Most babies are ready to explore different food textures and flavors at around 6 months of age. Use our tips to safely and successfully kick off new food adventures with your infant.
Infant Feeding Essentials
These must-knows will help ensure your baby is on track for proper growth and development, and help contribute to lifelong healthy eating habits:
- Offer breast milk, formula, or both. At this age, your baby’s intake will decrease some as he consumes more solid foods, but breast milk and formula should continue to be his primary sources of nutrition.
- Introduce one food at a time, and stagger introductions with at least three to five days in between new foods. After a new food is added, watch for signs of allergy, such as rash, diarrhea, or vomiting.
- Talk to your pediatrician about first-food options. Offering vegetables now may help encourage a veggie lover for life. However, some pediatricians recommend single-grain cereals and strained fruits first, because these simple foods make it easy to identify food allergies and intolerances.
- Avoid sugar and salt. Avoid these unneeded additives in your baby’s food to help protect his sensitive digestive system.
- Limit fruit juice to 4 to 6 fluid ounces of 100-percent juice per day.
- Offer finger foods at around 8 months. This is a good time to introduce your child to foods he can pick up and eat without your help.
- Avoid choking hazards. Raisins, nuts, popcorn, or small, hard pieces of food are all no-no’s and potential choking hazards.
- Skip honey until after your baby’s first birthday.
Your Infant’s Daily Food Plan
Be sure to include the following key foods in your baby’s daily meal plan:
- Breastmilk: On demand, about four to six feedings per day.
- Formula: Four to five feedings per day, about 6 to 8 fluid ounces per feeding (up to a maximum of about 32 fluid ounces a day).
- Grains: Finger foods with more texture, like oat cereal O’s or toast fingers.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Pureed or mashed fruits and vegetables.
- Dairy, Meat, and Poultry: Yogurt and pureed or finely ground meats and chicken.