The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 4 to 6 months and continued breastfeeding or formula for the first 12 months so your baby can get every possible nutritional benefit. But slowly introducing some new foods is an important part of growing up! Making sure you do it right is important, but not hard.
At around six months, your baby will be learning to move food from their mouth down their throat with their tongue, learning to hold up their head, and learning to sit up with support. If they’re doing all of those things, and show a desire to eat your food (maybe trying to steal some while you’re eating), they might be ready to start eating other new foods.
Introduce new foods slowly. After trying out a new food, wait for three to five days to make sure they don’t have diarrhea, a rash, or any other negative signs. If they’re doing well, you’re good to try it again or to test out something new!
Start with the veggies! Most babies tend to opt for something sweet, so if you introduce fruit or other sweet foods before the veggies, they might not want to give the greens a try. Pureed squash, pumpkin, peas, and sweet potatoes are all good options for foods to incorporate into their diet early on. Build healthy habits from the beginning! Baby cereals and pureed fruits like bananas, apples, pears, and peaches are all great options too, just make sure there isn’t any salt or sugar added if you buy it from the store. Using single-ingredient foods at first can help you easily identify anything your baby might react to negatively.
Don’t stress out about waiting to give them allergenic foods. There actually hasn’t been any evidence that delaying the introduction of peanuts, eggs, wheat, fish, or soy to your baby’s diet actually helps prevent them from developing an allergy. If an allergy runs in your family, talk to a doctor about introducing the food in a safe environment.
At around eight to ten months, most babies can start to handle finely chopped foods (think soft fruits and veggies, pasta, dry cereal, cheese, rice, or baby crackers). As with other new foods, introduce them slowly and watch them carefully!
Don’t worry if your baby isn’t wanting to eat everything you give them. Patience is key. Taking a break and trying again later has been found to be the best way to get them used to something new. Take it easy. This way, there’s no pressure, and (most importantly) no power struggle.