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Your Infants Journey Towards Solid Food
Your Infant’s Journey Towards Solid Food

If you’re a parent of a baby, you might be wondering when and how to introduce solid foods to your child. Here’s a guide to the different stages of baby food, based on the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other sources.

Stage 1: Supported Sitter Purees and Cereal (4 to 6 months)

At this stage, your baby is ready to try solids if they can hold their head up, sit upright in a highchair, show interest in food, and move food from the front to the back of their mouth. You can start with pureed vegetables, fruits, meats, or iron-fortified cereals (avoid rice cereal due to arsenic risk). Your pediatrician will probably have you start with cereal and then move on to vegetables and fruit purees around five months. Mix the cereal with breast milk, formula, or water to make them smooth and easy to swallow. Start with a very small amount (1 to 2 teaspoons) and gradually increase to 1 to 2 tablespoons per feeding. Offer one single-ingredient food at a time and wait 3 to 5 days before introducing another new food. This helps you identify any potential allergies or intolerances. Some examples of stage 1 foods are:

  • Pureed peas
  • Pureed squash
  • Pureed apples
  • Pureed bananas
  • Pureed peaches
  • Pureed chicken
  • Pureed pork
  • Pureed beef
  • Oatmeal cereal
  • Barley cereal
  • Multigrain cereal
  • Rice cereal*(Limit rice cereal due to the high levels of arsenic.)

Stage 2: Thicker consistency (6 to 9 months)

At this stage, your baby can handle thicker purees and mashes that have more texture and flavor. You can also introduce combinations of foods that your baby has already tried separately. You can continue to offer breast milk or formula as the main source of nutrition, but also include some water in a cup with pediatrician approval. Some examples of stage 2 foods are:

  • Mashed avocado
  • Mashed sweet potato
  • Mashed carrot
  • Mashed potato
  • Mashed pear
  • Mashed mango
  • Mashed blueberry
  • Mashed yogurt (unsweetened)
  • Pureed lentils
  • Pureed beans
  • Pureed meats
  • Apple sauce
  • Banana baby oatmeal

Stage 3: Soft, chewable chunks (10 to 12 months)

At this stage, your baby can handle soft, bite-sized pieces of food that they can pick up and feed themselves. This helps them develop their fine motor skills and independence. You can also introduce more variety and flavor to their diet, such as spices, herbs, cheese, and eggs. However, avoid adding salt, sugar, honey, or cow’s milk until they are older than 12 months. For dairy products speak to your pediatrician before introducing these. Most pediatricians will know what your child needs based on their developmental milestones. Some examples of stage 3 foods are:

  • Soft cheese cubes
  • Tailor-made dissolvable snacks for children ages 8-12 months (I.E. Gerber, Beech-Nut, or Earth’s Best)
  • Lightly mashed pasta and sauces
  • Soft bread pieces
  • Soft-cooked grains
  • Soft-cooked meats
  • Soft-cooked green beans
  • Soft cooked zucchini pieces
  • Soft-cooked carrot pieces
  • Soft cooked apple pieces (without skin)
  • Soft cooked peach pieces (without skin)
  • Soft cooked plum pieces (without skin)
  • Soft cooked melon pieces (without skin)
  • Soft-cooked banana pieces

What to expect as children turn a year old 

As your child approaches their first birthday, they will be ready to transition to more solid foods and less breast milk or formula. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding in place of dairy, soy, or plant-based milk until a child is two years old, but you can start offering cow’s milk or fortified soy beverages in a cup. Limit the amount of dairy, soy, or plant milk such as (Ripple) to no more than 24 ounces per day. You can also offer a variety of foods from all the food groups, such as grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein, and healthy fats. Try to include foods that are rich in iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Some examples of foods for one-year-olds are:

  • Whole wheat bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Apples
  • Green Beans
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Citrus fruits, berries, and kiwi with caution
  • Broccoli, beans, cooked spinach, and peas with caution

Finding the Right Selection for Your Infant

Companies like Gerber, Beech-Nut, and Earth’s Best make it easy for you to serve organic pureed veggies, grains, and meats as well as introduce your baby to digestible solids, dairy, and top allergens. Speak with your child’s pediatrician on each visit, and develop an easy-to-follow meal plan. Avoid foods with seeds and never give your infant under the age of one honey. For more nutritional information feel free to check out Triangle Learning Center’s Blog with more early childhood development information.




Jars, Pouches, Toddler Snacks, Cereal | Beech-Nut® Baby Food (beechnut.com)