Generally, solid foods should be started between four and six months. It depends more on the child’s physical and emotional development than exactly the age of the child. If it’s started too early or too late, there is a major chance of food allergy.
Since the kids are small and sensitive, it’s best to try one food at a time. After couple of days, if they are fine then the parent could try out another one. Like this they should try to introduce all tastes by the time the child turns two. As the child develops liking and disliking to food mostly in the first two years of life, it’s important for them to know different tastes.
The first food should be generally infant cereals mixed in breast or formula milk. The cereals could be barley, rice or mixed grains cereals. Along with this, child should be kept on breast or formula milk as well. After the first year, they could move on whole milk. It’s better to consult pediatrician before the switch over.
At the shops, there are plenty of baby foods available and they also specify whether they are first foods or second or the third. Depending on the stage of the child, the parent could choose from them.
After trying cereals, it should be pureed vegetables, mashed fruits and then combination of mashed vegetables and meat. After consulting the paediatrician, diluted fruit juices could be started too. But citrus fruits should be avoided. Once the child has learnt to eat different food, anything could be given but for food that could choke them like hard candy, popcorn, nuts, hot dogs, raisins, and grapes. If there is any doubt about the child being able to eat the food, then its better to avoid it.
Initially the child wouldn’t know how to eat the food, they may not know to bring their tongue to food and swallow it. Instead they may mess up their face. Soon they would learn to eat the right way. Once the child starts to sits up and crawl as well, its good idea to serve them mashed food in a plate on the table along with others in the family.
A good sign of when to start solids for child is when the child starts showing interest in what the parents are eating.