A friend of mine just started giving her 3-month-old applesauce and rice cereal. My son is just 2 weeks younger than hers, and I am wondering if I should be introducing solids soon, too. What do you think?
Wait a bit longer. Most babies are ready to start eating solid foods when they're between 4 to 6 months old. Why? Because in order to eat solid foods, an infant needs good head and neck control and should be able to sit up. Your son may not be able to do these things until he's 4 to 6 months old. Before this age, you may notice that he pushes the food out of his mouth just as quickly as you put it in. Babies start to lose this natural tongue-thrusting reflex around this time, which will make it easier for him to start eating solid foods.
And don't worry about not introducing new foods early enough. During a baby's first 6 months, water, juice, and solid foods are usually unnecessary. Up until this point, breast milk or formula provides everything babies need nutritionally.
When you begin to introduce foods to your baby, start with a single-grain baby cereal (iron-fortified rice cereal is usually the best choice) on a spoon before moving on to pureed fruits and vegetables. Introduce only one new food at a time and wait several days before starting another. This will give you a chance to see if your baby is allergic to the new food.
Also, it may take several tries before your son starts to enjoy a new food so don't give up after the first or second attempt if he doesn't seem to like it.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: August 2010