At some point during your child's first year, he will be ready to start eating solid foods. But how do you know when the right time is to introduce it? Here are some clues:
Typically, it's said that babies are ready to start eating solid foods between the age of 4-8 months. But generally speaking, it's more important to pay attention to the signs your baby is giving you, than her age.
Does your baby:
- Hold his head up unsupported?
- Sit up on his own?
- Lose the tongue-thrust reflex?
These are all signs that your baby might be ready for solids. If the tongue-thrust reflex is still there, your baby will just push out any solid foods put in their mouths.
Other signs to look for:
- Does your baby suddenly wake up frequently during the night? This could be a sign that the breast milk or formula alone is not filling her up. But it could also mean that she is simply going through a growth spurt (common around 3-4 months), and might just need more feedings - not solid foods.
- Does your by show you when he's done eating by turning his head or pulling away? This is an important function to show that baby can self regulate and know to stop eating when he's full.
- Does your baby show interest in your food? Is she watching you eat with interest? This could indicate that she's ready to start experimenting with solids.
Starting too early
Starting your baby on solid foods too early is not a good thing, as often their gastrointestinal is not fully ready to digest solid foods until they are around 6-8 months old. Waiting until this system is ready, may help stave off food allergies later in life. Breast milk and/or formula, contains all the nutrition your baby needs for the first year of life, so don't feel pressured to add solid foods early unless your baby is showing the above signs.
Next week we will discuss which solid foods are best to start feeding your baby, once she is ready.