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Baby Bites

The First Feast

Rice cereal is an ideal starter food. It's easy to digest and rarely triggers an allergic reaction. Prepare it very thin -- one teaspoon of cereal to four or five teaspoons of breast milk, formula, or water. The runnier it is, the easier it'll be to eat. There's no need to heat solids; it's just extra work for you, and your baby will never know the difference.

Scoop about a quarter of a teaspoon onto a baby spoon, place it between your infant's lips, and hope for the best. If the cereal comes sliding back out, don't worry. She needs to figure out how to swallow something that isn't liquid, says Dr. Elbirt: "Within a week or so, she'll probably be eating two or more tablespoons at a time."

If your baby refuses to open her mouth or begins to cry, try again the next day. If she still balks, just put away the cereal for a week or two. It's not that she finds it distasteful; she's just not interested quite yet.

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