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Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond

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General feeding schedules: What to feed your baby the first year

When to give your baby solid foods

You can give your baby solid food when he or she is 6 months old.

  • Start with a one-grain cereal. When starting solids, mix infant rice cereal with breast milk, formula or warm water. Mix it to the consistency of applesauce.
  • After your baby has successfully been eating rice cereal for two weeks you can introduce one new food.
  • In three days, introduce another new food. Waiting three days between new foods will let you see if your baby has a food allergy. The new foods will also create different-colored stools. You only need to call your health care provider if you see blood in the diaper or if your baby is in pain while having a bowel movement.
  • Start with one teaspoon and slowly increase to the amount listed below.

Introduce meats when your baby is 8 months old.

Avoid honey until your baby is 1 year old.

Most health care providers recommend avoiding giving children nut products, egg whites and shellfish until your baby is 1 year old.

If someone in your baby's family has a history of severe food allergy, you may want to delay introducing your baby to solid foods until 6 months of age; dairy until 1 year; eggs until 2 years; and peanuts, shellfish and fish until 3 years.

When to feed your baby the first year (breast milk or iron-fortified formula)

  • 0 to 4 months: five to 10 feedings
  • 4 to 6 months: four to seven feedings
  • 6 to 8 months: four to five feedings
  • 8 to 10 months: four to five feedings
  • 10 to 12 months: three to four feedings

When to give your baby cereals and bread

  • 0 to 4 months: none
  • 6 months: 2 to 3 teaspoons of iron-fortified boxed cereal (oatmeal, rice or barley) mixed with formula, water or breast milk (for spoon feeding)
  • 6 to 8 months: 4 to 6 tablespoons of all types of boxed infant cereal except cereal with fruit or honey
  • 8 to 10 months: 6 to 8 tablespoons of infant cereals, toast, bagel or crackers
  • 10 to 12 months: 6 to 8 tablespoons of infant or cooked cereal or unsweetened dry cereal, bread, rice noodles, one-half cup spaghetti or crackers

When to give your baby vegetables

  • 0 to 4 months: none
  • 4 to 6 months: none
  • 6 to 8 months: 3 to 4 tablespoons of strained or mashed vegetables that are dark yellow, orange or green. Do not give your baby tomatoes.
  • 8 to 10 months: 4 to 7 tablespoons of cooked, mashed vegetables. You can give tomatoes at this age.
  • 10 to 12 months: 6 to 8 tablespoons of cooked vegetable pieces and some soft vegetables. Be sure to cut up all vegetables into small pieces due to choking risk.

When to give your baby fruits

  • 0 to 4 months: none
  • 4 to 6 months: none
  • 6 to 8 months: 3 to 4 tablespoons of fresh or cooked fruits such as banana, applesauce or strained fruits. Do not give your baby oranges.
  • 8 to 10 months: 5 to 7 tablespoons of strained or peeled soft fruit pieces such as bananas, peaches, pears, apples or oranges. Be sure to cut up all fruits into small pieces due to choking risk.
  • 10 to 12 months: 9 to 12 tablespoons of all fresh fruits (peeled and seeded) and canned fruits packed in water. Do not give your child grapes due to choking risk.

When to give your baby meats and protein

  • 0 to 4 months: none
  • 4 to 6 months: none
  • 6 to 8 months: none
  • 8 to 10 months: 4 to 6 tablespoons of strained, chopped or small pieces of lean meat, chicken and fish, egg yolk, mild cheeses (cut into small pieces), yogurt and cooked dried beans. Do not give your baby whole nuts due to choking risk.
  • 10 to 12 months: 4 to 6 tablespoons of small, tender pieces of chicken, fish, cheese, yogurt or dried beans. Give your child a whole egg after her first birthday.

When to give your baby fruit juices

Your baby does not need juice. Real fruit is better when your baby is at least 6 months old.

  • 0 to 4 months: none
  • 4 to 6 months: none
  • 6 to 8 months: 2 to 4 ounces in a cup of infant juices, adult apple juice, all vitamin C-fortified 100 percent juices (except tomato or orange)
  • 8 to 10 months: 2 to 4 ounces in a cup of all 100 percent juices, including tomato and orange
  • 10 to 12 months: 2 to 4 ounces in a cup of all 100 percent juices

When to give your baby water

You can give your baby extra water each day, but you don't need to. Give your baby spring water, distilled water, well or tap water. If you have a private well, you may consider having it tested for fluoride levels. Fluoride is essential for healthy teeth. If your well water is low on fluoride, you can get special tablets or drops for your baby. Or use topical fluoride at 6 months old. If you have questions, talk with your dentist or health care provider.

When to let your baby explore finger foods

At about 9 months old, your baby will be able to sit in a high chair. He or she will enjoy being at the table eating with your family. This is a good time for your baby to explore finger foods.

Let him or her play with the spoon and explore different textures or food when he or she has developed a pinching grasp between the thumb and first finger. Make sure to cut up finger foods in small pieces to prevent choking.

Talk with your health care provider if you have questions or concerns.


 

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, sixth edition, preg-ahc-90026, ISBN 1-931876-25-8

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 08/15/2011

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts