For the latest updates on UW–Madison plans and responses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit

Please note visitors are not allowed in UW facilities and employees are working remotely.

During this time, please contact us at

Starting babies on solid foods – Audio

Beth Olson, Extension Professor
Department of Nutritional Sciences
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
(608) 265-2108

3:05 – Total Time
0:16 – Transition you baby to solid food
0:47 – Babies will eat enough
1:14 – Pre-packaged baby foods
1:41 – Meal time stress
2:09 – Turn off the TV
2:24 – More information on feeding babies
2:55 – Lead out


Sevie Kenyon:  What to do when your baby’s old enough to eat. We’re visiting today with Beth Olson, Department of Nutritional Science, University of Wisconsin- Madison/Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon. Beth, what do you do when it’s time to start feeding your baby solid foods?

Beth Olson: So maybe you do start with infant foods that are in a jar, those are really convenient there’s a wide variety, they’re great place to start. But then after that, you can cook your own foods softer, you can choose things that are a little easier to chew up and swallow, cut the pieces small and put them on the baby’s tray on the high chair and pull them up next to you and give them a big soft spoon and let them go.

Sevie Kenyon: Beth, are there things parents worry about when they get their kids eating solid foods?

Beth Olson: A lot of parents worry that their kids aren’t eating enough and those babies are born knowing when they’re hungry and knowing when they’re full and if you let them tell you that they will. So we want to let babies learn as early as they can to feed themselves. Let them use the spoon, let them use the fingers they have, let them get messy, and they will eat enough and they will eat a wide variety of foods to be healthy.

Sevie Kenyon:  Beth there’s a lot of food products on the market now.

Beth Olson: There’s a wide variety of products and when your baby is starting to eat some of these are really wonderful, they’re convenient, they’re easy. The thing to remember is babies don’t need those foods forever. Take your own foods and cut them up small and cook them well and help a baby learn that this is the kind of food that families eat together, they eat real food that their family picks out at the store and cooks together and eats together.

Sevie Kenyon:  Why is meal time so stressful for so many parents?

Beth Olson: I think parents are often busy, they may have been working, they had other children they needed to attend to and to try to get a meal together to meet everybody’s needs is pretty tough. So, sometimes when you’re starting out feeding your baby those infant foods are really helpful, but it’s good to know that pretty quickly you can eliminate that step and just offer your baby the foods that you would be eating with just a little bit more work.

Sevie Kenyon: Are there common habits that you’d like to see people avoid?

Beth Olson: A common habit would be to leave the TV on while we’re eating, even babies will be distracted by that noise. That’s the time to turn the TV off and say we’re going to pay attention to the baby.

Sevie Kenyon: Beth, if a parent is concerned about feeding their child is there a place they can go for more information?

Beth Olson: People should call their local extension office there are a lot of wonderful nutrition education programs that are designed to help people build skills to select healthy foods to feed their family in a healthy way, and if people can access the internet a great search to do is to put in “infant nutrition” and then the “American academy of pediatrics” or “WIC works”, W-I-C  W-O-R-K-S both places will have wonderful information on feeding a baby in a healthy way.

Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Beth Olson, Department of Nutritional Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon.