Feeding Development: The First Year

Feeding your baby the first year is a big task. Below is a guide to what your baby can eat during this important first year.

*Please note, this is just a guide. Consult your physician for specific feeding instructions for your baby.

Feeding Guide-The First Year:

At 0-6 months, your baby can eat the following foods:

  • Breast/Bottle (0-13 months)
  • Thin Baby Food Cereal (5 months)
  • When first trying baby food your child may spit the food out… THIS IS OK. Children must learn how to safely get food out before learning to eat.
  • Eating comes FIRST, then comes manners. Exploring and getting messy with food is part of the process of learning to eat.
  • Thin Baby Food Puree/Stage 1 Baby Food (6 months)

Read our infant feeding series: Starting Solids.

At 7-9 months, your baby can eat the following foods:

  • Thicker Baby Food Cereals AND Thicker Baby Food Smooth Purees/Stage 2 Baby Food (7 months)Feeding Development: The First Year
  • Soft Mashable Table Foods AND Table Food Smooth Purees (8 months)
  • Hard Munchables (8 months)
  • These are hard textured foods for exploring only- NOT CONSUMPTION.
    • Examples: carrot stick, lollipop, hard dried fruit sticks, celery sticks, bell pepper strips,
  • Once a child can move her tongue around the munchable, she can transition to textured table food.
  • Some children will stick objects in their mouths and will not need hard munchables.
  • Hard munchables will help your child practice moving hard solid foods in her mouth, learn awareness of the mouth and become more familiar and comfortable with teeth brushing.
  • If children do not put things in their mouth, it can delay teeth eruption.
  • Meltable Hard Solids (9 months)
  • Melts in the mouth with saliva only (without pressure applied).
    • Examples: Gerber puffs, biter biscuits, graham crackers.
  • DO NOT USE CHEERIOS- Cheerios will shatter in a child’s mouth instead of melting.

Read our infant feeding series: How to Transition Your Child From Purees to More Textured Foods.

At 10-12 months, your baby can eat the following foods:

  • Soft Cubes (10 months)
  • Soft exterior but maintains its shape, needs tongue/munching pressure to break it apart.
    • Examples: Bananas, avocado, Gerber toddler cubes,
  • Soft Mechanical- single texture (11 months)
  • Soft exterior but maintains its shape, needs munching/grinding pressure to break it apart.
  • These foods will help your child learn how to chew food by using a circular chewing pattern.
  • Children need to be able to move food from their tongue to their back teeth to chew textured food.
    • Examples: soft lunch meats, pasta, cooked eggs
  • Soft Mechanical –Mixed (cube + puree) (12 months)
  • More than one of the above textures
    • Examples: macaroni and cheese, fish sticks, French fries, spaghetti, chicken nuggets
  • Your baby cannot eat a mixed textured food unless she can chew each texture individually.
  • Hard Mechanicals
  • Harder textured exterior food that needs grinding/rotary chew (circular chewing pattern) to break apart. These foods tend to shatter in the mouth.
  • Examples: cheerios, saltines, fritos, steak, fruit leathers

Read our infant feeding series: When Your Baby is Turing One Year Old.

Tips to Remember!

  • Eating is the most difficult sensory task that children do!
  • It’s hard to be neat when you are learning to eat.

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Infant Feeding Series: Starting Solids

After the first several months of life, your baby is approaching that age when either of one of two scenarios occurs:

1. Baby is practically grabbing the spoon out of your hand when you’re eating and seems so eager to eat some of that!

2. Friends, family members, and even the pediatrician keep asking when you plan to start solids.

What is the right age, what is the right first food, and how exactly do you go from there? This blog covers a plan that is based on research, professional, and personal experience. The important thing is to follow your baby’s lead. It is up to your baby to learn to eat at his or her own pace, not up to you to make them eat.

What is the right age to start solids?

According to the current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the age to consider starting solids is 6 months old. This is later than previous recommendations and probably later than our parents started feeding us foods. There are several reasons why this age is recommended, which include developmental milestones and readiness, digestive system maturity, and long-term studies looking at outcomes of risk for developing issues like food allergies, digestive disorders, obesity, diabetes, etc. In addition to watching the calendar for that 6-month birthday, watch your baby closely for signs of readiness as well.

Here are some things to watch for to make sure your baby is ready to transition to solids (and is more likely to be successful doing so):

  • Baby can sit with minimal support, and has very stable head control. Read more

Help! My Infant is Refusing Solid Foods

When it comes to feeding infants solids, it is often not a straight and narrow path to success. Sometimes you and baby will hit some bumps along the way, which may leave you feeling confused, anxious, and not sure how to make things better.  Below are several strategies to navigate this stressful time.

Tips to help navigate feeding your infant solids:

Be sure your infant is ready. As you may have heard, it is not as important to watch the calendar as it is to watch your baby. Signs of readiness include the following:

  • Baby is able to sit independently or with very minimal support.
  • Baby does not stick his tongue out as a reflex to putting the spoon in his mouth.
  • Baby seems eager to eat food, opening his mouth when you bring the spoon to him. Read more

Arsenic found in over 200 rice products tested, including infant rice cereal!

Recently, Consumer Reports released their findings of arsenic in rice and rice-containing foods that are commonly eaten, including infant rice cereal, Arsenic in Ricerice cakes, white rice, brown rice, organic rice, rice pasta, and more. When I heard about this on the news, I thought about three sectors of the population I work with who would be affected based on their dietary intake of rice: infants who eat rice cereal as a staple in their diet; kids on gluten-free diets who eat rice products as an alternative grain; and ethnic groups who traditionally eat rice daily.

What did the study find?

Click here to see Consumer Reports‘ results table with all the foods tested, including brands, and the level of arsenic found per serving. There are two types of arsenic: inorganic arsenic which is known to cause cancer, and organic arsenic which is also considered toxic. Both types were found in all of the rice products in the study.  The question is what level of arsenic in foods is safe? There are no federal standards set at this point for acceptable levels of arsenic in foods; however, there are arsenic regulations for drinking water.  New Jersey has the most conservative allowed amount of arsenic in water which is 5 ppb. In the table of results, Consumer Reports used 5 ppb as a standard of comparison, and found that many rice foods had levels >5 ppb of inorganic arsenic per serving and many foods having total arsenic levels in the hundreds ppb. Brown rice was found to have more arsenic than white rice, which is because white rice has had the outer layers stripped in processing, thus stripping some of the absorbed arsenic.

What does this mean for your family?

It is important to consider how much rice you or your child is eating. If it’s daily, you should consider decreasing that intake to weekly instead, until the FDA responds with regulations for arsenic in foods. In the case of infant rice cereal, switch to baby oatmeal cereal or make your own infant cereal by grinding whole, dry quinoa, millet or amaranth in a coffee grinder, then cook with water per the directions. Once cooled, stir in breastmilk or formula to desired consistency. Talk to your pediatrician or registered dietitian about more sources of iron in your child’s diet if taking out iron-fortified rice cereal is a concern. On another note, although brown rice was found to have higher arsenic levels than white rice, brown rice is better nutritionally than white rice because it has more fiber, naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, and small amounts of healthy fats.

How does this affect children?

As I mentioned, inorganic arsenic is a known carcinogen. Children and especially infants have immature organs and detoxification processes compared to adults, so exposure to toxins like arsenic can be more harmful for the very young. At any age, eating a variety of grains is healthy and based on the study results, decreasing rice intake and replacing with other grains would be advisable.

Here is a list of different types of grains that could substitute for rice:

  • quinoa
  • amaranth
  • millet
  • oatmeal
  • buckwheat
  • corn or grits

This study demonstrates the need for regulations on allowable levels of these kinds of toxins in our food supply. This would need to include regulations on arsenic and other potentially harmful toxins in pesticides, fertilizers, as well as drugs and feed given to animals. To find out more about what is being done and how you can get involved, go to We all need to have a better awareness of what is in the foods we eat and feed to our kids, even beyond the major nutrients and ingredients. For nutrition counseling to evaluate and improve your family’s diet, contact North Shore Pediatric Therapy for an appointment with one of our registered dietitians.