Most infants are ready to begin trying solid foods at 4 to 6 months of age. A child begins to have more control over their tongue and mouth at this age which is one reason to begin introducing them. If you are unsure of whether to begin feeding your baby solids make sure to discuss it with your pediatrician.
Infants are usually ready to start solid foods when they show the following signs:
- Can sit with support
- Can hold their neck steady and can control their head movements
- They want to breastfeed more than every 2 hours
- A baby is still hungry after a bottle or breast feeding
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you begin to feed your infant solids:
- When you start, try to pick a time when there are few distractions so you can devote your full attention to the feeding
- Make sure your baby is sitting up so they do not choke
- If your baby cries or turns away do not force the solids on them. You want them to enjoy feeding and for it not to be stressful. It is more important that the infant enjoys mealtime rather than them starting to eat solids at a certain age.
- Feed your infant with a spoon
- Continue regular nursing or bottle feeding so you ensure your baby is getting the proper nutirition
- Feed your child small bites, and do not worry if they spit the food out of their mouth or end up with it on their clothes or face. They are learning how to properly swallow.
- Start new foods one at a time
- Wait 3 days before introducing a new food so you can check for any allergic reaction
If you feel your infant is not ready for solids then go back to nursing or bottle feeding for a few weeks and then try introducing them again at a later date.
The following foods are good for most babies in the order specified:
- Rice Cereal
- Oatmeal Cereal
- Barley Cereal
It is preferred to not feed your child wheat or mixed cereals at first since many young children may have an allergic reaction to them.
Once your baby starts eating solids you may notice their stools will become more solid with varying colors. They will also most likely have a much stronger odor.
It is important that you start good eating habits when your child is young. Infants do not have a taste for salt or saturated fats so by introducing these things when they are young you may predispose them to future health problems.
Also, keep an eye on how much your child is eating. If they learn to overeat when they are young they may develop poor eating habits which could lead to future weight problems.
If you have any concerns about your child’s diet or eating habits make sure to discuss it with your pediatrician so they can ensure you child is getting the proper nutrition and can monitor their weight to check if they are under or over weight.
*Above Information provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics