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Ready for Solids?

7 to 9 months

Breast milk/formula
Your baby will drink a bit less, but this is still his main source of nutrition-24 to 32 ounces of liquid (4 to 5 bottles or 5 to 8 nursings of breast milk).

Watch for
He's honing his pincer, or thumb-and-finger, grasp now, so toward the end of this stage you can begin to give him some practice: Set out tiny bits of soft food such as ripe banana or avocado (¼ inch in size, or no bigger than your pinkie nail). Cheerios, a good first finger food, are fine to try around 8 or 9 months. Not every new food will be a hit  -- it may take 10 to 15 tries to get your baby to eat something that's unfamiliar.

Start with
Cereal and new single-ingredient foods should continue, and you can also mix familiar ones together (peaches and oatmeal, for example) or try "combo" or "second stage" jars if he's had all of the ingredients listed. Offer solids twice a day; if he's interested in more (and eating a total of two to four tablespoons at each meal), work up to a third meal.

Move to
Thicker textures are next  -- whole-milk yogurt, cottage cheese, and tofu. As your baby gets the hang of finger foods, you can increase the variety (continue to offer tiny pieces). Try pasteurized cheese; small bits of well-cooked peas, beans, broccoli, and sweet potato; soft whole-wheat pasta and bread; and soft, very ripe fruits such as melon or peaches. How much food does he need now? Let your baby be your guide  -- some days he'll polish off entire jars, and other times he'll eat half as much. Don't force him to eat more.

Avoid
Memorize the most common choking hazards and share them with family and babysitters. Four ounces of juice a day (100 percent, no sugar added) can be offered now (diluted with water if desired), but whole fruits are more nutritious. Try serving juice (or water) in a sippy or regular cup, rather than a bottle.

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