Starting Solid Foods - BabyMatters

starting solid foods infographic

Quick summary

Introduce solid foods around 6 months, looking for signs of readiness and choosing a good time when the baby is alert and mildly hungry. Baby spoon feeding uses purees to help adapt to different textures, while baby-led feeding promotes self-feeding. Key nutrients come from iron-fortified cereals and varied baby foods, aiding growth and immunity. Responsive feeding focuses on hunger and fullness cues, encouraging self-regulation. Be patient with new foods as it might take several tries for the baby to accept them.


Readiness cues & timing

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend introducing solid foods at or around the age of 6 months.

Readiness cues:

  • Good head control
  • Sits with help or support
  • Brings objects to mouth
  • Seems interested in food

Pick a good time when baby is:

  • In good spirits
  • Wide awake
  • Mildly hungry

Pay attention to recognize & respond to hunger cues

How to begin

Baby spoon feeding is the introduction of solid foods in pureed form, such as infant cereal or purees, on an infant spoon.

Familiar taste of breastmilk or formula helps Baby accept the new taste of cereal

Spoon feeding is a way to introduce solid foods. Parents can pre-load spoon for Baby to self-feed

Baby-led feeding is a way to introduce foods which focus on self-feeding

Key nutrients & textures

Feeding baby foods can provide key nutrients, and at the right consistency, like purees, can support the development of a wide variety of jaw movements and increase the ability to adapt to different types of oral sensory information and textures.

Iron-fortified baby cereals help provide iron that supports healthy growth & brain development

Getting enough vitamin A, E, C & zinc from foods like fortified baby cereal, baby fruits and veggies, helps support a healthy immune system

Experiment with different textures. Start with thin and smooth and add more texture, like chunky or thick, as baby develops

How much is enough?

Responsive feeding is a feeding style focusing on responding to a child’s hunger and fullness cues, helping young children learn how to self-regulate their intake.

Fullness cues:

  • Stops or slows down the pace
  • Turns head away
  • Relaxed and may fall asleep
  • Gets distracted and starts looking around

Pay attention to recognize & respond to fullness cues

Keep trying a variety of foods. For some babies, it may take 8–10 exposures of a new food before they accept and seem to enjoy it!

Gerber products to help starting solid foods

Introducing a variety of foods is key to expose baby to new tastes, flavors, and textures. Gerber baby foods in tubs, jars and pouches are made from nutrient dense foods representing all the food groups as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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BabyMatters starting solid food resources

Starting solid foods podcast

Featuring Medical Scientific Liaison Jami Boccella, RDN, LD, CLC and special guest, Developmental Infant Feeding Expert, Sarah Smith-Simpson.

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Starting solids foods roundup video

Introducing solid foods to your baby for the first time? Learn feeding tips in our short video.

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