Whether your baby is bottle-fed or breast-fed, between 4 and 6 months of age she'll likely be ready to start solids. Before you prepare a buffet of tempting treats, start with infant cereal. From the type of cereal you choose to the way in which you approach feedings, you can make this bland, mushy meal more enticing.
During the first few feedings your baby may be confused. Being used to formula or breast milk, she may shy away from anything else. If she's hungry but unfamiliar with cereal, she may quickly become cranky. Soothe some of her hunger and entice her to eat by starting off with a few sips of formula or breast milk.
Give your baby a teaspoon at first, advises the article "Feeding Guide for the First Year" found on the The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia website. A mini-sized spoonful is easier for your baby to receive and less likely to overwhelm him. As he adjusts to eating cereal, you can give him slightly larger amounts.
Talk It Up
Even though your 4-month-old doesn't understand the words you're saying, she is starting to get a handle on what your excited tone and smile mean. Talk to your baby as you feed her, suggests the American Academy of Pediatrics on its website, HealthyChildren.org. As you bring the spoon to her mouth, put on a gleeful grin and say something such as, "Yummy cereal!" or "Mommy thinks the cereal tastes so good!"
If you've heard that adding infant cereal to your baby's bottle will help him make the transition to solids, you might wonder about the wisdom of that approach. According to pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene, adding cereal to formula or breast milk in your baby's bottle can him throw off his ability to tell if he's full and cause him to overeat. "By starting with a spoon, resting between bites, and stopping when your child lets you know he’s full," Greene says, "you will be laying an excellent foundation for good eating habits throughout his life."