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October 4th, 2005, 02:38 PM
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Signs Your Baby is Ready for Solids:
Head control. To eat solids, your baby needs to be able to keep his head in a steady, upright position.
Losing the "extrusion reflex." To keep solids in his mouth and then swallow them, your baby needs to stop using his tongue to push food out of his mouth.
Sitting well when supported. Even if he's not quite ready for a highchair, your baby will need to be able to sit upright to swallow well.
Significant weight gain. Most babies are ready to eat solids when they've doubled their birth weight (or weigh about 15 pounds) and are at least 4 months old.
Growing appetite. He seems hungry after eight to ten feedings of breast milk or formula in a day.
Curiosity about what you're eating. Your baby may begin eyeing your bowl of rice or reaching for a forkful of fettuccini as it travels from your plate to your mouth.

How to Start Solids
Its is best to start with rice cereal first. Try mixing 1tsp of cereal to 4tsp of formula to start with.
Begin with a once-a-day feeding. Your baby may not eat much at all in the beginning, but give him time to get used to it. Once he gets used to it, he'll be ready for a few tablespoons of cereal a day. As the amount he eats increases, gradually thicken the consistency of the cereal and add another feeding. Your baby should be able to eat about a half-cup of cereal a day before you add other solid foods.

Gradually introduce each new food at a time, waiting at least 3 days between new foods. Introducing foods one at a time will give you a heads-up if he has an allergic reaction to one of them (signs of which may include diarrhea, tummy ache, or a rash).

Foods You Can Offer By Months

4-6 Months

Ripe, mashed banana or applesauce
Cooked mashed sweet potato, pumpkin or carrots
Ripe, mashed avocado
Iron-fortified rice or barley cereal, mixed to a soupy consistency with breast milk or formula

6-9 Months
Single grain iron-fortified rice or barley baby cereal
Cooked, mashed rice
Pureed or mashed veggies
Pureed or mashed beans or lentils, moistened with breast milk, formula or yogurt
Pureed or mashed and peeled fruit
Mashed or diced tofu, plain yogurt or grated mild cheese
Well-cooked, pureed meat or dark-meat chicken
100 percent fruit juice -- no citrus or berry juices

9-12 Months
Iron-fortified baby or toddler cereal
Unsweetened cereal (grains that have been safely offered to baby)
Mashed potatoes
Cooked, mashed rice
Well-cooked, mashed or finely chopped veggies
Soft, peeled, finely chopped fresh or canned fruit (packed in water)
Ground or finely chopped well-cooked tender pieces of lean meat or dark-meat chicken
Well-cooked, mashed beans or lentils
Mashed or small cubes of tofu
Small amounts of plain yogurt, cottage cheese, mild cheese
100 percent fruit juice -- no citrus or berry juice
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