Starting Solid Foods
Starting Solid Foods
For the first six months of life, all your baby needs to eat is breast milk and/or formula. Read more about breastfeeding and formula feeding here. Sometime around six months—before you know it—your baby will be old enough to start experimenting with solid foods as well.
Healthy food is really important for your baby’s growth and development! If you want to learn more about what foods to eat, what foods to avoid, and how to get help buying nutritious food, you’ve come to the right place.
Switching from breast milk/formula to solid foods is a gradual process. It can be fun, but you might also feel anxious about what kind of food to feed your baby.
Make sure to talk to your health care provider or the staff at your WIC clinic about what foods to start with, and what foods to avoid.
Your baby’s digestive system is different from yours, and you want to make sure you introduce new foods at the right time in your baby’s development. These are some signs that your baby might be ready for solid foods: sitting up with support, holding their head steady, reaching for objects and holding onto them, no longer pushing their tongue out when lips are touched, opening mouth for a spoon, closing mouth over a spoon, and beginning to swallow. Read more about this here.
What you feed your baby will change over time. Your baby’s teeth will come in, and your baby will also develop better fine motor skills. Babies eventually become more independent and want to feed themselves. You want to make sure you give your baby foods that don’t make him or her choke or develop allergies.
Did you know that you should wait until your baby is 6 months old to give her or him juice to drink?
Some foods that are safe for adults can make babies sick. Honey, for example, isn’t safe to give babies until they are 1 year old. It’s also important to give babies food that is the right size and softness. Make sure to talk to your health care provider about when to introduce new foods.
Good Food on a Tight Budget
Washington State has programs that can help you learn about nutrition for you and your baby, and can also help you afford good food. There are two types of food assistance programs: Basic Food/SNAP (food stamps) and WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children). You may be eligible for one or both of these programs depending on your income. These programs can really help new parents.
Basic Food/SNAP provides money each month to buy groceries using a card that works like a debit card. You can use the debit card for food at a wide variety of stores and farmers markets. Eligibility is based on your income and household size, and you don’t have to be a parent to qualify. To find out if you qualify and sign up online, click here. You can also call our hotline at 1-800-322-2588 to see if you're eligible and to get help applying.
WIC provides monthly checks for certain foods for moms and babies that you can use at most grocery stores. Eligibility is based on your income, your household size, and your baby’s age (newborn up to 5 years). The WIC Program can also be very helpful when you have nutrition and health questions. Find out if you’re eligible, then find the WIC clinic closest to you online or by calling our hotline at 1-800-322-2588.
Get some tips for preparing easy foods that are good for your baby.
Learn when and how to watch for symptoms of food allergies.
Learn more about feeding your baby solid foods.
Check out this guide to finger foods for your baby.
Learn about how to help protect your baby from choking on solid food.
Read tips for transitioning your baby from formula or breast milk to solid foods.