Many first-time parents wonder when it is time to begin introducing their baby to solid foods. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that babies can begin on solid foods after six months, after being breastfed or bottle-fed up until that point. However, depending on if you baby is ready or not, some babies have been given solid foods for the first time when they were 4 to 6 months old.

The Baby Center writes that some of the telltale signs that show you that your baby is ready for solid foods are: ability to hold their head up, lots of weight gain, curiosity about solid foods, an increasingly appetite, sitting up well and the ability to make chewing motions. When your baby shows these cues, it may be time to introduce your little one to pureed foods.

Some of the better pureed foods to start giving to your child are pears, peaches, bananas, sweet potatoes, squash and applesauce. Whatever you do though, ensure that the consistency is thin, which will be more like the liquid they are used to consuming. However, if your baby is handling these foods fine, you can begin to pureed lamb or beef, which contains essential iron and proteins their growing bodies need. When you want to begin introducing any of these foods, first breastfeed or bottle-feed them and then follow this with a couple spoonfuls of whatever puree you choose.

Knowing why kind of baby food to buy can be challenging, but The Bump writes that there are several healthy options and all you have to do is check the label. In your label perusal, you should make sure that there is no sugar or salt in the puree, count the ingredients to make sure there are a limited number and see what the protein levels look like for “meat” baby foods.

To actually being feeding you baby solid foods, here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

  • Don’t think they will finish it: It is best to take this process slow as your baby might only eat a spoonful or two each time for a little while. This process is to introduce them to solid foods, not overwhelm them with these new textures and tastes.
  • Don’t be afraid of a mess: If you have a new baby, this is most likely a given to you. Though if you get stressed out over messes, just remember to keep a towel nearby to clean up any drips or spills in the matter of seconds.
  • Don’t give up if they don’t like it: Because this is an entirely new way of eating for babies, just because they don’t like a food the first time, does not mean they never will. Just keep introducing them to certain foods and they will usually grow to like them after a few feedings. If you need to mix in that food with other favorite flavors of theirs, that would work as well.

Watch for signs that your baby may be full or developing a bad reaction to the something new, which is why you should always be slow about feeding them new purees or other solid foods. If you notice that your baby is having an allergic reaction or generally bad reaction in the form of a rash, vomiting or other intolerance to the food, stop giving it to your baby right away and then notify your pediatrician. Even though finding out that your baby has an allergy can be scary, know that it is common and just be diligent about recognizing the signs of a reaction, such as breaking out in hives or difficulty breathing.