often more easily accepted and are less likely to cause constipation.

  • Ripe, mashed banana or applesauce
  • Cooked mashed sweet potato, pumpkin or carrots
  • Ripe, mashed avocado
  • Iron-fortified rice or barley cereal, mixed to a soupy consistency with breast milk or formula

6 to 9 months of age

Your baby's iron reserves may begin to diminish around this time. Serving pureed meat or dark meat chicken as a part of your baby's diet adds a well-assimilated source of iron that is not likely to cause constipation.

  • Single grain iron-fortified rice or barley baby cereal
  • Cooked, mashed rice
  • Pureed or mashed veggies
  • Pureed or mashed beans or lentils, moistened with breast milk, formula or yogurt
  • Pureed or mashed and peeled fruit
  • Mashed or diced tofu, plain yogurt or grated mild cheese
  • Well-cooked, pureed meat or dark-meat chicken
  • 100 percent fruit juice -- no citrus or berry juices

9 to 12 months of age

Many babies have their first teeth and begin to enjoy picking up pieces of food. This is a perfect time to consider offering some finger foods to your baby. You may also find that your baby likes a lumpier, rather than pureed, consistency to foods.

  • Iron-fortified baby or toddler cereal
  • Unsweetened cereal (grains that have been safely offered to baby)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cooked, mashed rice
  • Well-cooked, mashed or finely chopped veggies
  • Soft, peeled, finely chopped fresh or canned fruit (packed in water)
  • Ground or finely chopped well-cooked tender pieces of lean meat or dark-meat chicken
  • Well-cooked, mashed beans or lentils
  • Mashed or small cubes of tofu
  • Small amounts of plain yogurt, cottage cheese, mild cheese
  • 100 percent fruit juice -- no citrus or berry juice

Foods for Babies to Avoid

  • Honey should never be offered to a baby under one year of age, due to the risk of botulism.
  • Citrus or berry fruits and juices should not be offered until your baby is a year old.
  • Sugar, artificial sweeteners, salt or spices are unnecessary and should not be added to your baby's food.
  • Beets, turnips and dark green veggies, such as spinach, kale, broccoli and turnip greens should not be given to a baby under a year of age. They have too many nitrates for babies.
  • Fried foods

Highly Allergenic Foods should not be offered until your baby is over one year of age, or even older if there is a family history of allergies, asthma or skin conditions, such as excema. Highly allergenic foods include:

  • Cow's milk
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Eggs
  • Pork
  • Nuts
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Soy
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Spices
  • Chocolate
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