When introducing solid food, the initial goal is for your baby to get used to the idea of eating, and learn how to move food from a spoon to the back of his mouth and then swallow it, Behan explains. It’s a gradual process that could take weeks. In the meantime, breast milk or formula will remain his main source of nutrients.
When first introducing solid food, your infant’s meals should consist of just half a teaspoon or two of a thick liquid (such as a blend of infant cereal or puréed, strained carrots mixed with breast milk or water). After your baby has mastered eating this, you can gradually start increasing the thickness and quantity of his food. By 7 to 10 months of age, he should be ready for mashed, ground or very finely chopped table food like mashed banana, pear puree, beef puree, or steamed and chopped zucchini.
Ultimately, your goal for introducing solid food should be to feed your baby at regular times of day. But in the beginning, it’s best to do it when he’s showing signs of hunger, Stern says. Start with one solid feeding a day for the first few months. Around 9 to 10 months, it should be time to add a second meal. By 12 months, he’ll be ready for two to three meals a day.