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?
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?
- Can I give my three-month-old baby food?
- Can I give my four-month-old baby food?
- What can a four-month-old eat?
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.
Their intake of breastmilk or formula won’t decrease much (or at all!), as this will continue to be their main source of nutrition.
The best first foods for babies are foods such as fruits and vegetables that are either cooked until soft, mashed, or pureed.
Avocado, boiled broccoli florets, and carrots (boiled soft) are great options for this stage.
Our purees are a great place for you to start your little one exploring different flavors.”
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.
Though some studies do suggest that giving your baby solid foods will help them (and you) sleep better, most babies are not physically ready for solid food at 3 months old.
Can I give my four-month-old baby food?
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 independently and with good head control.
- They show interest in food and open their mouths in response to food.
- If you put food or a spoon in their mouth, they accept it rather than pushing it out with their tongue.
Even if your baby starts solids at 4 months old, 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.
What can a four-month-old eat?
Foods for a 4-month-old 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 cereals, like oat, brown rice, or whole grain, mixed with breastmilk/formula.
- Pureed fruit and vegetables, such as bananas, avocados, apple sauce, pears, or butternut squash.
By 6 months old, your baby is ready for some finger foods.
The sky’s the limit here, though you should still avoid obvious allergens and choking hazards.
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 halves or quarters.
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.
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