Start your infant off on the path of lifelong healthy nutrition.
The first year of a child's life is a critically important period for proper growth and development. Since they consume such small quantities of foods at this stage, it’s important to make every bite count!
Around 6 Months
- At about 6 months, infants will begin to show signs that they’re ready for solid foods. Every child is different. Here are some signs to look for:
- Being able to control their head and neck
- Sitting up alone or with support
- Bringing objects to their mouth
- Trying to grasp small objects, such as toys or food
- Swallowing food rather than pushing it back out
- Foods to avoid that can be a choking risk for young children include hot dogs, candy, nuts and seeds, raw carrots, grapes, popcorn, and chunks of peanut butter. Take steps to decrease choking risks by:
- Offering foods in the appropriate size, consistency, and shape that makes them easy to chew and swallow
- Making sure the infant is sitting up in a highchair or other safe, supervised place
- Ensuring an adult is supervising at mealtimes
- Not putting infant cereal or other solid foods in an infant’s bottle
- Avoid feeding infants any foods that contain raw or cooked honey. Honey can contain the Clostridium botulinum organism that could cause serious illness or death among infants. Also avoid unpasteurized foods or beverages, such as unpasteurized juices, milk, yogurt, or cheeses, as they could contain harmful bacteria.
- Avoid raw (uncooked) foods and wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before feeding them to your child.
MyPlate Tips on Alexa
Get MyPlate nutrition information straight to your home on your Amazon Alexa smart speaker, or on your phone or tablet via the free Amazon Alexa app. For more information, visit our MyPlate Alexa page.
Below are some of the many tips available for parents and caregivers on what and how to feed your baby. And just like the MyPlate.gov website and the Start Simple with MyPlate app, all of the information provided by MyPlate on Alexa is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.
What your baby drinks is just as important as what your baby eats. Before 12 months of age, pediatricians agree that breastmilk, infant formula, and small amounts of plain water are the only beverages little ones should drink. Juice is not recommended -- even 100% juice. And experts recommend avoiding cow's milk until your baby turns 1 year old.
Did you know that experts say there is no room for added sugar in a baby or toddler's diet? To keep sugar out of your child's diet, avoid sweet bakery goods. Once your baby starts eating foods around 6 months, offer your child small pieces of cut fresh fruit. Fruit is naturally sweet!
Introducing Foods - Safety
As you introduce foods around 6 months, remember safety first! You can make eating safer for your baby by steaming or cooking hard foods like carrots until they are soft, and by finely chopping, grating, mashing, or pureeing foods.
Provide your baby with a vitamin D supplement soon after birth. Place a drop into a bottle, on your nipple, or in your baby's mouth once a day. Ask your doctor how much is right for your little one.
When you start introducing foods around 6 months, experts recommend introducing peanut-containing products to infants before they turn 1 year old. Try mixing a small amount of creamy peanut butter with warm breastmilk or formula into a bowl of iron-fortified infant cereal. Make sure it's not too thick so your baby can enjoy it safely. Science shows that offering your baby foods like nut products -- as well as eggs, seafood, soy, and pasteurized yogurts or cheeses -- could prevent an allergy later in life.
Iron and Zinc
Did you know that offering your baby iron- and zinc-fortified infant cereal is a great first food? It provides two nutrients many young babies need and is a great way to start off introducing foods at around 6 months.
Introducing Foods - Timing
It is recommended that babies start eating foods at about 6 months. If your baby shows signs earlier, you can start foods as early as 4 months, but not any younger.
A baby's brain grows quickly. Help boost your child's mind by offering some first foods at about 6 months that contain important fatty acids, like cooked salmon, shrimp, tilapia, and trout. Offer your baby one ounce of fish once or twice a week. One ounce is about the size of three dice.
Want to know if your baby is ready to start trying food? Look for if they can control their head and neck, sit up in a chair, and are grasping objects and bring them to their mouth. You just might have an active eater on your hands! Most babies start eating foods at about 6 months. If your baby shows signs these signs earlier, you can start foods as early as 4 months, but not any younger.
Variety - Foods, Flavor, Texture
Have fun feeding your baby their first foods starting at about 6 months. Expect the mess and remember that if at first you don't succeed -- try, try again! Sometimes a food has to be introduced up to 10 times before a baby likes it.
Introducing Foods - Safety
When it comes to introducing foods to your baby around 6 months, make sure they won't choke. Avoid foods like hot dogs, candy, nuts, seeds, grapes, popcorn, raw carrots, and chunks of peanut butter.
Honey is not safe for babies. Experts suggest waiting until your baby is at least 1 year old before offering them honey.
Introducing Foods - Safety
Infant cereal is a great option once babies start eating food at about 6 months. But putting infant cereal in a baby's bottle is not recommended and could cause your baby to choke. Experts recommend only putting breastmilk or formula in bottles.
Some unpasteurized yogurts or cheeses may contain harmful bacteria. So, once your baby starts eating food at about 6 months, keep your baby safe by feeding only those that say "pasteurized" on the packaging.
Healthy Eating for Infants
MyPlate on Alexa
Infant and Nutrition Feeding Guide
How to Prepare and Store Powdered Infant Formula
Infant Formula Feeding Information from CDC
Signs Your Child is Hungry or Full
CDC’s Milestone Tracker