September 26, 2017

When to start feeding your baby solids

Knowing when and how much food to feed a baby from the time they are born all the way up until they start solids can be a mystery.  The medical field has established basic guidelines for feeding a baby, but the fact of the matter is that every baby needs a different amount of food and will want it at different times.  Certain guidelines have been established to know when to start feeding a baby solid food.  Because every baby is different, be sure to consult a doctor before jumping into feeling a baby solid food.  Below are a few tips for knowing when to start feeding a baby solid foods.

Age

Generally speaking, a baby will be ready for solids sometime between the ages of four and six months.  The exact time will depend on the baby’s development.  Some doctors like to wait until later in the six month period because there is a belief that waiting will help reduce the baby’s likelihood of developing food allergies.

Head Control

One way to know that a baby has developed enough to eat solid foods is if they can steadily hold their head up.  When a baby can do this, it will be much easier to feed them, and they will be able to begin attributing solid foods with sitting with their head up.  This will be a change from always laying down to eat.

Tongue and Mouth Control

A baby must be able to move food to the back of their mouth before they can be ready for solids.  This is a deceiving sign though because it is difficult to know if a baby will use their tongue to help swallow food until they have had solids.  Other tips that give away this ability is teething or less drooling.  If a baby is in the proper age range, and the doctor says it is ok to start solids, it is likely that baby will quickly learn to move food to the back of their mouth with their tongue.

Weight Gain

Another sign that a baby is ready to try solid foods is weight gain.  Generally, if a baby has doubled their birth weight, and they are at least four months old, it might be time to try solids.  A baby’s body must be developed enough to handle digesting solid foods.  A significant weight gain is a good sign of that development.

Growing Appetite and Curiosity

Babies will generally begin to show that they are still hungry despite their regular formula or breast feedings.  If a baby is still showing that they are hungry after eight to ten feedings each day, this could be a sign they are ready for solids.

A parent may also notice that the baby has shown interest in the food they are eating.  For example, when a baby sits and watches their parents eat or even reaches for their food, this could be a sign that the baby is ready to try solids.

Parents should keep in mind that knowing when a baby is ready to begin solids is not an exact science.  By watching for certain tips and consulting with their doctor, parents will be able to know when the perfect time to introduce solid foods to their baby will be.  Also, the doctor will be able to teach parents how to introduce solids to their baby in order to avoid undetectable food allergies and other possible risks.

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