MS, RDN, CDN
Allison is a registered dietitian who holds a Master’s in Nutrition and Physical Fitness. She also loves helping families get creative with their wellness choices.
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Starting solid foods is an exciting time for you and your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend introducing solid foods around 6 months of age.1, 2 Check out our signs of readiness article and speak with your baby’s pediatrician to help determine when your little one is ready to start solids.
While starting solids, you will continue to provide most of the essential nutrition and hydration your baby needs from breast milk or formula, while also exposing your baby to a new world of diverse flavors and nutrients. In fact, this is one of the most influential periods in your baby’s taste development.3, 4 Your baby will most readily try and accept all kinds of foods at this age so it’s important to offer a variety of different flavors from meal to meal.
There are two meal plans below: One for starting solids with purees, and one for when your little one starts to advance textures. Both have snack and recipe ideas to help you get started. They also have plenty of flavor variety to help maximize your baby’s taste development.
Read more: Learning to Love Healthy Foods
Eating solids at this age is mostly about letting your baby explore new flavors and textures. Breast milk or formula will remain your baby’s primary nutrition source during their first year, so continue to give breast milk and/or formula just as you were before starting solids. Your little one will begin to reduce how much formula or breastmilk they take as they get closer to 1 year.5, 6, 7
For breastfed babies, introduction of solids at 6 months helps your little one get enough of certain nutrients. For example, at 6 months stored iron begins to diminish. Since breastmilk is not a good source of iron, including some iron-rich foods, such as fortified cereals and pureed meats, will help your little one get enough.8 For more information, chat with baby’s health care provider for their recommendations.
For more information on the nutrient needs of your older baby, check out: Nutrients to Look for at 6-12 Months
At around 6 months old, you can start by offering 1 to 2 tablespoons of food once or twice per day. Once your little one gets the hang of eating and shows more interest, slowly begin offering foods 2 to 3 times per day and ¼ to ½ cup at a time.9, 10
Remember to listen to your baby’s hunger and fullness cues throughout their feeding journey, rather than go by specific portions. Your little may take more or less each day; by responding to their feeding cues you’ll be providing them with just what they need.11
It’s important to advance texture once your baby is comfortable. Start with thin, pureed foods, thickening them a bit as baby gets used to eating. Next, move to lumpy, mashed foods; followed by finely chopped, soft foods.12
Read more: Introducing Solids: First Foods & Textures
Introduce one single-ingredient new food at a time. Allow for 2 to 3 days before introducing another new food to make sure your baby is not allergic or intolerant to these foods. Foods most often associated with allergies are eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and seeds, wheat, fish, shellfish, and cow’s milk (drinking cow’s milk is not recommended before 12 months, but milk can be used in small amounts in baked or cooked foods, and baby can also eat yogurt and cheese as long as there is no allergy or intolerance).13
Read more: Introducing Major Food Allergens
By 9 months of age, your baby should be eating foods from all food groups and be able to handle small, soft pieces of finger foods. Pay attention to your baby’s cues, have fun, and let your baby set the pace while offering your baby healthy foods that contain important nutrients to set the standard for healthy eating patterns.
Your baby may grimace, wrinkle their nose, or make other faces when they try new foods and textures. Know that this is completely normal and doesn’t mean your little one dislikes the food or is being picky. Babies may need to taste a food up to 10 or more times before they start to accept it, so just keep offering (though not forcing) that food.14
Remember, starting solids is mostly about introducing a variety of flavors and textures – and keeping it fun and stress-free!
If you have questions about introducing solids or advancing textures, reach out to our team of registered dietitians for free! They are here to help on our free live chat from Monday – Friday, 8am-8pm (EST) and Saturday – Sunday, 8am-4pm (EST). Chat now!
We know parenting often means sleepless nights, stressful days, and countless questions and confusion, and we want to support you in your feeding journey and beyond. Our Happy Baby Experts are a team of lactation consultants and registered dietitians certified in infant and maternal nutrition – and they’re all moms, too, which means they’ve been there and seen that. They’re here to help on our free, live chat platform Monday – Friday 8am-8pm (EST), and Saturday – Sunday 8am-4pm (EST). Chat Now!
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Our meal plans offer recipe and meal suggestions for your child. They are not designed to replace your doctor’s recommendations, nor do they take into account special nutritional needs, including allergies and intolerances. The meal plans suggest serving sizes that may or may not be appropriate for your child. Please consult your doctor to determine what is best for your child.
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Our Happy Family Organic Superfoods Cookbook for Baby & Toddler is chock-full of yummy, easy-to-prepare meals your whole family will love.