Mealtime Milestones

Introducing New Foods to Your Tot’s Dinner Lineup

Child eating Cereal

Watching your little one explore new foods is one of the most exciting ways to see your baby grow. Knowing when to introduce new foods to your baby can be a challenge but this timeline shows an average of what they should be eating at what ages and what mealtime skills you can expect them to acquire.

When your baby is ready she will let you know and along with your doctor’s approval, your cutie will be exploring new foods in no time! It is important not to rush your little one because all babies are different and if your child doesn’t fall into these categories there is no need to panic!

Child with apple

Birth to 4 Months

  • Breastmilk or formula: you can go with one or the other or use a combination of the two.
  • Though this step your little one should have the ability to suck, root, and swallow.

4 to 6 Months

  • Pureed food: Check for signs that your baby is ready, such as closing his mouth around a spoon. A few baby favorites are bananas, apples, sweet potatoes, and squash. Stick to non-acidic fruits and vegetables for this stage in your babies feeding.
  • Single-grain cereals: Starting off with runny cereal and gradually thickening the mixture is a great way to increase iron intake.
  • Stick to the 3-Day Rule: Only introduce one new food every three days which will help target any potential allergies. As your child begins trying different types of foods it is essential to keep this rule in mind.

Need a few tips on when to introduce your tot to new foods? Checkout these mealtime milestones!

6 to 8 Months

  • Pureed solid foods: Adding a small amount along with regular breastmilk or formula intake should be occurring. In addition to the previous fruits and vegetables you can now begin to expose your baby to pureed meats and small amounts of dairy.

8 to 10 Months

  • Mashed foods: Smashing soft fruits and veggies will add a little more texture to your child’s foods and is a good transition to chopped and finger foods.
  • Finely chopped or ground finger food: If your baby can use her fingers to pick up small foods try adding options like ground turkey, chopped crackers and O-shaped cereal.

10 to 12 Months

  • Soft-cooked foods: At this stage you should continue expanding the variety of foods your baby eats by adding new dishes such as eggs and soft pasteurized cheese or yogurt.
  • Self-feeding: You will notice that your baby has more teeth and is beginning to try and use utensils. Letting your baby self-feed is a good way to help them practice and learn on their own.

12 to 18 Months

  • Cow’s milk: After the age of 1 your child can now consume cow’s milk. It is important to regulate the amount of cow’s milk intake to about 16 to 20 ounces a day.
  • Baby sign language: By closing his mouth or resisting your baby may be telling you he is full. He should be able to use baby utensils by himself.

Toddlers will likely start to to get a little pickier than they were when they were babies. Don’t panic – totally normal.

18 to 24 Months

  • While your baby should be continuing to explore all the food groups, the main difference will be in the way she is eating. A better ability to use utensils is a good sign that your baby is progressing. You may also notice that messes during mealtimes become more manageable.

24 to 36 Months

  • Still discovering different food groups, your baby should be trying new items and enjoying getting to choose from different options. His feeding skills will only continue to improve.

A reminder: if your child’s eating habits don’t match these guidelines—don’t fret! They are, after all, just guidelines. Just like adults, tiny humans learn and adjust to change at varying paces, and we definitely recommend consulting your pediatrician with any questions or concerns you have as you introduce new foods into your tot’s dinner lineup. Bon Appétit!

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