It's best to begin solid food between four and six months of age, when the baby's digestive system is more fully developed. In the beginning, solids should only supplement milk or formula feedings, not totally substitute for them. Make sure the baby can sit up, and set up a sturdy high chair or feeding seat, making sure the baby's comfortable in it. Use a small spoon, either a baby spoon or ice tea spoon, preferably with a plastic coating. Rice cereal, served at room temperature or slightly warm, is considered a good first solid food to try. When you introduce solid food, give a tiny bite and allow time to react. After the first few bites, the child may begin opening his or her mouth, anticipating more. The first few times, the food may come back out of the mouth, which is normal. Keep in mind the child is learning how to use the tongue and how to swallow. Don't force the child to eat. If the food continues to slide out, perhaps the child isn't yet ready for solid food. After two or three spoonfuls have gone down smoothly, you can try other single-grain cereals, then later add strained vegetables, and finally fruits. Of course, there are prepackaged commercial foods, but with the ease of appliances such as food grinders and processors, many people are choosing to prepare fresh food instead. Because this is the time a child's eating habits are established, make sure you encourage healthful eating from the start.