Before the First Foods: Observe the cues

Before your baby’s first foods (usually 4-6 months), you can start inviting your baby to be at family meal time. Your baby doesn’t need to eat just yet, but can still play and be present during the meal. Make meal time a happy time, which will stimulate his/her senses with food - all the smells, textures, and colors.

Observe your baby’s cues when deciding when the time is right to start feeding solids. Also decide your feeding strategy - whether spoon feeding, baby-led weaning, or a combination of both. Will you go vegetarian or non-vegetarian? Any option can work as long as you plan it out.

What to do

  • Check for Cues: When ready to eat solids, your baby will be able to [1]:
    - Stay in a sitting position and hold his/her head steady.
    - Coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth to look at the food, pick it up and put it in his/her mouth independently.
    - Swallow food. Babies who are not ready yet will push the food back out with his/her tongue.
  • For Moms: Eat healthy meals with a variety of ingredients since babies will get used to liking in the future what they can taste now. They can sense the flavors and smell of food you eat through breastmilk or at the table with you. Unless you have food allergies, there’s no need to exclude allergens right now but do avoid mercury-high fish [4,5].
  • Understand: What NOT to feed a baby? Do not feed honey, any added salt or sugar or mercury-high fish [4,5].

What not to do

  • Keep the TV, cell phones, toys and other distractions away during meals.
  • Stay clear of choking hazard foods (e.g. whole nuts).