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Introducing Solids

Vanessa T.
Pediatric Dietitian
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Are you wondering when is the right time to introduce solids to your baby? Or which foods are best to start with? Or maybe you are wondering if your child is getting the right nutrition? Registered Dietitian, Vanessa, can help you decide on the right foods for your baby.

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Finger foods


At what age should I start offering finger foods? What’s the best food to start with?


Hi Vivi,

You can introduce finger foods as early as 6 months! The best place to start is with foods your child has tried and tolerated in purée form. Pick foods that are soft and can be cut or ripped into pieces or lightly mashed with a fork. Banana, avocado and steamed butternut squash or sweet potato are some of my favorites. Your child won’t likely get much in their mouth, chewed and swallowed but that’s ok! Finger foods are all about exploring, playing and learning st this age.

Keep in mind that solids require different skills than spoon feeding. Babies sometimes gag or spit out food when they aren’t quite sure how to swallow it. This is all part of the learning process. Just be sure to always supervise mealtimes closely and never force it if your little one doesn’t seem interested or ready.


Is rice cereal safe?


I’ve heard oatmeal is a better option but rice is ok if it’s limited. How much is too much?


Hi Cindy,

Good question. In 2016, the FDA released data showing that rice- including infant rice cereal- has a higher amount of inorganic arsenic than other foods. Arsenic may increase the risk of certain types of cancers and heart disease. The FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommend focusing on variety in the grains you introduce to you little one and starting all food groups early on.Oat, barley and multigrain infant cereals have less arsenic and are a healthy part of a balanced diet. There is not a set amount for how much rice cereal is okay, but offering it a few times a week is probably just fine.

No matter what cereals you offer, be sure they are iron fortified, especially if your baby is breast fed. Starting at about 6 months, your baby needs an additional source of iron to meet their needs, which is why rice and other cereals can be a good thing to include in a healthy diet.