As a pediatrician I routinely advise parents how to introduce solid foods to their infants. Parents want to know when and what to feed their baby. My advice is a little different from what they are used to hearing. I recommend pureed fruits and vegetables as first foods instead of rice cereal. To determine if a baby is ready for solids I instruct parents to put a very small piece of a banana is the baby’s mouth. If the baby is able to swallow the banana this shows a readiness for solids. The baby should also be able to sit in a high chair and have good head control.

Introduce one new food at a time. Homemade baby food is preferable to that in a jar. If making homemade baby food use organic fruits and vegetables that are on the EWG (environmental working group) dirty dozen list. Steam the vegetables before pureeing.

Babies can have organic egg yolks but no whites so parents should boil the egg to ensure that the baby gets only the yolk. After baby has eaten and tolerated a variety of fruits and vegetables soft pieces of chicken, turkey and fish can be introduced. Grains can be introduced later as they may be hard to digest. Remember that meats and vegetables contain more nutrients than fruits and grains.

Remember to only add one new food at a time over a 3-4 day period. This will enable parents to determine if the child has an allergic reaction to a particular food. Allergic reactions to food include diarrhea, rash or vomiting. If your baby has any of these reactions discuss dietary choices with your child’s doctor.

Dr. Pam