Introducing solid food begins when your baby is about 6 months old. At first solid food is an add-on to breast milk or infant formula, which is your baby’s main source of nutrition until 12 months old. If you don’t know much about healthy eating, don’t worry, you have time. You and your baby can learn to enjoy eating healthy foods together!
Teaching your little one healthy eating habits will have lifetime benefits. There is no better time to start than with the first bites of solid foods. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Be a good role model. Babies learn through watching you and others around them. Be a positive force for your baby by eating healthy foods from all the food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy.
- Offer variety. All foods contain different vitamins and nutrients. Eating many types of foods will lead to a balanced diet. By 7-8 months of age, your baby should be eating from all five food groups.
- Encourage drinking water. Water helps the body digest foods. Offer your baby small amounts of water (about 2 ounces) in a cup at a meal or snack time.
- Take your time. Many babies are slow eaters. At the beginning feeding time may go REALLY slowly. Allow plenty of time for meals so you and your baby can relax and enjoy mealtime.
- Let your baby decide how much is enough. Your baby will eat when she is hungry. And she will eat the types of foods her body needs most. During meals allow her to eat as much or as little as she wants.
- Make mealtime a family event. The whole family should eat together any time you can. This will help your baby get involved with others and begin developing social skills.