Most babies are ready to eat solid foods between four and six months of age. Before beginning solids, your infant should have good head control. Children with a family history of allergies should consider introducing food at six months of age.
FOUR TO SIX MONTHS: Generally, we recommend starting with two tablespoons of rice cereal twice a day for the first two weeks. (This simple grain cereal is generally well‐tolerated by infants and allows the child the opportunity to “learn” what it is like to take solid foods.)
After two weeks of rice cereal, white fruits (such as apple sauce, pears and bananas) and yellow vegetables (such as squash, carrots and sweet potatoes) may be introduced on a one‐ at‐a‐time basis every 4 to 5 days. A third meal can be added at this time as well.
This slow introduction process allows parents to assess for food allergies or intolerance, which can manifest as rashes, diarrhea or vomiting of the food. Any food that causes these symptoms in your child should be stopped immediately and your pediatrician should be notified.
Later on, after these blander foods are introduced, green vegetables (such as spinach and broccoli) and colored fruits (such as apricots and peaches) can be introduced. White meats, (such as chicken, fish and lamb) can be introduced around six months of age. Red meat, rich in zinc and iron, is typically introduced around eight to nine months of age.
EIGHT TO TEN MONTHS: This is a good time to introduce finger foods into the diet. Make sure that the pieces are cut up into small pieces (Cheerio‐sized) and that the food is soft enough to chew. You can also introduce egg yolks and dairy products like yogurt and soft cheeses at this time. If there is a family history of dairy allergy, however, we recommend that you speak with your pediatrician before starting these foods.
When a larger variety of solid foods is introduced, mothers will notice a decrease in the number of breastfeeding episodes to 4 to 5 times per day or a decrease in the amount of formula to about 20 to 14 ounces per day.
TEN TO TWELVE MONTHS: By this age, your baby’s diet should include nearly all table foods except those listed below:
**Do not give your child any honey, whole milk, citrus, peanut butter, nuts or shellfish prior to one year of age.
**Avoid nuts, popcorn, hotdogs, chewing gum, whole grapes, uncooked carrots and hard candy prior to three years of age due to the risk of choking.