There is a lot of conflicting information on when to introduce solids to your little one. Most health care professionals today say don't introduce anything until at least 6 months. My doctor however, said international research actually suggests to start solids when your child starts showing signs and is older than 4 months of age.
Signs that your child is ready for solids:
STOPS sleeping through the night (they require more nutrition) - this is the BIGGEST and most important sign
Secondary signs include showing interest in foods and observing others eat
When in doubt, ask your doctor!
How to Introduce Solids
To prepare starter cereal:
Follow the directions on the box to add previously boiled water or breast milk/formula to the powder until the consistency is almost completely liquid. Seriously this should look like soup! You can't go "too liquid" at this stage... Once they start eating on their own you can slowly increase the consistency every couple of days.
Only serve at room temperature. Check temperature by placing a small portion of food on your forearm below your palm.
Discard the cereal after each feeding, so start with very small portions.
Learning to physically eat:
When your child is ready for solids, the first step is to teach them to swallow. Do this by serving them a small portion (1/4 tsp) of starter cereal on a plastic/soft spoon in a high chair. Make sure they are sitting up straight!
If they aren't ready they will either refuse to eat it or just let it drain out of their mouth, and that's okay! Try again another day. Do NOT force them.
Eat together with them whenever you can, offer them solids when you have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus try to eat as a family when you can. Everyone enjoys company!
I recommend Oat & Prune to help keep them regular
Babies can get constipated very easily! As soon as they are actually consuming solids make sure to offer them water with every meal. This can also help them swallow and wash it down. For us we started with previously boiled water (room temp) in a small plastic bottle, then graduated to a sippy cup.
If you have started solids and haven't been offering water don't worry... My child was on solids for months, then I went to my doctor for something and asked if there was anything I should know traveling somewhere hot with my child. Her response was "just offer her more water than usual, they dehydrate easily"... my response "what do you mean, more water?".
When to stop boiling water:
After 6 months your baby has put almost anything and everything in their mouth, so as long as your tap water is drinkable it's okay for the baby to drink it too!
These are the two soft spout (dentist approved) recommendations I have that work and are easy to clean.
Cup #1 is good for transitioning from a nipple
Cup #2 is good for learning to drink from a normal cup