When starting solid foods, give your baby one new food at a time?not mixtures (such as cereal and fruit or meat dinners). Give the new food for three to five days before adding another new food. This way you can tell what foods your baby may be allergic to or can't tolerate.
Begin with small amounts of new solid foods?a teaspoon at first and slowly increase to a tablespoon.
Begin with dry infant rice cereal first, mixed as directed, followed by vegetables, fruits, and then meats.
Don't use salt or sugar when making homemade infant foods. Canned foods may contain large amounts of salt and sugar and shouldn't be used for baby food. Always wash and peel fruits and vegetables and remove seeds or pits. Take special care with fruits and vegetables that come into contact with the ground. They may contain botulism spores that cause food poisoning.
Infant cereals with iron should be given to your infant until your infant is age 18 months.
Cow's milk shouldn't be added to the diet until your infant is age 1. Cow's milk doesn't provide the proper nutrients for your baby.
The AAP recommends not giving fruit juices to infants younger than age 6 months. Only pasteurized, 100 percent fruit juices (without added sugar) may be given to older infants and children, and should be limited to 4 to 6 ounces a day. Dilute the juice with water and offer it in a cup with a meal.
Feed all food with a spoon. Your baby needs to learn to eat from a spoon. Don't use an infant feeder. Only formula and water should go into the bottle.
Avoid honey in any form for your child's first year, as it can cause infant botulism.
Don't put your baby in bed with a bottle propped in his or her mouth. Propping a bottle has been linked to an increased risk of ear infections. Once your baby's teeth are present, propping the bottle can also cause tooth decay. There is also a risk of choking.
Help your baby to give up the bottle by his or her first birthday.
Avoid the "clean plate syndrome." Forcing your child to eat all the food on his or her plate even when he or she isn't hungry isn't a good habit. It teaches your child to eat just because the food is there, not because he or she is hungry. Expect a smaller and pickier appetite as the baby's growth rate slows around age 1.
Infants and young children shouldn't eat hot dogs, nuts, seeds, round candies, popcorn, hard, raw fruits and vegetables, grapes, or peanut butter. These foods aren't safe and may cause your child to choke. Many doctors suggest these foods be saved until after your child is age 3 or 4. Always watch a young child while he or she is eating. Insist that the child sit down to eat or drink.
Healthy infants usually require little or no extra water, except in very hot weather. When solid food is first fed to your baby, extra water is often needed.
Don't limit your baby's food choices to the ones you like. Offering a wide variety of foods early will pave the way for good eating habits later.
Fat and cholesterol shouldn't be restricted in the diets of very young children, unless advised by your child's doctor. Children need calories, fat, and cholesterol for the development of their brains and nervous systems, and for general growth.