Stages of Development Matter for Eating Too

posted 3/6/21 -- “When do I begin to feed my baby solid food?”

This is a question asked by many new moms. There are certain skills that an infant needs to have before introducing solid foods. Some of the skills you will want to see are:


  • Ability to move tongue from side to side.
  • Sitting with support.
  • Swallowing soft foods without choking.
  • Opening mouth when seeing food.


These skills usually appear between 4 and 6 months. The recommendation for formula-fed babies is to begin with iron-fortified infant cereal (limiting rice cereal).

The recommendation for breast-fed babies is to begin with pureed baby meats to add more iron and zinc to the baby’s diet.

Between 6 and 8 months you can introduce pureed fruits and vegetables. Add them one at a time so you can monitor for potential allergies. Once your baby is accustomed to these new foods, you can move on to denser, mashed or strained foods. These are often marketed as “Stage 2.”

At around 8 to 12 months babies develop their pincer grasp and will be able to pick up food with their fingers. At this time, you can introduce finger foods such as unsweetened cereal, toast or crackers.

Your baby will also want to begin to experiment with the spoon and will be able to feed him or herself between the ages of 15 and 18 months. A sippy cup can be introduced at about 11 months of age.