New Infant Solid Food Guidelines

Updated on November 11, 2011
M.H. asks from Denver, CO
9 answers

My 2nd son is very nearly 5 months old. At our 4 month pediatrician appointment, the doc said that the head of Nutrition for Children's Hospital has recently visited the practice an recommended starting solids at 5 months. Believe it or not, apparently the recommendation is to start with beef for the iron.
Well, I'm not going that far - I may work up to some beef.... I make100% of my own infant foods.

Does anyone out there have any experience with nutritious juices for infants? No, I am not talking about a juice box. What about carrot juice for example? I just wondered if there were any thoughts out there about potentially using freshly juiced vegetables?

Also, any new guidance on first food is appreciated.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the responses. I'm sorry it seems not to be clear that I #1) already make my own baby food and #2) this is my second baby, so I know the basics here and #3) I am not talking about buying fruit juice!
I am specifically looking for some thoughts on juicing vegetables for first foods. I am also not really interested in old thoughts or books on why you shouldn't be introducing meat. Perhaps the part about the head of nutrition from the Children's Hospital is recommending something DIFFERENT than our generations of grandparents did introducing simple carbs with no nutritional benefits as a first food (rice cereal) must also not have been clear.
Any new thoughts in this area are welcome. I am perfectly happy with the results of introducing spinach to my first baby at 6 months - I understand how nitrates work, and where they come from, how they manifest in the vegetable...

Ok, new thoughts - I am happy to hear new thoughts. Ones based on science and nutrition, not tradition. Thanks!!

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answers from Chicago on

You have to be careful with veggies.

Both of my kids loved lamb meatballs. And chicken noodle soup blended really well. And mushroom soup! In fact, we did lots of stews so that I wasn't making separate meals....

I started with avocado and banana (no cooking!), and then lots of squash. In fact, it's squash season, and squash is so yummy and easy for them. Zucchini too.

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answers from Houston on

"Making homemade juice is not recommended for infants as you are unable to pasteurize the juice and thus it's possible that some bacteria or other unsavory items may get into the juice."

From here. This site has tons of great advice on making your own healthy baby food:

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Great Falls on

That's odd that they're recommending starting at 5mos. I know the nutritionists and dieticians have been urging the medical community to acknowledge that a baby's stomach is not fully developed until 6 months of age. For some reason the medical community will not recognize that. I've had a few friends who started their children earlier on solids and they always seem to run into digestive issues. I'm sure because of that very reason. I think the medical community doesn't want to recognize it because they worry about those babies out there who are strictly formula fed or not getting enough breastmilk. But something to keep in mind. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I would not use anything un-pasteurized for an infant. Go buy some 100% juice and use that. A serving a day is only 4oz. so it's not very much.



answers from Denver on

I started all four of my kids at 4 months old with rice cereal two weeks, then oat cereal for two weeks, then I moved on to veggies first and test for a week or two until I introduce a new one. Once I make it through the veggies I do the same thing with fruit then pasta. I don't do much meat until they are close to a year. My last child just turned 10 months and had her first meat. Then I move to dairy products once everything else goes smooth.

I do all my own infant food and once they get through all the food and show no signs of trouble, I start serving them whatever we are having.

As far as juice, I always make sure if I buy it, it is 100% fruit with no additives and no extra sugar. I also have juicer that came with a ton of recipes. I just everything I can, carrots with apples is big hit around here. It is also great to do you own juicing as the fruits and veggies have not lost a lot of their food value in the bottle. You are providing "live" foods.

My girlfriend also pushes for all organic, I have not gone totally that route after learning that a large portion of our organic food is not organic at all in the stores. So a lot of times if I am not familiar with the origin or the farm of the food I do not spend the extra on organic.

Good luck and enjoy!


answers from Dayton on

Hi M.!
I don't eat beef myself so those guidelines have never worked in our house.
I highly recommend the book 'Super Baby Food' by Ruth Yaron.
It is the homemade babyfood bible.
Here is a quote from the book on carrots: "The AAP recommends that you wait until your baby is 7-9 months old before you introduce homemade carrots, beets, turnips, spinach or collard greens. In some parts of the country, these crops contain nitrates, and my cause a type of anemia (methtemoglobinemia) in young infants. Nitrates also form cancer causing nitrosamines."
I know our health food store carries some better juices-I would check there and work up to fresh juices.
Good first food-fresh avocados! Although, my kids would never eat them. Lol. In that case...sweet potatoes. :)



answers from Salt Lake City on

We started with Avocado. Can't help on juices, but I would think carrots would be your best bet, and mix in some other fruits for variety.

My only thought on beef is remembering how bad their BMs smell once you add in the meats. I'd hold off on adding meats as long as possible for that reason alone. ;)



answers from Seattle on

Let them lead. Offer them solids when they start stealing it off your plate. My kids were both interested in solids at 4 months. My friend's kids weren't interested until 12 months. The kids know when their gag reflex has settled down enough to manage solid food. There's a wide range of normal in this area.

For the most part, skip the baby food. It's fine to use it as an occasional convenience, but it's usually overpriced, over-processed, and not very tasty. If you want your kids to grow up liking fresh home cooking, don't feed them overprocessed food from a can constantly when they're learning about food. This tends to lead to picky eating as they get older.

Making baby food is simple. Take something soft you are eating. Mash it with a fork. Add a bit of liquid if required. Give to baby. If they need a dead-smooth texture, they're probably not ready for solids yet. Items that can't be mashed (like beef) may need to be pureed.

Introduce one new food at a time, then watch for reactions for three days. Start with foods that are rarely allergens. Add in potentially allergenic foods later. If lots of close relatives have allergies, take this into account. If mom had any major aversions during pregnancy, consider deferring those too.

Our favorite baby food was avocados. They're easy to prepare, nutritionally dense, and not a common allergen.

The pathogen risk of fresh carrot juice should be exactly the same as the risk of a carrot stick. This might be an interesting way to get around the choking hazard issue and introduce a variety of veggies early. Be careful with excessive amounts of juice, though. Most of their liquid should come from milk or water, not juice. It's pretty easy to create a three-year-old juice addict who won't drink water.

You could also get an absolutely massive carrot (like two inches across) and let the baby just suck and gnaw it. Like a teething biscuit, this would be a choking hazard if the baby managed to break/chew it down to chokable size, so keep a baby with a carrot closely supervised.

Have fun!



answers from Denver on

A few things. First, I'm guessing you're aware that food up until the first birthday is just practice ,but not necessary for nutrition. All the nutrition still comes from breast milk ( or formula).
Second, skip the rice cereal---and all cereals for that matter. The enzyme, amylase, that digests starches doesn't start production until around the first birthday. That is why so many babies get constipated when they start cereal.
Third, juice of any kind isn't a good idea at this age. The calories are rather empty, and the baby doesn't need the vitamins yet because that comes from the breast milk. It could spike blood sugar because there's no fiber to keep the sugars from entering the blood stream too quickly. Carrots, for example, are a very sugary vegetable.
Fourth, on the subject of how old baby should be when you start solids. There's a million different theories and suggestions out there. My midwife, who is also a naturopathic doctor, suggested that you should start solids when the child gets teeth. When the teeth come in the saliva changes and is better able to start the digestion of solids in the mouth. It is the body's way of saying, I'm ready. Also, most children don't like meat until sometime in the first year. If you think about teeth, this make sense. It isn't until they get their canines and molars in that they can actually chew meat.
Theories are great, but if you think about it from a natural perspective, the best things to feed an infant are things that do not need to be processed in order for them to eat it. Before the invention of processed foods a child could eat a banana or an avocado. They couldn't eat grains or meat. They could eat cooked squash, carrots, etc. Spinach is tough to digest and to feed a baby with processing. There is a reason why breast milk offers complete nutrition--it's because the babies body isn't ready to digest much else until they get their teeth in and can process it themselves.
So those are my recommendations offered from an alternative viewpoint.
Good luck!

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