Ultimate Guide To Introducing Your Little One to Solids

baby eating solids

Is your baby ready to transition to solid foods? It’s an exciting question to consider! This is a big step for both of you on your unique feeding journey. Every child grows, learns, behaves, thinks—and even eats!—differently, so there is no perfect time to start introducing your baby to solid foods or to begin weaning.

Many mamas are so used to breast milk being the ultimate food and primary source of nutrition for their babies that they aren’t sure which foods are best to introduce first. This is completely normal! Remember, this isn’t just a transition for your little one; it’s a big step for you, too. 

Here are some answers to the most common questions we get from moms during this process and our top tips for starting (and pushing through) this journey with your baby:

When Should I Introduce Solid Foods?

Typically, experts recommend that you begin introducing solids to your baby around 4-6 months of age—if and when your baby is ready. But there is no rush! Some babies don’t get excited by solid foods until 9 or 10 months. Rest assured that breast milk provides all the necessary nutrition for your little one to grow and thrive.

Your baby’s digestive system won’t be ready for solid foods until around that 4-6-month timeframe anyway, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be exclusively breastfed until at least 6 months of age.

From 6-12 months old, breastmilk or formula will still offer most of the nutrition your baby needs, but solid food will gradually take on a larger part of their diet as they approach the 1-year mark.

Signs Your Baby Is Ready for Solids

When your baby is between 4 and 6 months, you may start to notice some of the following signs, which may indicate that they are ready to begin the transition to some solid foods:

  • They can sit up (with support) and can hold their head and neck up well (also known as having good "neck control".
  • Their birth weight has doubled.
  • They are interested in what you’re eating (and may even try to grab food from your plate)!
  • They can keep food in their mouth rather than letting it dribble out.
  • They show signs of hunger beyond what they normally eat, clamor for more food when the bottle is empty, or want you to nurse them more often.

Which Foods Are Best To Start With?

Okay, so now you know the signs and may even be noticing them! But what foods are best to start with? How do you know what your baby will respond to? Are some foods better than others?

We recommend starting with a good mix of pureed foods like mashed fruits and vegetables, such as sweet potato, banana, and blueberry mixtures, or foods with similar textures. You may even want to try mixing a little cereal with your baby’s breast milk to get them more comfortable with the heavier food texture. This method will require you to continue some bottle feeding.

Expanding the Menu

As your baby gets more comfortable with eating solid foods, you may want to gradually expand their menu to include a wider variety of foods. As they progress past purees, some parents choose to offer small pieces of soft foods, such as peas, that babies can pick up and eat on their own. These “finger foods” are typically recommended at around 9 months of age, but again, this is dependent on your baby’s readiness.

Allowing your little one to pick up their own food can be a great activity that helps them develop the motor skills associated with eating, too. Just be sure that the pieces are super small and very soft to avoid a choking hazard, and always sit with your baby when they are eating, even if you are not actively spoon-feeding.

This is also a good time to begin to develop a feeding and eating routine for your baby, similar to your breastfeeding journey. Many parents start to structure their mealtimes in a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks format, but as always, be sure to listen to your child’s fullness cues! As long as they are gaining weight properly, things should be headed in the right direction.

While fully breastfed babies do not need additional water to stay hydrated, as they transition to solids, they may need to slowly increase their water intake. As they get sippy cup ready, try incorporating some water, fruit juice, or milk into their diet!

Here is a list of foods you can offer your little one to help them get all the vitamins and minerals they need:

Green Vegetables

Green vegetables are easy to steam and puree. Plus, veggies are full of essential vitamins and minerals that are great for your baby. Examples of good green veggies to try are kale, spinach, and Swiss chard. Research shows that those who consume green, leafy vegetables are less inclined to get diseases and can maintain a healthy weight. Other greens to try are broccoli, green beans, zucchini, and asparagus. One tip mamas find helpful is eating them in front of your baby so they feel inclined to try them, as well.


Avocados are a great source of beneficial monounsaturated fat and fiber, which means they’re the ultimate snack for your little one. Plus, they are smooth, easy to mash, and don’t require a lot of chewing, making them a perfect first food. If you want to make the texture even more pureed, try adding breast milk or formula to experiment with consistency!

Well-Cooked Pasta

While you may prefer your pasta on the el dente side, try leaving it on the stovetop a little longer before feeding it to your baby. Well-cooked pasta will be, well, mushier, and therefore much easier for your baby to eat. Depending on the type of pasta you cook, it can introduce whole grains and other good nutrients to their diet. Just make sure it has cooled down before you serve it!

Tips for Preparing Food

When introducing solids, store-bought baby food or homemade baby food are both fine! Do whatever works best for you, your baby, and your family.

If you want to prepare the food for your child at home, remember these tips:

  • Add breast milk or water to infant cereals and cooked grains to make them easier to swallow.
  • Boil and mash fruits and vegetables before serving (you can even use a food processor if you have one).
  • Remove skin, seeds, pits, or any other choking hazards from food before serving.
  • Cut up any large foods into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Food Allergies

While it’s true that any food could potentially cause an allergic reaction in your baby, there are a few foods that fall under the most common allergen categories in children. 

Some of these foods include:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts or nut butters
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Soy

Can You Prevent Food Allergies?

There has been conflicting research about whether preventing food allergies in your little one is possible, and if it is, how to do it. More recent research suggests that early introduction of the top allergenic foods—around that same 4-6 month mark—after starting with a few low-risk foods like vegetables may offer more benefit to allergen prevention than delaying until the baby is a year or older.

Though we may not be able to prevent food allergies altogether, it is helpful to be aware of the most common culprits and to introduce them with caution. Allergens should be introduced one at a time, about 3 days apart to allow for any symptoms of allergy to appear before introducing the next new food.

Always speak to your pediatrician about introducing allergens. Also, be sure to discuss any foods that are known to be problematic for parents or older siblings, as there may be an increased risk for your baby given this history of food allergy. Though allergy testing is often imperfect in infants, it may be recommended in certain cases.

Signs of an Allergic Reaction

The most common signs of an allergic reaction in a baby are:

  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty swallowing

These symptoms may appear within minutes to hours after introducing a new food. If your baby is acting normally (and with your health care provider's guidance) you may be able to manage mild symptoms like a rash at home. 

But trust your gut—if you see any signs that concern you after introducing a new food, call 911 or your health care provider immediately.

Tips From Fellow Mamas!

Some of our favorite bloggers shared their babies' first experience with solids. Take it from your fellow mamas: This process includes a lot of trial and error. Don’t be discouraged if it takes some experimenting!

“My son's first solid food was a pureed apple that I had steamed—he didn’t like it one bit! After trying to give him apples for 3 days I was nervous that I was going to have a baby who only wanted to breastfeed. When I moved on to veggies, my kid went CRAZY! He couldn’t get enough. After introducing enough foods, I realized what my son likes and what he doesn’t. So far, the only food that has made him cry is spinach.” — Amber Mancha

“My advice when introducing solids is to take it slow because the baby is learning. Wait at least three days before introducing a new food. If the baby doesn't seem to like the food, don't give up on it forever. There is so much advice and information out there. Take it all into consideration, but ultimately do what's best for you and your little one.” — Tiffany from Seeing Sunshine

“After three babies I also am not as cautious as I used to be about starting with solid foods. One thing I have done more boldly with each additional baby is baby-led weaning, which is letting my baby eat small pieces of whatever I am eating rather than purees. I have always made sure everything is small and soft. This approach has seemed to lead to happy eaters who are willing to try everything I put in front of them.” — Jennifer from Breastfeeding Needs

“Introducing solids was slow at first. It wasn’t until about 11 months later that my daughter became interested. She’s now 15 months old and eats like a pro! She is healthy and happy. I say all this to say—listen to your baby. Sometimes they just aren't ready. At the end of the day, all babies are different; focus on your baby and their needs and wants.” — Trina from The Lactating Mama


Remember that babies are not used to these new textures, and it can take time for them to warm up to solids. Stick with it! By offering a variety of healthy foods, you are helping them learn about taste, texture, and nutrition for a lifetime of healthy eating habits. Trust your instincts and do what you feel is best for your little one!

As always, before making any changes to your baby’s diet, be sure to do your research and speak with your pediatrician or health care provider.

Information provided in blogs should not be used as a substitute for medical care or consultation.














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