Pediatrics | Published January 30, 2020

Ask the pediatrician: When to start solid foods

Hi Dr. Collison,

When do you recommend I start my baby on solid foods?

What food will be on the menu for your baby’s first solid meal? You may have a plan or feel confused because you received too much advice from family and friends with different opinions. Here are some helpful tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help you prepare for starting your baby on solid foods.

  • Your baby should be able to sit in a high chair, a feeding seat, or an infant seat with good head control.
  • Babies may be ready to start solid foods when they are four months old or when they have doubled their birth weight (weighing a minimum of 13 pounds).
  • Your baby will show interest in food around them by watching it intently or opening his or her mouth when food is nearby.
  • Your baby has demonstrated that he or she has developed the ability to move food from a spoon into his or her throat.

How do I feed my baby?
Start with a spoonful or less. One way to make eating solids easier the first time around is to give your baby a little breast milk, formula, or both at first, before switching to a very small half-spoonful of food, and then finishing with more breast milk or formula. Give your baby one food at a time so he or she can get used to it and you can make sure there are no food allergies. 

Which food should I give my baby first?
By tradition, single-grain cereals are usually introduced first. Look for cereals made specifically for babies that are iron fortified. Cereals should always be offered on a spoon and not through a bottle. You may also consider introducing a vegetable or fruit first, however there is no medical evidence that introducing solid foods in any particular order has an advantage for your baby. If your baby has been mostly breastfed, he or she may benefit from baby food made with meat, which contains more easily absorbed sources of iron and zinc.

Good eating habits start early. It’s important for your baby to get used to the process of eating – sitting up, taking food from a spoon, resting between bites and stopping when full. Remember, each child’s readiness depends on their own rate of development. There is no need to rush this milestone. Additionally, you can talk to your pediatrician about recommendations on when to start solid foods with your baby.