Food provides the energy and nutrients that babies need to be healthy. For a baby, breast milk is best. It has all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Infant formulas are available for babies whose mothers are not able to or decide not to breastfeed.
Infants are usually ready to eat solid foods at about 6 months of age. Check with your health care provider for the best time for your baby to start. If you introduce one new food at a time, you will be able to identify any foods that cause allergies in your baby. Allergic reactions include a a rash, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Many parents are concerned about peanut allergies. When babies can eat foods that contain peanuts depends on their risk of food allergies:
- Most babies can have peanut products when they are about 6 months of age
- Babies who have mild to moderate eczema have a higher risk of food allergies. They usually can eat peanut products at about 6 months of age. If you have concerns about this, check with your baby's health care provider.
- Babies who have severe eczema or egg allergies are at high risk for peanut allergies. If your baby is at high risk, check with your baby's health care provider. Your baby may need allergy testing. Your baby's provider can also recommend when and how to give your baby peanut products.
There are some foods that you should avoid feeding your baby:
- Do not give your baby honey before 1 year of age. Honey may contain bacteria that can cause botulism in babies.
- Avoid cow's milk before age 1, since it does not have all of the nutrients that babies need and babies cannot digest it
- Unpasteurized drinks or foods (such as juices, milks, yogurt, or cheeses) may put your child at risk for an E. coli infection. E coli is a harmful bacteria that can cause severe diarrhea.
- Certain foods that can cause choking, such as hard candy, popcorn, whole nuts, and grapes (unless they are cut into small pieces). Don't give your child these foods before age 3.
- Because it contains a lot of sugar, babies should not drink juice before age 1
- Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Feeding Your 1- to 3-Month-Old (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Feeding Your 4- to 7-Month-Old (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Feeding Your 8- to 12-Month-Old (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Feeding Your Newborn (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Once Baby Arrives (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
- Colostrum: Your Baby's First Meal (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish
- Feeding Vegetarian and Vegan Infants and Toddlers (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
- Finger Foods for Babies (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Formula Feeding FAQs: Starting Solids and Milk (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Infant Formula (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Infant Formula and Fluorosis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Organic Baby Food: Better for Baby? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Solid Foods: How to Get Your Baby Started (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Vegetarianism (Nemours Foundation)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Skin emollient and early complementary feeding to prevent infant atopic dermatitis...
- Article: Effects of improved water, sanitation, and hygiene and improved complementary feeding...
- Article: What Is the Impact of Diet on Nutritional Diarrhea Associated with...
- Infant and Newborn Nutrition -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in Spanish
- Food and Nutrition Service Programs Contacts by State (Food and Nutrition Service)
- KidsHealth (Nemours Foundation)
- Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Cow's milk - infants (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Feeding patterns and diet -- babies and infants (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Feeding patterns and diet -- children 6 months to 2 years (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Infant botulism (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Neonatal weight gain and nutrition (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish