Most doctors recommend starting solids at around 6 months. Before then, the baby would have received all the nutrients required from breastfeeding or formula. You should never give solids to a baby younger than four months because their digestive system is not ready for solids yet.
The signs that your baby is ready to try solids
A baby is ready for solids when:
- He/she holds his head up unaided
- Can sit upright by him/herself
- He/She loses the extrusion reflex, meaning that they stop pushing food out with their tongue. This doesn’t let food get to the back of the mouth.
- His/Her weight is approximately doubled since birth
Where to start?
The best place to start is baby cereals and single ingredient pureed food. Your doctor may suggest which is specifically better for your child. If your child is breastfeeding stores of iron start depleting at around 6 months so your doctor will probably ask you to include the following beef, chicken, and turkey helps to replace the irons. Additional first pureed foods may include sweet potatoes, bananas, and pears.
The first foods introduced should be typically non-allergenic. Once the baby is eating a variety of non-allergenic foods, allergenic foods should be introduced, It’s important to watch your baby’s food reactions carefully from day 1 (even with non-allergenic) and add only one ingredient or food at a time. Once the baby is happily eating a variety of foods you may add potentially allergenic food such as soy, peanut butter, egg etc. Take special precautions if you have relative with food allergies.
How do I start?
In order to increase the chances of success using the following tactics when beginning solids:
- Do not introduce solids when your baby is tired
- Start with one ingredient at a time
- Let baby get used to one new food before introducing the next
- When a baby starts eating solids they will reduce the amount of milk they drink but they should not stop drinking it altogether.
How much should my baby eat?
Begin with solids just once a day. After one or two months depending on the baby’s requests step up to two meals a day. Step this up again two months later to 3 meals a day.
At around 8 to 9 months, the baby will probably be eating solid food three times a day. A typical baby diet at 8 months might include:
- Breast milk or iron-fortified formula
- Iron-fortified cereal
- Small amounts of protein, such as eggs, cheese, yogurt, chicken, turkey and beef.
What do I watch out for? What are the risks?
When adding solids to your baby’s diet it’s very important to watch out for the following:
- Choking Hazards
- Skin reactions
- Other allergic reactions