How to Encourage a Baby to Eat Solid Food

By Kay Ireland
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When your little one is old enough, you can start introducing him to solid foods. You'd think after months of breast milk or formula, he'd be excited for the change, but some babies resist going for solid foods in favor of what's familiar. Luckily, even when you start solid foods, the majority of your baby's diet should still come from breast milk or formula. Still, solids are good practice, so encourage your little one to try them by taking it slow.

Step 1

Feed your baby solids when he reaches 6 months of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breast milk or formula should be the sole source of nutrition for babies under 6 months. Feeding solids before that can rob your baby of the nutrients he receives through breast milk and formula, which are vital for growth and development.

Step 2

Start with grain or rice cereal when you begin feeding solids. If your baby balks at the taste, try mixing cereal with breast milk or formula so it tastes more familiar to his new palate. Your child may also dislike the texture of one type of cereal, so you may need to try different types and brands before you find one that your baby loves.

Step 3

Transition to fruit, choosing one fruit at a time, suggests the Colorado State University Extension. Soft, sweet fruits like bananas or peaches are often more readily accepted over vegetables or blended meats. Don't worry about your baby getting a range or nutrients; since you're still breastfeeding or offering formula, most of his nutrients will come from that source.

Step 4

Offer one new taste or texture at a time. Your little one's inexperienced palate means that he may initially reject foods or have allergic reactions to certain foods. By offering one at a time, you give him the chance to experience each new food and can watch for possible reactions after eating, knowing exactly which food caused the issue.

Step 5

Allow your baby to feed himself when he's ready. Around 6 months, your baby can develop a pincer grasp, ideal for picking up small, soft pieces of food, notes the March of Dimes. If feeding time is always a fight with a spoon, try scattering a few pieces of soft banana or cooked green bean on your baby's tray instead. Independence may help your child transition from a fussy eater into a more amiable dinner date.

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.