Suggestions for successful cereal feeding:
- During the first few feedings, babies usually respond best to a thinner consistency.
- Put a small amount of warm cereal on the tip of a rubber-coated spoon and place it in your baby's mouth. Don’t be surprised if at first the food comes right back out. Her instinct is to use the same mouth and tongue movements as she did when nursing or sucking from a bottle.
- As your baby transitions from a totally liquid diet of breast milk or formula, she might not swallow much at first.
- As she gets used to eating from a spoon, you can gradually increase the amount and consistency, offering two or three feedings a day.
Tips for introducing single-ingredient jarred foods to your baby
When introducing single-ingredient jarred baby foods, here are a few helpful hints to keep in mind:
- Introduce one new food at a time over the course of 3 to 5 days to watch out for food allergies
- Start with a small amount of food and increase gradually—even a teaspoonful is enough for some beginners
- Do not feed your baby directly from the jar, as bacteria from her saliva will deteriorate the food
- Only feed your baby when she’s sitting up
STAGE 2: combination foods add variety to mealtime
Now that your baby is eating single-ingredient foods regularly, she probably wants to try a combination of foods for added variety and flavor. Stage 2 baby foods are made with two or more ingredients and are roughly pureed or blended to be of a thicker consistency than stage 1. While stage 1 is mostly fruits and veggies, stage 2 foods might incorporate meat, grains, or legumes.
You’ll know if she’s ready for combination foods if she’s about 6 months old and:
- Sits well without support
- Keeps her head upright while sitting
- Eats a wide variety of single-ingredient foods
- Eats solid foods about 3 times a day
Introducing combination foods to your baby
The first step is to always check the ingredients of any food you seek to introduce. If your baby was sensitive to any single food, make sure it’s not a part of your food combinations. And:
- Introduce only one new ingredient at a time. Wait 3 to 5 days before introducing any other new foods to check for allergies.
- Maintain single foods in your baby's diet. Feed her a favorite single-grain cereal from time to time for variety.
- During her first year, include your breast milk or Similac® formula at each mealtime. It is a vital part of your baby's diet.
- Don’t worry if your baby refuses to eat, is fussy, or turns away. Try again later.
What if your baby seems to dislike some foods?
Your baby may make a face or literally turn her nose up at some foods you offer. This usually doesn’t mean she dislikes the food. She’ll simply need time to adjust to this new taste on her tongue.
To help, use any new food as her first bite of solids for a few days. The first day, she might make a face and spit the food out. The second day, she will usually swallow the first bite, but might refuse the second. Patiently continue this pattern and she’ll most likely develop a taste for any new food, including strong-tasting veggies.
Stage 3 baby food: nutrition by addition
Every baby is different; but, from about the age of 8 months, your baby should be ready for you to keep adding interesting new foods to her diet—foods with more complex tastes and textures. Almost anything goes at this stage as long as the food is in small pieces and/or cooked until very soft to make it easy to chew.
Here are a few basic signs for knowing if your baby is ready for complex tastes:
- She can pull up from a sitting to a standing position
- She can walk by holding onto furniture
- She wants to eat with her fingers
- She mashes food well with her gums or teeth
- She enjoys a variety of tastes and textures
Noticing a yellow tinge to your baby's skin?
Sometimes as you introduce colorful new foods to your little one’s diet, you may notice her skin taking on a yellow tinge. Check with your healthcare professional, but usually this is a harmless condition known as carotenemia. As little as 2 tablespoons of pureed carrots every day for 5 to 7 weeks can cause a baby’s skin color to change in this way. It will usually go away if you stop feeding carotene-rich foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and peaches for a few days.
Keep your nutritional guard up
As your growing baby’s diet continues to become more complex, make sure it’s also staying complete in its nutritional value. Toddler formulas like Go & Grow by Similac® can help balance your toddler’s diet as you begin to serve her table foods.
See our Balanced Toddler Nutrition page
Feeding your baby solid foods: what are the DOs and DON’Ts?
Talking is still months away, but your baby might be telling you things with her feeding signals. The following DOs and DON’Ts will help clue you in on baby’s mealtime needs and make the transition to solid foods as easy as possible for both of you.
When getting your baby started with solids…
DO remember that breast milk or Similac infant formula is still your baby's main source of nutrition for the first full year.
DON'T start solid foods earlier than about 4 months old, unless your healthcare professional tells you otherwise.
For mealtime success with your baby…
DO make sure your baby is hungry, but not overly so. A small "appetizer" of breast milk or Similac formula before feeding solids is recommended. Select a time of day that is the least stressful for you, and make sure you have plenty of time.
DO keep a sense of humor. Early feedings can be unproductive, challenging, and messy—but also entertaining.
To recognize signs of hunger and fullness in your baby…
DO learn your baby's signals. Feed her when you see she eagerly swallows every bite, follows the spoon with her eyes, and becomes impatient for more.
DON'T continue feeding your baby if she turns her head away, refuses to open her mouth, or cries when you try feeding her.
To add new ingredients and foods…
DO wait 3 to 5 days to add each new food to your baby's diet so you can detect any allergic reaction your baby might have to a certain food. If your baby is fussy after eating a specific food, you can find help by troubleshooting the problem with our Tummy Trouble Tool.
DON'T season your baby’s food. Babies do not need added salt or sugar.
DO serve baby food from a small bowl. Feeding directly from a jar can encourage bacteria growth, and your baby's saliva can make the food watery.
DON'T put your baby to bed with a bottle. This can promote "baby-bottle mouth," a form of tooth decay.
DO gently stir and test the temperature of any food from the microwave before serving. Make sure the temperature is warm, not hot.
DON'T feed cereals or other solid foods through a bottle, unless your healthcare professional directs you to do so. Cereal in a bottle might cause your baby to gag or choke.
DON'T feed your baby in a reclining position because of the danger of gagging or choking.
Baby & toddler nutrition recommendations
Infant formula/breast milk
Early solid food
Solid foods, milk, water