HomeBrowse by agesNewborn + Baby + Toddler + Preschooler
Introducing Food into Your Child’s Diet

Introducing solid foods is an exciting milestone for both baby and parents! Find out more about the types of foods you can introduce to your baby – and when.

Baby boy eating soup wearing green bib

Your baby has likely been watching you and others eat foods with wide eyes, seemingly asking, “Oooh, can I try that?” It can be tempting to offer various foods for your child, but it’s important to know what’s appropriate for your baby’s age and stage of growth. Always consult your pediatrician for specific guidelines.

Appropriate Ages for Drink Options: For babies up until 6 months old, breastmilk or formula are the only drinks their bodies can process. At 6 months old, you can introduce small amounts of water into your baby’s diet. At age one, water and whole milk are best – and at two years of age, water and reduced-fat milk. Always consult with your pediatrician first; there can be variances with these recommendations.

Appropriate Ages for Food Options: At around 4 months old, you can usually start introducing solids into your baby’s diet. Watch as your baby begins to explore the wonderful world of food!

Tips on Introducing Foods:

  • Start slowly. Introduce one type of easily digestible food at a time. It’s important to closely watch your child as he or she tries food because of potential allergic reactions (swelling, rashes, fever, etc.). If your child has any reaction to a food, talk with your pediatrician immediately.

  • Start small. You’ll want to make sure the food is pureed or cut up into very small pieces to avoid choking risks. Also, your baby only needs to eat a little bit at a time.

  • Start healthy. Children’s tastes buds and food preferences are shaped within their first 2 years of life, so give your baby healthy food options from the start, including lots of veggies.

Appropriate Amounts of Food:

  • 4 to 5 months old: Your baby should have solid foods only once a day. Breastmilk and/or formula remain your baby’s primary source of nutrition at this early age.

  • 6 to 8 months: Your baby should eat two small meals a day in addition to breastmilk and/or formula, along with some water.

  • 9 to 11 months: Your baby should eat around three meals a day in addition to breastmilk and/or formula, along with some water.

  • 12 months and older: Your child should be eating around three meals and two snacks a day with milk or water.

QUICK TIP: Is your baby or toddler not eating much? Does he eat some days and not much other days? These scenarios are normal. Babies and toddlers still have very small stomachs. They also listen to their bodies and eat when they are hungry. Use the palm of your hand as a serving guide: the amount of food you can fit in it is the right portion for your child.

First 5 California
Contributed by:
First 5 California
Find this useful?
Join our First 5 family – it’s free!
Enjoy personalized content based on your child’s age every time you visit our site.