Infant Card 4
MN WIC Program
- Breastfeeding Your Baby
- Bottlefeeding Your Baby
- Your Baby Knows How Much Is Enough
- Starting Solids
- Teaching Your Baby to Use a Cup
- Starting Meats and Textures
- Starting Table and Finger Foods
- Time to Stop Using the Bottle
Breastmilk or formula is the most important food for your baby until 12 months of age. Solid food should not replace breastmilk or formula, but you can add solids when your baby is ready.
When is my baby ready for solids?
Look for your baby’s cues that he is ready for solids. He will:
- Sit up with support
- Hold his head up without help
- Reach for things and hold them
- Watch food, wait with mouth open, and then close his mouth over the food
How to start
Babies need time and practice to learn to eat from a spoon. To make it easier:
- Pick a time when both of you are in a good mood and he is not too tired or hungry.
- Have your baby sit on your lap or in an infant seat.
- Start with cereal. Mix 1 tablespoon of cereal with 3-4 tablespoons of breastmilk or formula. Keep it very thin.
- Offer cereal from a small spoon. Put the spoon to your baby’s lips. At first, he will suck food from it, using the sucking skills learned with the nipple. Don’t put cereal in a bottle or infant feeder. Your baby needs to learn how to eat from a spoon.
- If your baby has trouble swallowing, he may not be ready for solids. Wait a few weeks and try again.
- Wait until at least 8 months of age before giving high-protein, mixed cereal or Cream of Wheat.
- Choose plain dry, boxed infant cereal. You can use infant cereal until your baby’s first birthday.
Moving on to other foods
- Start puréed foods when your baby is eating about 2-3 tablespoons of cereal twice a day.
- Begin with plain, smooth vegetables and fruits like carrots, green beans, squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, green peas, pears, applesauce, bananas or peaches.
- Breastfed babies need plain, puréed meats or other protein foods after 6 months of age.
- Always use a small spoon.
- Start foods one at a time. Wait 5 or more days to see how your baby accepts them. If a new food causes stomachache, diarrhea or skin rash, wait a month and try it again.
- If using jarred food, listen for the “pop” when you open a new jar. If it doesn’t “pop,” throw it out or take it back to the store.
- Always use a dish. Don’t feed your baby right out of the jar. Saliva will make the food spoil faster. Throw out food left in the dish after a meal.
- Use refrigerated baby food within 2 days.
- Make your own baby foods. Purée soft foods until smooth.
- Your baby’s tastes are different than yours. His food doesn’t need salt, sugar, butter, margarine, gravy or seasoning. The only seasoning your baby needs is love!
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. Ask your doctor if your baby is getting enough fluoride.
Feeding guide. Your baby may eat more or less than this. Let your baby decide how much he wants.
Breastfeed: 6-8 or more times throughout the day and night
Breastmilk or iron-fortified formula: 27-49 ounces daily
Infant Solids: 1-8 tablespoons daily, fed from a spoon