Feeding Your Infant: Ages 5-8 Months
Babies often hit one of their growth spurts at six months. Around this time, it may seem that your little one just can't eat enough, and you may be wondering if now is the time to add some ]]>solid food]]>. Here are some guidelines for knowing when your baby is ready for solid foods and how to introduce them.
A baby's growth from 5-8 months will allow for many changes in food intake. Breast milk or iron-fortified formula still needs to be the main part of a baby's diet. Solids may be started at this time.
Not Too Soon...
Solids do not help young infants sleep through the night. Starting solids too soon can:
- Cause choking
- Be hard for your baby to digest
- Cause ]]>food allergies]]>
- Prevent your baby from getting enough breast milk or formula (which will continue to be your child’s most important source of nutrients until they are 12 months)
Just the Right Time
Your baby is ready for solids when she can:
- Hold her neck steady
- Sit without support
- Open her mouth when food is offered
- Draw in her lower lip when spoon is removed from her mouth
- Keep food in her mouth and swallow it
- Show an interest in the food you are eating
- Reach for food showing she wants some
Tips for Feeding Your Baby Solids
To help your child learn to eat solid foods, remember the following:
- Choose a time when your baby is rested and happy.
- Have your baby sit up.
- Make sure the food is not too hot.
- Feed all food from a spoon.
- Add only one new food at a time every 3-5 days.
- Homemade or purchased baby foods can be used.
- When opening jar food, listen for the pop. Don't use jars with lids that don't pop.
- Maintain regular snack and meal times.
- Use small portions of food (start with 1-2 teaspoons). Throw away leftovers, and do not put food back in the jar. Saliva mixed with food will make it spoil.
- Your baby does not need salt, grease, fat, sugar, or honey added to foods. Your baby's tastes are not the same as yours. Taste some formula—you'll get the idea!
Other key points:
- To protect teeth and begin weaning, always offer juice from a cup.
- To prevent choking, always hold your baby when feeding from a bottle.
Feeding Schedule: 5-8 Months
|Age||Food and Daily Amount|
Breast milk: on demand
Iron-fortified formula: 4-5 feedings of 6-8 ounces each
Infant cereal: 4-8 tablespoons, mixed
Fruits/vegetables: 2-4 tablespoons, twice daily
Infant juice: 2-4 ounces (from cup only)
Breast milk: 3-5 feedings, or on demand
Iron-fortified formula: 3-5 feedings of 6-8 ounces each
Infant cereal: 4-6 tablespoons
Infant juice: 2-4 ounces (from cup only)
Fruits: 1-2 tablespoons
Vegetables: 5-7 tablespoons
Meats: 1-2 tablespoons
Finger foods: One small serving (toast, crackers, teething biscuits, plain dry cereal). Watch child very carefully for choking. If he is having trouble swallowing these foods, stop and reintroduce after nine months of age. Be extremely careful or avoid foods that can may increase the chances of choking such as hot dogs, hard candy, grapes, seeds, popcorn, and nuts (especially peanuts).
Suggestions When Using Solid Foods
|Fruits and vegetables|
Bottles and Storage
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in a many products, including plastic containers or bottles (with recycling number 7), as well as canned goods. While BPA's effects in humans is still being studied, some experts recommend that you limit your baby's exposure to this chemical. To learn more, read the article "]]>BPA Raising Concerns]]>."
American Academy of Pediatrics
South Dakota Department of Health
Canadian Paediatric Society
Dietiticans of Canada
American Academy of Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://www.aap.org. Accessed July 6, 2008.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Public Health. Advisory regarding bishphenol A (BPA). http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eohhs2pressrelease&L=4&L0=Home&L1=Government&L2=Departments+and+Divisions&L3=Department+of+Public+Health&sid=Eeohhs2&b=pressrelease&f=090803_bpa_advisory&csid=Eeohhs2. Published August 2009. Accessed August 24, 2009.
Duyff RL. The American Dietetic Association's Complete Food & Nutrition Guide. 3rd ed. John Wiley and Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ; 2006.
Jones P. BPA raising concerns. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/thisTopic.php?marketID=15topicID=81. Updated November 2009. Accessed March 5, 2010.
Keeping your child safe from accidents. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/thisTopic.php?marketID=15topicID=81. Updated March 2010. Accessed April 2, 2010.
South Dakota Department of Health. South Dakota Department of Health website. Available at: http://www.state.sd.us/doh.
Swinney B. Baby Bites. Meadowbrook Press: Minnetonka, MN; 2007.
4/2/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Saki N, Nikakhlagh S, Rahim F, Abshirini H. Foreign body aspirations in infancy: a 20-year experience. Int J Med Sci. 2009;6(6):322-328.
Last reviewed July 2008 by ]]>Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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