A Simple Schedule of Introducing Baby Food

A Simple Schedule of Introducing Baby Food - Month by Month, Food by Food. Excellent Reference! It’s the 6-month panic.

When you realize that your baby should start moving towards eating semi-solid foods, but you have no idea which foods to start him on.

His tummy is tricky.  There are some things that teeny tiny gut is ready for.

Like pureed sweet potatoes. 

There are somethings his tummy is NOT ready for.

Like steak, Mountain Dew, and PB/Honey Sandwiches.

You let Grandpa feed him those and he will be speeding down the express train to Vomitville. 

Babies have sensitive little tummies.

Their digestive systems are still growing.

Introducing baby food in the wrong way can leave to an upset stomach, or even *gulp* an ER visit.

Fortunately, the “when” is a pretty easy question.

And since I love to impress people by tackling the hard easy questions, I’ve done all the research and compiled it in this nice little post here for your reference enjoyment.  (Because referencing things is soooo enjoyable!)

Let’s start with my Number One Rule of introducing Baby Food.

Heather’s No. 1 Rule of Introducing Baby Food: Make it Choke-Proof.

I have a terrible, gut-wrenching, bile-wretching fear of watching one of my kids choke.

Actually, let me revise that.

I have a terrible, gut-wrenching, bile-wretching fear of watching anyone’s kids choke.  (That means yours.)

So my first rule is to transform that food into something that they absolutely cannot choke on.  This means…

  • Overcooking, pureeing, and straining foods for beginning eaters so there are no lumps whatsoever.
  • Adding breastmilk or formula to thin cereals and purees out and get the right consistency.
  • Dicing pieces of overripe fruit and rolling them in oat bran (prevents slipping down the wrong tube) for older babies & toddlers.

Remember, babies gum food, they don’t chew it.  Keep foods mushy until his molars arrive in his second year.

If you don’t want to mess with steamer baskets (and who does, really) check out God’s gift to homemade baby foodies.

Foods Safe to Introduce at 6 Months

For babies just starting their eating adventures, think “tasting liquids” not “eating solids”. His food should be literally dripping off the spoon.

As he starts this lesson in The Art of Feeding My Face, don’t be surprised when he shoves most of the food out with his tongue.

That’s actually not a “I hate this food” message.

It takes different tongue movements to eat off a spoon than to suck out a bottle or breast.

In his mind, he’s trying to breastfeed this new-fangled “drink” off of some silly cup-on-a-stick.

At this age, eating solids is less about nutrition (he will get most/all his nutrition from breastmilk and formula) and more about tongue practice.

If he doesn’t seem interested or isn’t “getting it” after a few days, shelve solids for a few more weeks.

I didn’t start introducing baby food to my youngest Bella until almost 8 months.  She had NO interest in eating solids, and since she was still gaining weight, the doctor gave me the a-okay in waiting. Just because he’s 6 months doesn’t mean he’s ready to eat solid foods.  You are the expert on your baby remember? If he’s still growing, don’t feel you have to rush him into solids.

Cooked Fruits & Veggies at 6 Months

Blend up these fruits and cooked vegetables with formula or breastmilk, strain to remove any lumps, and then freeze in ice-cube trays for homemade healthy baby food.  (Takes 20 minutes once a week and will save you a fortune!)

  • Ripe Avocado
  • Ripe Banana
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Pears
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Winter Squash

Grains & Dairy at 6 Months

Making your own baby cereals at home is eye-rolling easy.  (Not to mention better for your baby nutritionally.)

Grind the grains before cooking (with a clean coffee grinder or the Beaba), and then cook on the stove using 2:1 ratio.  (Example: 2 cups of water for 1 cup of grain)

Finally, thin it out with breastmilk or formula to make it safely soupy.

  • Brown Rice
  • Barley
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Whole-milk plain yogurt

Obviously, that’s going to make a LOT of baby cereal.  Divvy it up into smaller containers and refrigerate for 2-3 days.  Then pop it in the microwave, stirring in an ice cube to cool and thin it down a little.

Introducing Baby Food at 7 Months

You may be able to thicken the food a little, but you still want it the texture of heavy cream.

This is also the age when you can start offering diluted fruit juices:  apple, apricot, grape, pear, papaya, pear, peach, and prune.  Only offer juice once a day.  Formula, breastmilk, and water should be his primary liquids at this age.

A Simple Schedule of Introducing Baby Food - Month by Month! Add these items to your previous baby food list:

  •  Peaches (skin free)
  • Asparagus
  • Carrots
  • Green Beans
  • Peas (cooked and pureed only)
  • Summer Squash
  • White Potatoes
  • Sugar Snap Beans
  • Yellow Beans
  • Waxed Beans
  • Celery (cooked, not for snacks!)
  • Silken Tofu (blended)
  • Cottage Cheese (small curd)
  • Egg Yolks (hard cooked and mashed)
  • Poultry (cooked and pureed)
  • Beef (cooked and pureed)
  • Veal (cooked and pureed)
  • Lamb (cooked and pureed)

Foods Safe to Introduce at 8 Months

If he seems like he’s understanding the “gumming” concept of eating, let him experiment with a few small finger foods (like Cheerios).  Give him only one or two at first, or he may attempt to chipmunk-cheek himself.

Since he’s just a beginner, make sure everything you give him can be swallowed whole.  You may also want to roll diced pieces of fruit in oat bran to further protect against choking.  (Slippery food is easily choked on.)

Here’s the list of items you can add on to his food list at 8 months.

  •  Apricots
  • Apples (peeled)
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Plums
  • Watermelon
  • Grapes (diced only!)
  • Broccoli
  • Okra
  • Tahini Spread (Sesame Seed Paste)
  • Ground nuts (if no family nut allergy history)
  • Cheese (shredded or grated)
  • Finely ground seeds
  • Lean fish like flounder, sole, cod, catfish, haddock (cooked and pureed)

Introducing Baby Foods at 9 Months

This is a great time to introduce your infant to cooked beans, lentils, and split peas.  Cook them, then mash them into a paste before serving.  This is an excellent way for your baby get some bone-and-brain building proteins!

These foods, when cooked, can be added to your baby food list:

  • Pineapple
  • Cherries (finely diced, pits removed)
  • Blueberries (quartered)
  • Strawberries (diced)
  • Blackberries (diced)
  • Raspberries (diced)
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Onions (diced and cooked)
  • Beets
  • Eggplant
  • Rhubarb
  • Rutabaga
  • Turnips
  • Raw Parsley (finely chopped)
  • Mustard Greens
  • Collard Greens
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Mushrooms (diced)
  • Pork and ham (cooked and pureed)
  • liver and kidney (cooked and pureed)
  • fatty fish like tuna, halibut, bluefish, sardines, and salmon (cooked and pureed)

Foods Safe to Introduce at 10 Months

You can begin to introduce finely grated raw fruits and vegetables as fun new finger snacks at this age.

Raw (peeled) apples, summer squash, sweet peppers, and carrots, finely shredded provide a new texture for him to try with his new teeth.

Here are a few things you can add to his diet this month.

  • Sweet Bell Peppers (finely grated)
  • Lettuce (finely grated)
  • Bulgur Grain Cereal
  • Cornmeal
  • Whole Grain Pastas (small enough to swallow whole)
  • Thinned creamy peanut butter (if no family history of nut allergies)

Introducing Baby Foods at 12 Months

The first birthday is a HUGE milestone for your little guy!  Besides eating his first cake and ripping open gifts, a whole new culinary world of options opens up.

This is also a great time to introduce the wonders of The Sippy Cup.  Try introducing it for one meal a day, and eventually replace the bottle altogether.

Here are the foods your baby can start enjoying at 12 months.  Continue to dice and overcook these foods.  Lumpy is good.  Hard chunks is not.

  • Honey
  • Orange Juice (diluted)
  • Oranges
  • Clementines
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato juice
  • Wheat Germ
  • Cow’s milk
  • Hard-cooked Egg Whites
  • Shellfish (cooked and finely chopped)

Foods Safe to Introduce After 18 Months

By this age, there are very few foods your baby can’t chow down on.  Here are the final food items you can add to his diet this month.

  • Cabbage
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers (grated)

See How Easy That Was?

Introducing baby foods is one of the highlights of parenting in the first year.

What parent hasn’t grabbed the phone in a panic to capture the first taste of a lemon?

Or the final smear of a new sweet potato hair style?

Watching your baby experience new tastes and textures is one of my favorite things about babyhood.

Which new tastes does your baby like the most right now?  Which does he hate?

Baby Food Resources

  • If you’re just starting to think about saving money by making baby food at home (it’s beyond easy) Wholesome Baby Food is a good place to start.
  • My favorite bib: easy to wipe clean, catches food before it feeds the hungry dogs prowling under the table, durable enough to stick around for future siblings.
  • Save money on jarred food too!  Search this coupon database for “baby food” and see what coupons you can grab!
  • One of the joys of having more kids is discovering new cool baby gadgets.  I uncovered the Boon Squirt Dispensing Spoon with Bella.  The spoon is the container! *mind blown*
  • Defrost, steam, cook, and puree in a single marvelous teeny tiny appliance. 
  • Want a DIY mess-free bib for restaurants? Glue a pretty ribbon longer than your baby’s neck  to two binder clips.  Then when you get to the restaurant, clip on a napkin. No more stinky bibs lost in the diaper bag!
baby milestone workbook
 I ♥ honesty.  (See my disclaimers)

Comments

  1. http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/2857/20130708/timing-babies-first-solid-meal-tied-type-1-diabetes.htm
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324662404578334423524696016.html

    Or, you can go with recent recommendations and start it all between 4-6 months and lower the risks for allergies, asthma and Type 1 Diabetes. Especially if you have the benefit of breastfeeding, introducing while the breastmilk is the main part of your baby’s diet will help train baby’s system and lower risks. :)

    • Thanks for the links Emily! I’m sure they will be very helpful for parents in considering when is best to start solids with their baby. Very interesting stuff!

  2. There is no particular time to start solid food for babies, you can realize it baby’s activity. In these days babies become restless and seem they need feeding more than the normal days. All mothers are advised that instead of increasing number of breast feeding diet you can introduce bland cereal mixed with breast milk for couple of weeks so that your baby will not feel the change in taste. . For dairy products you can rely on breast milk or formula powdered milk. When it’s comes to grain barley, rice and oat meal is best for babies.

  3. Hi Heather, my son is now 14 months and ‘sprouting’ his first two molars (half in-half out)…although he’s pretty good at finishing his bottle before falling asleep, but yeah he’s still using a bottle instead of a sippy cup. Anytime I’ve given him a sippy cup, he’s flung it around to get the water everywhere..Any tips on how to get the milk into the sippy cup then tummy instead of milk fountains ?

    • Here’s a secret, Tarnya…I didn’t wean my youngest off the bottle until she was almost 20 months. Use the sippy cup as much as you can during the day, but don’t feel bad about letting him use a bottle for the last feeding of the day. You can also get sippy cups with a flexible tip, that could help him make the transition a little better. I’d set the sippy aside for a week or so, and then try again. It’s not the end of the world for a 15 month – 24 month old to be using a bottle at the end of the day, after all, many mothers breastfeed that long! You will get him moved over eventually. :-)

  4. I stumbled across your blog on Pinterest and I subscribed right away. Being the only mom amongst my friends I was dying to find an outlet to have my questions answered in a clear and positive way. This blog has it all!

  5. Hi, this article may bear an update. My pediatrician said there are studies now that show that giving Dairy other than formula (which is broken down dairy for easier digestion) before the first birthday can cause serious gastrointestinal issues. Basically, baby’s guts are just not ready to process dairy until they’re one year old, and that includes yogurt. Thanks so much for all the useful information, you are the only baby blog I subscribe to and read regularly.

    • Kerry, thanks SO MUCH for sharing this new information with me! I just sat in on a pediatrician’s talk about solid foods and he affirmed that some dairy products (like yogurt) are safe to use before the first birthday, but items like whole milk are absolutely NOT okay until after the first birthday.

      That said, that’s just one doctor and there’s a TON of information changing all the time. Would you mind sharing the articles/studies that you were reading that discussed the yogurt issue? I absolutely want to change this information if recent studies are saying otherwise! I really appreciate the help to make sure this information is as current and up-to-date as possible!

  6. Thanks so much for the article and month-by-month suggestions! May I ask the theory behind waiting so long to introduce berries and corn? Are they harder on their digestive systems than other foods?

    • Kindra, great question! Corn is harder to digest – it can sometimes pass completely through the stool without breaking down. Since it’s been linked to digestive issues, it’s usually recommended to wait until after 18 months. That said, if corn is a staple in your home go ahead and bring it up to your doctor and see what he says. :-)

      When I originally wrote that article, they had placed berries as a post-birthday food, mostly because of a choking hazard and acidity. However, when I re-researched that (due to your awesome comment!) they have been moved up to “okay” for 9 months. Just dice them nicely so they can be swallowed hole. I’ve updated the article with the change.

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