What should you feed your baby and when? This is a topic that most new parents are consumed with — and rightfully so! It is super important that you know exactly which foods to feed your baby and at what age.
We’ve created this month-by-month baby feeding guide to help you know what foods to feed your newborn as he or she grows. Just keep in mind that this guide is general information; always consult your doctor or a health professional with specific questions or concerns about your baby. What a child eats and how much they eat of it differs from baby to baby, so don’t worry yourself if yours strays from the guide.
A Few Baby Feeding Tips
Before you read through this guide, there are a few things we feel are worth mentioning about your baby’s feedings[i]:
- Consult with your child’s doctor before your baby moves on to solid foods.
- When your baby starts eating solids, introduce one new food at a time. Give the new food three to five days before introducing another new food. This way you will know what foods your baby is allergic to or can’t tolerate.
- Avoid salt and sugar if you make homemade infant food and remember to wash and peel fruits and veggies.
- Avoid cow’s milk until the baby turns one.
- Use a spoon to feed your baby.
Contact your child’s doctor to learn more about the do’s and don’ts of feeding your baby.
Your Baby’s Month-by-Month Feeding Guide
Here’s a month-by-month feeding guide so you know what to expect at mealtimes during your baby’s first year.
Birth to 4 Months
This time period could very well be both the easiest and most difficult time in terms of feeding. The only thing your baby eats from his or her birth to 4 months old is breast milk or formula, so you don’t have to worry about solids or pureed foods quite yet.
For up to the first six months, you can count on breastmilk or formula for your baby’s mealtime feedings. Remember that your little one’s digestive tract is still developing at this stage, so no solid foods allowed!
4 to 6 Months
Time to be on lookout — solid foods may be just on the horizon for your baby!
At the 4- to 6-month period, you can start looking for signs that your baby is ready to move on to solid foods. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, your child may be ready to try solids when he or she:
- Can sit up without support.
- Loses the tongue-thrust reflex and no longer pushes solids out of his or her mouth.
- Attempts to grab food and put it in his or her mouth.
If you notice any of these signs with your baby, consult your child’s doctor about moving on to solids. Once you get the go-ahead from the doctor, you can start experimenting with pureed foods (sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, and more).
You also can give your baby single-grain cereals by mixing it into breast milk or baby formula. Fortified cereals are wonderful for giving your baby the much-needed iron that begins to deplete around 6 months of age.
Lot’s of moms like Gerber Organic Baby Cereal. This organic cereal can be mixed with your own breast milk and served to your growing baby. It is a wonderful source of iron and contains many other essential vitamins and minerals to help your baby grow.
Remember to introduce one food at a time and start with baby-sized bites. What exactly does ‘baby-sized’ mean? It means start off with 1 tablespoon of pureed food and gradually increase over time.
6 to 8 Months
The 6- to 8-month diet is pretty much the same as the 4- to 6-month diet. Continue to experiment and introduce new foods into your baby’s diet. Your baby will still be breastfeeding but can continue trying different pureed fruits and veggies.
We are big fans of the Earth’s Best Stages 1–3 Organic Baby Food, which offers a wide range of fruit and veggie purees for your baby to enjoy. An all-organic puree brand means no additives, no preservatives, and no added salt or sugar.
8 to 10 Months
When the 8- to 10-month period comes, you may start to notice changes in the way your little one interacts with food.
Your baby may be able to transfer items from one hand to the other and probably tries to put everything into his or her mouth. And let’s not forget the pincer grasp, when your baby starts picking up objects with the thumb and forefinger.
What will your baby’s diet look like at this age? Yes, breast milk or formula is still part of the diet. But they can also eat finger foods, such as O-shaped cereal, small bits of scrambled eggs, spiral pasta, and crackers.
Speaking of crackers, The Happy Baby Organic Teethers is an awesome teething cracker with different flavors, made from all organic fruits and veggies. Trust us, when the time comes, your baby will love teething on these delicious crackers!
At 8 to 10 months old, your baby can also start dipping into small bits of protein, such as meat, boneless fish, tofu, and beans. Small amounts of soft pasteurized cheese, cottage cheese, and unsweetened yogurt is also fine, but make sure the dairy doesn’t exceed 1/4 to 1/3 cup per day!
10 to 12 Months
It’s the final countdown! Almost one year has come and gone…where does the time go?!
By 10 to 12 months, your baby will be swallowing food more easily and no longer pushing the food out of the mouth with his or her tongue. You will also notice more teeth coming in — don’t be surprised if your child upgrades from using his or her fingers to using a spoon during mealtime.
In addition to breast milk or formula and the other foods your baby will have tried by this age, you can also start introducing combo foods, such as mac and cheese. And instead of the pureed fruits and veggies, your baby can eat them in mashed or chopped form.
We get it momma — upgrading to a spoon? Incoming teeth? Mashed foods? These are all big milestones for your little one, so take them in. As hard as it may be to see your baby growing so fast, remember that he or she is developing and healthy, thanks to you. You’re doing amazing, girl!
Time to Dig In!
There you have it: your month-by-month guide on what to feed your baby the first year. Remember that your baby is unlike any other, so don’t worry if he or she doesn’t follow this baby feeding guide exactly. And don’t forget to talk to your child’s doctor when you think your little one is ready to move on to solid foods.
Mealtime with your baby is just as fun as it is messy — and trust us, it’s very messy! Enjoy this first year, momma, and watch as your newborn grows into a healthy one-year-old right before your eyes.