There isn’t an order as to which foods to introduce first, though most doctors still recommend cereal to start because of its convenience and parents’ ability to gradually thicken it by decreasing the amount of formula or breast milk mixed in as kids get more and more used to eating.
Typically, kids lose the tongue thrust reflex between 4 and 6 months, which is when parents can start them on food. Before that time, babies will just push the spoon away with their tongues and parents won’t be successful at getting food inside. Also, kids usually will start becoming interested in their parents’ food around this time and like watching them eat, says Dr. Bradley Berg, medical director of pediatrics at Scott & White Hospital in Round Rock.
If you had heard that babies should have vegetables before fruits, you can ignore that. You also can ignore the idea that babies shouldn’t have meat.
Dr. Elizabeth Knapp, a pediatrician with Austin Regional Clinic, does recommend introducing a new food that might be an allergen, like peanut butter or eggs, in the morning on a day when the parents will be around to watch their babies. Don’t give it to them when they are about to go to sleep or on a day when parents are sending them off to day care, she recommends.
First give them a lick off a spoon or a bite off your plate. Then give a pea-size amount for a day or two; move up to half a teaspoon; then stop worrying about how much you’re giving.
A reaction will typically look like lip swelling or hives, which are raised welts on the body that look like mosquito bites. It can also result in vomiting — not just spit up, but emptying the contents of their stomach.
If that happens, you should call your doctor. He or she might want to test for allergies or send you to an allergist.
The only thing parents should wat to introduce until after babies turn 1 year old is whole milk. Dairy products are fine, but whole milk has too much iron for babies to process, Berg says.
The more different foods parents are introducing, Knapp says, the more they’re ensuring that kids don’t get stuck in the one- or two-foods-only rut that sometimes happens during the toddler years.