We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

When can Babies Eat Solid Foods?

By J. Beam
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Babies are born with natural reflexes that help them to nurse, and during the first few months of life, breast milk or formula is all that is needed to provide babies with adequate nutrition. Prior to about four to six months of age, babies cannot control their reflexes well enough to eat solid foods. Somewhere between four and six months of age, most babies will be able to control their reflexes enough to eat solids.

Solid foods, such as infant cereal and baby food, are the first real foods a baby will eat. Most experts recommend starting such foods when the baby is able to adequately control his or her head movements and tongue reflexes. While this developmental milestone will occur at different times for different babies, it usually occurs between four to six months of age. The first solid foods introduced to babies should be easily digestible, such as rice cereal, and the consistency should be thin enough for baby to swallow easily.

Starting solid foods too soon can result in food allergies, and certain foods should be avoided all together until the baby is older. Nutritional experts and pediatricians generally recommend choosing simple fruits and vegetables as a baby’s first foods. Carrots, peas, pears, applesauce, and bananas are all good choices. Parents should keep in mind that babies naturally have a preference for sweeter foods, and introducing vegetables before fruits will not change this preference. It is more important to provide them with a well-balanced, nutritional diet.

When babies are ready to eat solids, parents should introduce each new food individually and wait at least three days before introducing a new one. This allows time to identify any allergic reaction to a particular food. If the baby’s stool habits change drastically or a rash develops after the introduction of a new food, that food should be eliminated from the diet, and the baby's parents should talk to a pediatrician.

As time passes, babies begin to develop a taste for new foods and their breast milk or formula intake will gradually decrease. Babies should not be given whole milk until they are a year old, and foods containing nuts, eggs, and honey should be delayed until they are older. Tempting as it may be, parents should avoid giving a baby table foods that are prepared for the entire family unless they are prepared without salt.

Once babies have tolerated a variety of solids, new textures, such as pastas and breads, can be introduced. Before most parents know it, their children will move on to the next milestone: self-feeding.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon311279 — On Dec 31, 2012

I don't know about the best time to feed solids to a baby is. I'd wait until four months, but my mom who has been a nurse (RN) all her career shocked me the other day when she told me all her babies (four) were all eating at three months. We as adults are all big eaters and not one of us has any allergies.

By Mykol — On Oct 14, 2012

@John57-- It is very easy to be a bit overwhelmed when you have your first child. It is amazing how much easier and how much more comfortable you feel after the first one. As far as starting a baby on solid foods, I think it depends on the baby.

Some of my kids were ready at 4 months and others weren't interested until they were older. It is something I never pushed, as I knew they would pretty much let me know when they were ready for something other than breast milk.

One thing I have always found interesting is that one of my boys never liked meat as a toddler. He had no problems eating the fruits and vegetables, but always turned his head away at the meat. What I find so interesting about this is that today he is an adult and is a vegetarian.

By golf07 — On Oct 13, 2012

@olittlewood-- I make a lot of my own baby food and find this not only saves me a lot of money, but the food is also much fresher and better for them. It really only takes a few minutes to make this as long as you have it on hand. I like knowing exactly what I am feeding my baby and only use organic fruits and vegetables.

By John57 — On Oct 12, 2012

When I had my first child I was a stickler about doing everything exactly as my pediatrician told me. There have been different opinions through the years about when to feed solid baby food.

My son was very fussy and rarely slept through the night. My mom kept telling me I should give him a little bit of rice cereal before bedtime to help him sleep a little bit better. I thought he was too young and waited until he was over 6 months old. Looking back now, I wish I would have listened to my mom, as I could have had a baby who was more content and I would not have lost out on so much sleep.

By honeybees — On Oct 12, 2012

@anon253991-- Every baby is a little bit different, but waiting 3-4 days is a good rule of thumb to see if your baby will tolerate a new food without any problems.

I was fortunate that none of my kids had food allergies and never had any problems when I introduced a new solid baby food to them. I got to the point where I wouldn't wait that long to give them a new food.

This probably isn't recommended for most babies, but it seemed to work OK for my kids. They were all good eaters and would eat just about anything I gave them. One exception was beets, and I can't say that I blame them because I don't like beets either. I gave them plenty of other vegetables so this wasn't a big deal.

By anon253991 — On Mar 11, 2012

"Starting solid foods too soon can result in food allergies..." -based on what report/ study? What is the process by which a babies receptiveness or rejection of a food would occur?

By harlington — On Mar 02, 2010

us as a school would say about 2-3 days until a baby can eat but that is just a school's report.

By anon43094 — On Aug 25, 2009

How soon can babies have blueberries? He seems to like the flavor.

By olittlewood — On Dec 05, 2007

some experts recommend waiting up to a week between introducing new foods. i typically wait from 4-6 days, and so far that has worked. i'd also recommend mixing cereal with breastmilk to make it more palatable to a breastfed baby, as well as to reduce the shock of something new to adjust to.

making baby food is really easy too--just steam and puree, then freeze in ice cube trays. once they're frozen, pop them out and store in the freezer in a ziploc baggie. you'll have baby food there when you need it, and the best thing is that you know what you're putting in your baby's food!

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.