When Can Babies Eat Gerber?

Baby Milestones: Starting Gerber

It probably seems like you welcomed your little one to the world just yesterday, and now he’s ready to start solids. Any new food besides formula or breast milk is considered a solid. Exploring new foods is an exciting time for mom and baby as you help him check out all the new tastes and textures. Gerber makes some ideal starter foods for your little one. Keep a few things in mind as your little guy expands his palate.

Signs Your Baby Is Ready to Eat Gerber

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Like any milestone, the age that little ones are ready to eat Gerber varies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until your baby is 6 months old to start solids, but some pediatricians say it’s OK to start between 4 and 6 months. Check with your pediatrician to see what age he thinks is best.

Experts consider more than just age when introducing new foods, though. Keep an eye out for some signs your little one is ready to dig in to some new tastes. Your baby should be able to hold her head up well and turn it smoothly from side to side. She should also seem interested in food. Does she seem eager to take a bite or grab your fork if you’re eating near her? If so, she’s probably ready to try her own food.

If you start solids too early, it's possible your little one will just push the food right back out. This is because babies are born with something called a “tongue thrust reflex.” When something unusual is placed on your baby's tongue, she automatically sticks her tongue out rather than back. This protects your little one from choking, but it also makes it unlikely she'll push any food back into her throat before she's ready. This reflex starts to go away between 4 and 6 months.

Before 4 months, your little one's tongue and swallowing mechanisms also may not be ready to work together. This means that while she may not push it right back out, she may just move food randomly around in her mouth.

Good Starter Foods

No specific rules exist as to which food to introduce first, but many moms start with a single-grain cereal. These are good starter foods because most cereals are loaded with iron, which is good for your little one’s brain development, and they’re fairly easy for baby to digest.

Baby rice, barley or oatmeal are all popular cereals. Mix the cereal with breast milk or formula to a fairly thin consistency the first few times you offer some. As your little one gets used to the texture, you can thicken it by mixing in less liquid.

If you don’t offer cereal, introduce meat purees fairly early to ensure your baby is getting the necessary iron.

Choosing to start with a fruit or a vegetable is up to you. Starting with vegetables doesn’t guarantee your little guy will prefer them over sweeter fruits because babies have a natural preference for sweets. However, meats and vegetables have more nutrients than fruits or cereals.

It’s best to stick with pureed foods until your baby can sit up and bring his hands or other things to his mouth. At this point, you can offer small, soft finger foods such as small pieces of banana, thoroughly cooked pasta, scrambled eggs or chopped chicken.

Making Eating Fun

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Actually feeding your little one the solids is the fun, but messy part. Put her in a high chair and put a bib on her. Better yet, strip her down to her diaper as long as it’s not too cold. Have a camera nearby so you can capture these firsts.

Put a dab of food on your little one’s high chair tray so she can explore it while you work on feeding her. She might surprise you and stick her fingers in it and then try it herself.

Pick a time of day when neither you nor your little one is tired and you have plenty of time to enjoy the experience. You might try nursing her or giving her a bottle first, so she’s not starving in case she doesn’t take to solids right away.

Use a baby-sized spoon to give your little one a half-spoonful or less of food. Don’t be surprised or upset if she makes funny faces or spits the food back out. It may take a few tries for her to get a feel for the texture. Talk to her while you’re feeding her to encourage her. Try some songs or zoom the airplane in to make the experience fun for her. If she cries or turns away, don’t push it. Try again in a week or so.

Allergy Considerations

As you introduce new foods, wait a few days to offer each one. This allows you to watch for any allergic reaction such as diarrhea, rash or vomiting. If you notice any of these reactions, stop giving the new food and talk to your pediatrician.

Once you’ve determined one food is safe, you can still offer that one even when introducing a new food.

Even highly allergenic foods, such as peanut butter, eggs, milk and fish, can be introduced to your baby early on as long as he hasn’t been diagnosed with any other food allergies, no siblings have an allergy, and he doesn’t have moderate-to-severe eczema.

The only things your baby should not have before age 1 are honey, which can cause botulism, and whole milk, which can be too difficult for your little one to digest.