Tiny Feeding Guide: 0 - 6 Months
- Before the age of one, most babies are more open to new flavors than they will ever be again in their lives. It’s actually texture that matters more to your baby at first.
- We recommend starting with a slightly sweet vegetable—carrot and sweet potato are great choices—or a non-sweet fruit, like avocado.
- We like the 80/20 approach, rooted in common sense, balance and moderation.
Development at this age...
Babies may begin reaching for food off your plate as early as 4 months, but most pediatricians recommend waiting to start solid food until about 6 months. At the end of the day, you know your baby best, but when in doubt, here are some signs that your baby might be ready to explore food:
- Sitting up without support
- Showing interest in food; your little one might stare or grab at food, reach for your plate, or open her mouth and mimic eating motions
- Diminishing of the tongue-thrust reflex; this reflex causes your baby to push food out with his tongue, and as it lessens, he is ready to swallow more consistently
When babies first begin eating solids, they don't need much. Most of their nutrition will still come from breast milk or formula. Remember that your baby continues to require between 24 and 40 oz of breastmilk or formula daily. To start, offer about 1 teaspoon of solid food at a sitting. If the food is too thick, you can thin it with a little breastmilk, formula, or water. As your baby becomes more proficient at chewing and swallowing, you can adjust the consistency. Keep feeding as long as your little one keeps opening or reaching for the spoon—babies have a fantastic ability to self-regulate!
Good foods for this age
If you're worried about choosing the "right" first food, you're not alone. Believe it or not, babies are highly receptive to the full spectrum of flavors—sweet, savory, umami… Before the age of one, most babies are more open to new flavors than they will ever be again in their lives. It’s actually texture that matters more to your baby at first.
We recommend starting with a slightly sweet vegetable—carrot and sweet potato are great choices—or a non-sweet fruit, like avocado. While your baby will almost certainly love the sweet taste of a peach or mango, for some little ones, introducing super-sweet fruits right off the bat makes it harder to introduce veggies later. Some might go as far as to recommend avoiding fruits for weeks, but we like the 80/20 approach, rooted in common sense, balance and moderation. The basic idea is that most of the time you feed your baby real, whole foods, and for the other 20%, you can feel free to indulge! (We're talking birthday parties, barbeques, play dates...) We're big fans of Leslie Schilling and Wendy Jo Peterson who also advocate for this idea in their book, Born to Eat: Whole, Healthy Foods From Baby’s First Bite. At the end of the day, there's no such thing as perfection and when it comes to feeding your child, you know best!
But back to veggies. Your baby might surprise you with her love of green beans, peas, cauliflower… even spinach and beets! So feel free to offer them!
Here are a few more ingredient ideas: (Keeping in mind, anything soft and ripe is excellent!)
- Veggies: sweet potato, yam, root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, turnips), spinach, kale, swiss chard, green beans, summer squash, winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, asparagus, beets, bell peppers
- Fruits: avocado, banana, apple, pear, pumpkin, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries, prunes, figs, dates, cranberries, mango, papaya, melon
- Grains/Beans: beans, lentils, oatmeal, rice