When should you introduce solid foods to your baby?

(North Dakota Today) - Introducing solid foods to infants can be a tricky thing for moms and dads. Sanford Pediatrician Dr. Stephanie Hanson shares some tips on how to go about it.

The baby should be able to sit in a high chair, a feeding seat, or an infant seat with good head control. Babies may be ready if they watch you eating, reach for your food, and seem eager to be fed. However, if food dribbles out of the baby's mouth, he or she might not be ready o swallow it yet.

Generally when infants double their birth weight, and weigh about 13 lbs or more, they may be ready for solid foods. A common time frame is at about 4-6 months.

By tradition, single grain cereals are usually introduced first. Whichever type of cereal you choose, it's important to make sure that it is make for babies and iron fortified. Food that are pureed such as sweet potatoes, bananas, squash, applesauce, peaches, pears, etc. are all good options. Many even recommend meat such as beef, chicken and turkey as a first food because of the iron they contain. Iron starts to diminish around 6 months of age so those meats are a great option.

It's also recommended to avoid hard, raw foods such as apples slices and carrot sticks as well as choking hazard foods such as nuts, popcorn, whole grapes, nut butter etc. You also want to avoid honey because it can cause botulism if introduced too early. It's smart to stay away from cow's milk until the child is one year old, stick with breast milk and formula as primary beverages.