The transition to table foods should occur around your baby’s first birthday, but to meet that milestone you should start that process with them as early as 4 months of age! Keep in mind, this is a lengthy process with many developmental feeding milestones that need to be acquired over this 8-month transition. If your baby is transitioning slowly, or if you’ve started the process late, be sure to give your baby the extra time they need to practice their newly learned feeding skills and become effective, adventurous eaters.
Up to age 1, your baby may still rely on breast milk or formula for calories and nutrition. Spoon feedings should start with small amounts at first for exposure, exploration and skill building. Then, transition to baby foods, finger foods and table foods to allow for your baby to wean off breast or bottle feeding. Eventually, progress by increasing the intake by volume with the food groups below.
First introduction: 4-6 months of age
|Food||How much||How often|
|Dry infant cereal with iron||3-5 tablespoons||1-2x per day|
|Fruits (single strained, plain fruit)||1-2 tablespoons||1-2x per day|
|Vegetables (single strained, plain vegetable)||1-2 tablespoons||1-2x per day|
Skills for success during this phase include your baby being able to sit upright in a semi-supported position. During this stage your baby will be introduced to the spoon and be able to explore retrieving their food from something other than a nipple! Your baby might stick their tongue out and push food out of their mouth as they practice how to get their solid food from the front of the mouth to the back of their throat for swallowing. Don’t be worried, both of you are doing great! 🙂
Tips for success:
When introducing new foods, be sure to introduce a single new ingredient to your baby (a vegetable, or a fruit, or an infant cereal). Introduce only one new food each week to give your baby time to adjust to tolerating each new food, and to monitor for digestive difficulties or signs of an allergy. Write down how your baby reacts to each food, it helps you expand and if ever needed, it can help your pediatrician or feeding therapist with developmental or nutritional concerns. 😉
First, make cereals very soupy and thicken slowly over time as your baby is ready.
Remember, the goal is exploration and learning, not volume! If your baby only accepts very little, or food is lost due to them pushing food out of their mouth, don’t worry! Your baby still has their bottle or breastfeeding to support their nutrition during this time.
This is a challenging new concept and motor skill for your baby. They may grimace their faces and appear not to be enjoying themselves but this is not a sign of dislike. They are actually learning to tolerate new sensations, tastes, flavors and temperatures in their mouths! It can be a lot of learning and sensory processing happening all at once so they will most definitely benefit from encouragement!
Babies look to their caregivers for affirmation, encouragement and support when in unfamiliar situations, so letting your baby know they are doing a good job by encouraging them with happy facial expressions and praise will go a long way in facilitating their success!
Still have questions? Leave us a comment! We’d love to hear how you and your baby is doing on your feeding journey <3