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Feeding the Toddler

Introducing Solid Foods

When should I start introducing solid food to my baby?

Every baby's timeline of when they are ready to begin trying more solid food (not just breastmilk or formula) might be a little different. This could be as early as 4 or 6 months or later on. There are some signs that might mean your baby is ready to start trying solids food including: 

  • Being able to hold their head up for a longer period of time​

  • Baby can sit upright, propped in a high chair 

  • They seem interested in opening their mouth to taste food or they seem interested in what other people are eating

  • They are double their birth weight or 13 pounds 

Consult with your doctor before you begin to try solid foods. Always begin baby with a small amount and watch for any type of choking or allergic reaction. 

How to start introducing solid food...

Once your baby is approved to start transitioning into some solid foods start slow. First make sure they are sitting upright, preferrable in a high chair, to avoid choking and create a good position for swallowing. Introduce small amounts of foods with only one ingrediant (like pureed bananas or sweet potatoes) on a baby spoon and see if baby responds by opening their mouth without pushing their tongue forward. 

It is normal for baby to only take a small portion of food in the beginning. They will still be getting most or all of their nutrients from breastmilk or formula so do not be worried if they are not eating a lot of soilid food. Try adding a little formula or breastmilk to the food to make the taste more familiar. 

Introduce foods one at a time and read your babies cues. Introducing solds can be a big transition, so let your baby take it at their own pace! 


*Remember you want baby to have a positive relationship with food - so if they do not seem interested or show signs of disgust with certain foods do not force it on them! Leave it alone and try introducing it again later. This does not mean they are going to be picky eaters, its okay to not like all food! 

Stage 3

Stage 1

Stage 2


How to progress with solid foods...

​When it comes to introducing solid foods to a baby it is important to know how your should progress. The following stages will help your know what type of foods your baby is ready for and when. 

  • Stage 1: Purees (4 to 6 months)

    • Purees mean a very thin consistency with no chunks or pieces. These will only have one ingredient so you are only introducing one new food at a time.

  • Stage 2: Thicker consistency (6 to 9 months)

    • Stage 2 consists of purees with small chunks or a little more texture. Stage two might also include some combination of foods, as long as the consistency is the same. ​

  • Stage 3: Soft, chewable chunks (10 to 12 months)

    • Stage 3 foods include thick blended foods with chewable chunks or easily chewed table foods or "finger foods." Try letting baby feed herself with her hands or with a safe utensil during this time - just make sure everything is cut up to avoid choking.

See below for a list of foods from each stage!

Foods to try with your baby...

Stage 1

4 - 6 Months: Puree

  • Applesauce

  • Avocado

  • Bananas

  • Broccoli

  • Brown rice

  • Butternut squash

  • Carrots

  • Grains (rice or oats)

  • Green beans

  • Oatmeal

  • Peaches

  • Pears

  • Pumpkin

  • Pureed meals - chicken, turkey

  • Sweet potatoes

*Food in stage one could be bought at a store - or made at home. Just make sure it's a thin, chunk-free consistency!


Stage 2

6 - 9 Months: Thicker Consistency

  • Almond butter *Watch for allergies 

  • Asparagus

  • Beets

  • Black Beans

  • Blueberries

  • Broccoli

  • Cheese

  • Chicken 

  • Chickpeas

  • Cottage Cheese

  • Greek yogurt 

  • Egg yolks *Watch for allergies 

  • Edamame

  • Mango

  • Peanut Butter *Watch for allergies 

  • Puffs

  • Rice Cereal 

  • Salmon

  • Turkey

  • Yellow squash 

  • Zucchini  


Stage 3

10 - 12 Months: Soft Chewable Chunks

  • Avocado 

  • Fruits - ripe, cut up or mashed 

  • Meat - shredded

    • turkey​

    • ham

    • chicken

    • beef

    • mashed meatballs 

  • Pasta

  • Risotto

  • Scrambled Eggs *Watch for allergies 

  • Soft cheeses

    • Goat cheese​

  • Tofu

  • Vegetables - anything, well cooked 

Foods to avoid...

  • Honey (for the first year of life)

  • Any type of animal milk (for the first year of life)  

While you transition into solid foods, don't forget that your baby is still getting the majority of their nutrition from breastmilk or formula! Only give baby solid food while they seem interested and open their mouth for more. Once they seem to be done, don't force more on them.

Remember that around 8 - 12 months your baby should be developing their pincer grasp where they use their thumb and pointer finger to pick up smaller objects. Meal time is a great time to try this out with small pieces of food! 

Food Allergies 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving babies with no known egg allergy or eczema small forms of peanuts around 4 - 6 months. Consult with a pediatrician if you are worried about an allergy before trying.  ​

Even though your baby is trying almost all types of food - still avoid those that could be choking hazards such as whole grapes, popcorn, hard candies, or pieces of hot dogs.

More Feeding Information

This handout breaks down how to start transitioning to solid foods, specific types of foods to try during each stage and suggestions for your child's eating from 1 - 3 years. 

Handout provided by Billings Clinic

Utensil Use

In the beginning, you will use a smaller spoon to feed your baby. Silicone or softer textured spoons are best for baby's gums. As they progress through the stages you will be able to let them use their hands and fingers to explore and grasp their finger foods.

Around 10 - 12 months or when your baby starts showing interest in utensils, begin letting your them try to use a spoon for her pureed foods. 

Wood Cutlery

*These are not good utensils to use with baby

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