May 19, 2017

Rice cereal, mashed peas and yogurt — oh, my!

Figuring out first foods when baby is ready for solids.

“She was definitely unsure,” said Mai Le, recalling the first time she introduced a fork-mashed banana to her daughter, Holly. “At first, she would turn her head away. But once we put a little bit of banana on her lips and she tasted it, she opened her mouth.”

Introducing solid foods to your baby can be daunting. While it’s exciting that your baby has reached another milestone, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by what’s involved. Your mind may be flooded with questions, like “What are the best first foods for babies?” Or, “Is there a right or wrong way to prepare these foods?” And, “Just how messy is my kitchen about to get?”

What you’re feeling is completely normal. And luckily, there are experts and resources to help walk you through the exciting new world of applesauce, mashed banana … even pureed broccoli.

See what experts recommend:

  • How to know your baby is ready to start on solids — the signs you should look for.
  • Which nutrient-packed fruits and vegetables your baby may love (or not)!
  • What to do about those allergenic foods, such as peanut butter.
  • A good first step to starting your baby on solid foods is to have a conversation with your child’s pediatrician; ask your questions and share your concerns.

Then, think of it as an adventure — and a messy one, at that. By introducing your little one to new tastes and textures, you are ensuring she will look forward to meals with your family and enjoy trying new foods throughout her life.

That enthusiasm starts early, as mom Mai Le discovered. Le notes that Holly, now one year old, has a routine that reflects her anticipation and delight around mealtimes.

“In order to put the tray on her high chair, she has to have her arms up, and she waves them around and kicks excitedly,” Le said. “And once that tray is attached, we’d better have her food ready, because she expects to be served immediately!"

Give peas a chance - solid food infographic
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Text version:

Give Peas a Chance

Starting your little one on solid foods

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing solid foods to your baby at about 6 months old.

Your baby is ready when she:

  • Controls head and neck well
  • Sits up with support
  • Watches you eat and reaches for your food
  • Doesn't push out a spoon placed in her mouth

Nutrient-packed Foods That are Easy to Prepare

Foods should be soft. Be sure to puree or mash well.

  • Carrots
  • Green peas
  • Applesauce
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash
  • Iron-enriched rice cereal
  • Meat or poultry (finely ground)
  • Avocados
  • Yogurt
  • Broccoli

Allergenic Foods: Be Alert!

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Wheat
  • Peanuts/Nuts
  • Soy
  • Fish/Shellfish

As Your Baby Grows ...

6 months: Start off with iron-rich foods, like peas, rice cereal and meat or poultry.

9 months: Widen the variety! Include a range of fruits, vegetables and meats

1 year: Safe to introduce whole milk and honey.

If possible, continue breastfeeding until your baby is at least 1 year old.

Hungry for additional info? Find all of this — and more food for thought — at kp.org.