Your little peanut is growing up, and you may be wondering if it’s time for their taste buds to branch out a little.
So, when can babies eat baby food? It may be sooner than you think.
Like most things when it comes to babies, the answer is: it depends.
The general consensus for when to start baby food is about 6 months, but there’s a bit more to it than that.
We’ll talk you through when to get started on baby’s first foods.
In this article: 📝
- What is the first stage of weaning?
- What are the best foods to introduce to baby first?
- Can I give my three-month-old baby food?
- What can a four-month-old eat?
- What should my 6 month old be eating?
What is the first stage of weaning?
We spoke to Sophie Baron, founder of Mamamade about exactly what that first stage of weaning looks like.
“Your baby will only eat a very small amount of solids at first, perhaps just one or two teaspoons.
One meal per day is usually enough at this stage, and most parents find the morning works best.
At this stage, their intake of breastmilk or formula won’t decrease much (or at all!), as this will continue to be their main source of nutrition.”
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Kacie Barnes adds “babies generally get much more adept at eating when they develop what we call the pincer grasp – and this usually gets better around 9-10 months.
Around then, you might notice your baby taking in more solids since they’re more adept at getting food to their mouth.
This is when you may see a decrease in breastmilk or formula consumption as the scales start to tip in the direction of solids.”
What are the best foods to introduce to baby first?
“The best first foods for babies are foods such as fruits and vegetables that are either cooked until soft, mashed, or pureed”, suggests Baron.
“Avocado, boiled broccoli florets, and carrots (boiled soft) are great options for this stage.”
Plain yogurt, unflavored hummus, thinned nut butters, and soft cheeses like ricotta are also nutritious options that will do wonders for baby’s growth.
For the ultimate brain boost, you could even add a healthy fat to cooked veggies, like olive oil or avocado oil.
If you wish start baby exploring different flavors, Mamamade’s 100% organic purees are a fantastic options that freeze well.
Exclusive offer for Peanut readers: Mamamade delivers fresh, frozen healthy baby meals directly to your door. Get 25% off your first 3 boxes with the code PEANUT25.
Can I give my three-month-old baby food?
Even if it feels like your baby might be hungry for more, three months is still a little too early to try and give them something other than breast milk or baby formula right now.
While you don’t have to wait until your baby is exactly six months old to start introducing them to food, they’re still a bit too young at the three-month mark.
It might be tempting to start feeding them to stop them from being so fussy or to help them sleep through the night but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends waiting until baby is around six months
Is it better to start baby food at 6 months or 4 months?
It’s ideal to wait until 6 months to introduce solid food, but it’s true that some babies are ready for solid food as early as 4 months.
Your pediatrician will be your most helpful guide here, and they will likely suggest that you judge your baby’s readiness by whether they’ve met certain physical milestones.
So, when do babies start eating baby food?
Signs that your baby is ready for solid food are:
- They can sit up: This doesn’t need to be completely unassisted, but with support and maintaining good head and neck control.
- They show interest in food: This could look like opening their mouths in response to food, reaching for your food at meals, or watching you eat.
- They’ve lost the tongue-trust reflex: if you put food or a spoon in their mouth, they accept it rather than pushing it out with their tongue.
- They’re developing good hand-to-mouth coordination: They are regularly bringing things like toys to their mouth.
Even if your baby starts solids, formula or breastmilk will still be their main source of nutrition until they are 12 months old.
For the first couple months, your baby will probably only eat a spoonful or two of food a day
“And it’ll be quite the mess!” says Barnes.
“You might wonder whether they’re even getting any calories.
They are intaking some, but they’re also learning textures, self-feeding, and lots of valuable eating skills.”
What can a four-month-old eat?
If you do decide to start earlier than the recommended six months, foods should be very simple.
They will need to be pureed or very soft.
Try one food at a time to rule out any allergies.
Good options to try are:
- Pureed oats mixed with breastmilk or formula
- Pureed fruit and vegetables, such as bananas, avocados, apple sauce, pears, or butternut squash.
What should my 6 month old be eating?
By 6 months old, your baby is ready for some finger foods.
The sky’s the limit here, though you should still avoid choking hazards.
As for allergens, Barnes explains “we actually recommend introducing allergens early and often, one at a time!
Research shows that this can be protective against the development of food allergies.”
All food pieces should be a similar size to your pinkie finger or smaller, and anything like grapes or cherry tomatoes should be sliced in quarters at this age.
The easiest way to introduce solid foods is to let your baby guide you.
They’ll definitely let you know if they’re hungry and are pretty good at getting a sense of when they’re full, too.
It’s okay if your baby doesn’t have food at every meal, or even skips a day of food entirely!
As long as they are still getting breastmilk or formula, their nutritional needs will be met.