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When to Introduce Baby to Solid Foods

When to Introduce Baby to Solid Foods

Support your little one every step of the way in their nutritional journey

Start good eating habits early by getting your toddler excited about the right food

Help nourish their growing bodies

With every age & stage, your baby has unique developmental and nutritional needs.
  • Nutrition

    The American Academy of Pediatrics states that breast milk and formula are the sole sources of nutrition for your baby during the first 6 months. Then it’s time to introduce baby to the world of solid foods! Eating solids at this age is mostly about letting baby explore new flavors and textures and less about getting in calories, so follow their cues and have fun.

  • Brain development

    According to the Urban Child Institute, your baby’s brain doubles in size in the first year! You should look for foods with key nutrients to support their growth, per American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidance. DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain—and is essential for brain health. Choline helps support brain health and is found in eggs and fortified in various baby snacks. The body doesn’t produce this nutrient, so little ones need it in their diet. Omega-3 (ALA) is an important fatty acid found naturally in foods such as ground flaxseed.

  • Palate development

    When your baby is around 9 months of age and starting Stage 3 foods, exposing them to different flavors and textures may help them learn to love all types of food and become an adventurous eater. This can help when eating meals as a family. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, family meals can have positive effects on the development of children.

  • Dexterity

    The Mayo Clinic states that your baby could start feeding themselves at around 6 months. Signs of readiness include grabbing the spoon while you are holding it, reaching for food and grabbing objects to bring to their mouth. Start by placing small pieces of soft foods (age-appropriate or melt-in-mouth baby snacks) within reach to help them develop the fine motor skill of grabbing with their thumb and forefinger, called the pincer grasp. It’s recommended that you do not give your baby any food that requires chewing, as it could be a choking hazard.

  • Gut health & constipation

    It’s common for your baby to get constipated when you start them on solid foods. Foods high in fiber, such as prunes or whole-wheat pasta, can help provide relief.

Navigating picky eating habits

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, picky eating is a normal developmental stage for toddlers. They’re starting to develop food preferences, which can change from day to day. If you’re concerned about your child’s diet, talk to your pediatrician. They may suggest supplementing with a nutritional drink to ensure your toddler is getting the necessary nutrients to grow and develop.

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Learn how to understand your baby’s feeding cues

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Tip

When you’re in doubt or don’t know where to start, talk to your pediatrician. Your 4 month visit is the perfect time to start the conversation about food allergies and starting your baby on solids.

Look for the WIC tag located on the shelves of your local store

WIC (Women, Infants and Children) serves to safeguard the health of low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women and infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk. It provides nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating including breastfeeding promotion and support and referrals to health care.

Content provided in this guide is compiled from the American Academy of Pediatrics, HealthyChildren.org (content produced by the American Academy of Pediatrics), American Academy of Family Physicians, HealthLink BC, National Center for Biotechnology Information, the Mayo Clinic, The Urban Child Institute, the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The information is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult your pediatrician or other medical professionals on nutritional and care advice.


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