Starting Solids

When starting solids, it is important to consider the individual infant’s readiness and ability to tolerate solids.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Can he/she hold their head up? 

    • Your baby should be able to sit in a high chair, a feeding seat, or an infant seat with good head control.

  • Does he/she open their mouth when food comes their way? 

    • Babies may be ready if they watch you eating, reach for your food, and seem eager to be fed.

  • Can he/she move food from a spoon into their throat? 

    • If you offer a spoon of rice cereal, and they pushes it out of their mouth, and it dribbles onto their chin, they may not have the ability to move the food to the back of their mouth to swallow it. That’s normal. Remember, they’ve never had anything thicker than breast milk or formula before, and this may take some getting used to. Try diluting it the first few times; then, gradually thicken the texture. You may also want to wait a week or two and try again.

  • Is he/she big enough? 

    • Generally, when infants double their birth weight (typically at about 4 months of age) and weigh about 13 pounds or more, they may be ready for solid foods.


The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding/formula feeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months. At Paradise Pediatrics, we recommend starting solids around 5-6 months of age to ensure they will be better at swallowing and less likely to choke.

When you add solid foods to your baby’s diet, continue breastfeeding until at least 12 months. You can continue to breastfeed after 12 months if you and your baby desire.

  • Remember that when you start solids, your baby may not know what to do at first. They may look confused, wrinkle their nose, roll the food around inside their mouth, or reject it altogether.

  • One way to make eating solids for the first time easier is to give your baby a little breast milk, formula, or both first; then switch to very small half-spoonfuls of food; and finish with more breast milk or formula

  • Do not be surprised if most of the first few solid-food feedings wind up on your baby’s face, hands, and bib. Increase the amount of food gradually; this allows your baby time to learn how to swallow solids.

  • Do not make your baby eat if they cries or turns away when you feed them. Go back to breastfeeding or bottle-feeding exclusively for a time before trying again. Remember that starting solid foods is a gradual process; at first, your baby will still be getting most of her nutrition from breast milk, formula, or both. Also, each baby is different, so readiness to start solid foods will vary.

Paradise Pediatrics Starting Solids Guide

  1. Start with cereal for 2 weeks

    • Do either rice cereal or oatmeal: make it more liquid at first​

    • Put a very small amount on the spoon and put to the roof of the mouth

    • May tongue thrust at initially

    • Increase to 2-6 tbsp as tolerated

  2. Start vegetables 2 weeks later

    • Start with orange vegetables first, then move on to the greens, and then fruits​

    • Try one new food every 5 days

    • Do cereal in the morning and veggies at lunch

    • When starting fruit, can do as dessert after lunch or mixed with cereal

What to expect after starting solids?

  • Once starting solids foods, your baby’s stool will become more solid and may change in color. They will also smell stronger too.

  • Green veggies may turn the stool green, beets may make it red.

  • If the stools are extremely loose, watery, or full of mucous this may mean the digestive tract is irritated and you should reduce the amount of solids and introduce them more slowly.

  • If the stools continue to be loose or mucousy, then call our office to find the reason behind it.

Should I give my baby juice?

  • The answer is NO! Juice should only be given to babies as if its “medicine” when they are constipated. It should not be used more than what the doctor recommends. 

  • Babies should wait until they are 12 months old before getting any juice. Between the ages of 1-3 years old, give only 100% fruit juice and no more than  4 oz per day which should be diluted with water. 

  • Juice can cause tooth decay, decrease their appetite for more nutritious foods, and can cause excessive weight gain.

When should I give my baby water?

  • Healthy babies do NOT need water, as they get all the fluids they need from breast milk and formula

  • When introducing solids, water can also be added into the baby’s diet, especially in hot climates

  • Also drinking water will help prevent future tooth decay if it’s treated with fluoride