*We’ve partnered with Inspired Start to help ease one of baby’s biggest milestones: first foods.

Starting your baby on solid foods is such a fun and exciting milestone, but lots of times we find ourselves wondering when exactly that milestone is “supposed” to happen? Like all major milestones, the right time to start solids is different for every baby. That being said, there are some common signs that can help show that baby is ready for the next step in his or her food journey.

OK – so you’re “there”; you, your baby, and your pediatrician are ready for baby to start solids. We know first-hand that transition isn’t easy. To help, we’ve partnered with Inspired Start, the only baby food designed to introduce 8 common allergens, to get the dish (literally!) from Pegah Jalali, a registered dietitian at NYC’s Middleberg Nutrition. Here’s her 5 tips:

1. Safety first!

Babies develop at different rates so it’s always helpful to ask your pediatrician, but signs of readiness for eating solids include being able to sit (even if supported), good head control, interest in foods when they see parents eating, and a decreased tongue thrust.

2. Introduce a wide variety of foods and textures.

When it comes to first foods, I recommend introducing food that parents consume themselves. If a family eats a lot of fish or nuts, they should offer fish and nuts to their babies when they introduce solids. It’s not always easy to find these ingredients in baby-friendly foods, but Inspired Start has delicious flavor combinations, high quality ingredients and a familiar pouch format to make this easy for parents.

3. Timing is everything.

I usually recommend trying solids 15-30 minutes after baby has enjoyed some milk. Some believe introducing solids when baby is hungry is best but, in my experience, this can be overwhelming since at first, babies do not really know how to eat or what to make of the food. That means you could have a very hangry baby on your hands! At first, baby will likely eat 1-2 teaspoons a day. After a week, offer solids twice a day. At this stage baby will likely take 2-3 tablespoons.

4. Try again and again and again.

Babies may not be interested or receptive, but that doesn’t mean that they “do not like” a certain food. Keep offering the same foods, especially in different forms. It can take 15-25 tries until they accept a new food!

5. Get spicy!

Babies can enjoy foods spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, oregano, garlic powder and many more spices. Blends like Inspired Start’s Mango + Soy and Banana + Shrimp give your little one exciting flavors and textures. The only two spices I recommend being careful with are salt, since babies’ kidneys are not fully developed, and pepper, which can be painful for them.

Whether you think baby is ready for solids now, in three weeks, or three months, we hope these tips will help ease the transition from breastmilk or formula to the wide variety of yummy foods that the world has to offer!

Photography by Charlene Petitjean-Barkulis for Well Rounded.