How do I Safely Feed My baby Solid Foods?

Baby wearing green bib with mashed avocado on face and all over bib and plate

If you’re just starting to introduce solids or are transitioning into a new phase of your baby’s life, you may be wondering “How do I safely feed my baby solid foods?”. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, this is a worry of many new parents. This is especially common when you are beginning to start solids. Let us help you ease your worry, by offering some tips and tricks. Read on to learn more about safely feeding your baby solid foods.


Starting Solid Food

When you’re first introducing solids, it’s important to look for ‘signs of readiness’. In other words, you’re looking to see if your baby is showing signs that they are ready to eat solid foods (1). Signs of readiness can include: 

    • Your baby can sit with minimal support
    • Baby shows interest in food by leaning towards it and watching you eat
    • Your baby is able to hold their head up
    • Baby’s head remains steady while eating
    • Your baby can pick up food while seated and bring it to their mouth (1).


How do I Safely Feed My Baby Solid Foods?

As your baby develops, the ways you offer solid foods will change. In general, the stages are as follows (2):

6 – 9 months: At this stage, your baby should be able to grab food with their entire hand

    • Start Big: serve large, thick pieces, of tender meat, fruit, or vegetables
    • Pureed/Soft: offer apple sauce, mashed potatoes, yogurt, infant cereal, etc.
    • Remove membrane: remove the membrane from fruits such as oranges or clementines

9- 12 months: At this age, your baby will begin to develop a pincer grasp. This means that they will be able to pinch food between their thumb and forefinger

    • Shredded: offer pieces of shredded meat
    • Bite-sized: serve 1cm x 1cm pieces of meat, fruit, or vegetables 
    • Sliced: offer thin slices of fruit or vegetable 
    • Remove membrane: remove the membrane from fruits such as oranges or clementines

12- 24 months: As your baby gets older, you can begin to provide utensils for them to try. As well, you can continue to offer bite-sized foods 

    • Bite-sized: serve 1cm x 1cm pieces of meat, fruit, or vegetables
    • Large fruit or vegetable: offer whole fruits or vegetables with or without skin.

As you can see, there are general recommendations for how to safely serve your baby solid foods. However, it is important that you understand that every baby is different. As a result, your baby may need foods to be offered differently than the recommendations. This is okay! Ultimately, you should do what’s best for you and your baby. 

If you’re looking for more detail and support with starting solids, check out our Introducing Solids Virtual Program!

Now that you know how to safely feed your baby solid foods, let’s go over what to avoid during each stage.

Stay tuned for a blog post coming soon on appropriate utensils for your baby!


What Should I Avoid When Offering Solid Foods?

When offering solid foods, there are some foods that should be avoided. This is because these foods can be a choking hazard (2,3). 

    • Meat with skin, fat, or gristle.
    • Food cut into cubes.
    • Cylindrical foods such as hot dogs, string cheese, or grapes. (Grapes should be cut lengthwise in quarters).
    • Dry grains like rice, wheat, or barley. Instead, ensure the grains are moist and stick together.
    • Popcorn (recommended to avoid until age 4).
    • Whole nuts.
    • Seeds served on their own. Instead, try to roll sticky foods like avocado in seeds.
    • Hard or gooey candy.


Final Notes from The Nest

Feeding your baby solid foods can be stressful. However, it doesn’t have to be! In general, if you follow the recommendations above about safe feeding and what to avoid, you will be able to safely feed your baby solid foods. Hopefully, this can help to decrease some of your worry. If you are interested in learning more about important nutrients and types of foods to offer, head to our previous blog post: Important Nutrients when Introducing Solids.  In addition, if you want to learn even more, check out The Nest’s Intro to Solids Virtual Program!


Article Written by Hailey Belaire

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  1. Solid Starts [Internet]. Brooklyn: Solid Starts LLC; c2019-2022 [cited 2022 Jun 20]. Readiness to start solid food; [about 7 screens]. Available from:
  2. Solid Starts [Internet]. Brooklyn: Solid Starts; c 2019-2022 [cited Jun 20]. Available from:
  3. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [Internet]. Georgia: U.S Department of Health and Human Services; c 2022 [updated 2021 Aug 24; cited 2022 Jun 20]. When, what, and how to introduce solid foods; [about 3 screens]. Available from: