Starting Baby on Solid Foods
Babies start the first four to six months of their lives nourishing themselves with a sucking-type motion with a breast or bottle. So learning to eat solids takes time. But first, a baby needs to be physically ready (able to hold his head up independently and has lost the tongue-thrust reflex). Once your pediatrician has given the OK, start with a small amount of rice cereal and a spoon.
Be prepared for the cereal to be everywhere! Babies not only need to feel the texture in their mouths, but they need to feel it in their hands, which translates to their hair, face and clothes. The food gets everywhere, but that's part of the learning process. Keep trying and give your baby plenty of practice. There is a lot to learn when baby starts solid foods. They need to learn to get the food off the spoon and into their mouths. Then they need to learn to move the food around in their mouths. They also need to move the food back to the throat, then swallow. Practice is the key, so give your baby many opportunities to practice.
Once your baby has learned to eat cereal, she is ready for more tastes, textures and flavors. Try vegetables, then try fruits and then try meats. Give one food at a time instead of mixtures so babies can get used to the flavor and texture. As babies mature, you can start to add more flavor and thicker textures. Eventually, by the end of your baby's first year, she'll be eating chunky, solid foods of many varieties and textures.
Finally, be careful to never give your baby peanuts, popcorn, or small round foods such as cut carrots, peas or pieces of sausage or hot dogs because these foods are choking hazards.