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
- Colostrum: Your Baby's First Meal (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish
- Cronobacter Sakazakii (Food and Drug Administration)
- FDA Investigation of Cronobacter Infections: Powdered Infant Formula (February 2022) (Food and Drug Administration)
- Infant Formula and Community Water Fluoridation (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Is Homemade Baby Formula Safe? (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- What Can Parents Do about Heavy Metals in Baby Food? (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Quantitation of bioactive components in infant formulas: Milk oligosaccharides, sialic acids...
- Article: Adherence to Infant Feeding Guidelines in the First Foods New Zealand...
- Article: The Influence of Early Nutrition on Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Preterm Infants.
- Infant and Newborn Nutrition -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver 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