Starting Solids

Sometime around six months, your baby will begin to show an interest in solid foods. A baby who’s ready reaches for food, no longer pushes it out of the mouth with the tongue, can hold on to something, is getting teeth and can sit up without support. At this age, though, solids are more for expanding the baby’s horizons and socializing than for nutrition. Breast- or bottle-feeding should still be the primary food source.

Getting Started
To feed your baby, seat her in a high chair, in a baby seat (strapped in place) or in your lap. During the early weeks, nurse the baby first. Then put on a bib and, using a small spoon, begin with about a quarter teaspoon of food.

At first let your baby just taste the new food by placing a bit on the lips. Reactions to new tastes vary -- the baby could look puzzled, delighted or displeased. Some babies really don’t like to be fed -- give them easy-to-pick-up bits: Cheerios, grated cheese, flaked fish.

Many babies begin with rice or barley cereal fortified with iron. Other foods, added one by one over the next few months, can include commercial baby food (pureed) vanilla yogurt (not honey-sweetened due to the danger of botulism); bananas; pears; apple sauce; firm toast; and mashed, cooked vegetables.

Drinking From a Cup
Sometime around age one, most babies are able to drink from a cup well. Before that they may enjoy trying to drink. A spouted cup usually works best. Since most babies cannot drink well enough to receive all their fluids from a cup -- and since the sucking need is still strong -- keep cup-drinking to a once- or twice-a-day ritual.

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