Guide to Food Introduction

Age Foods Mouth Skills
0-13 months Breast/Bottle
6 months Introduce straw, thin baby food cereals Sucks food back, munch pattern, moves tongue to the sides of mouth when food is placed there
7 months Thin baby food purees / stage 1
8 months Thicker baby foods / stage 2
9 months Soft mashed table foods and table food smooth purees Able to bring top lip down to clear spoon, moves tongue to sides of the mouth, able to move food from sides to middle
9 months Hard munchables (raw carrot sticks, jicama, frozen soft pretzels, celery sticks, etc ****not to eat but to explore in mouth***requires close supervision) Hard munchables help to desensitize mouth, increase jaw strength, and decrease gag reflex
9 1/2 months Meltable hard solids (Gerber puffs, crackers, graham crackers, yogurt melts, etc) **foods that easily dissolve With assistance, able to break off small pieces of meltable solids
10 months Soft cubes (avocado, overcooked squash, bananas, cooked pieces of fruit, kiwi, peas, boiled potatoes, etc)***small pieces (size of green pea/ fruit cocktail cube)
11 months Soft mechanical (single texture) (muffins, soft small pasta, deli meats, scrambled eggs) Can manage foods that break apart in mouth easily
12 months Mixed textures / soft mechanical stage 3 (mac and cheese, spaghetti) Clears food off lips, more controlled biting, moves food easily around mouth, rotary chew
13-14 months Soft table foods ***appropriate size
15-18 months Hard mechanicals (cheerios, thin pretzel sticks, saltines, Chews and swallows firmer foods

Additional Tips:

  • Introduce straw cups and open cups early and avoid sippy cups.  You can start by giving your child water through straw used like a pipette and wait for lip closure and suck before releasing water.
  • Do not offer Stage 3 foods until around 12 months old.
  • Keep trying foods even if your child gags the first times trying.  This is a natural response.  It can take our mouths ~20 times to know if we like a food.  Parents often “give up” on foods too early.
  • Never force your child to eat
  • Don’t use bribes / rewards for eating  (especially with other foods)
  • Avoid wiping your child clean in his high chair
  • Eat with your child and talk about the foods in positive ways.
  • Make eating a fun time!  Let your child play with his food and get MESSY!  This is how they learn about the foods they are eating.
  • Eat with your child and talk about the foods in positive ways.