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Introducing Solid Foods

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For months your baby has thrived with just breast milk or formula on the menu. But now that he's getting bigger, he seems to want more out of lunch than mere milk. When is the best time to introduce solid foods to your infant? What foods should come first?

Feeding Roles

As you begin this new stage in your relationship with your baby, it's important to understand the roles you each need to play so that he grows well now and develops life-long healthy eating habits.

  • You're in charge of making healthy, appropriate food available to your child in a way he can handle.
  • Your child is in charge of what and when and how much he eats of your offerings.
  • He's both the learner and the explorer; you are the supportive, reassuring facilitator.
  • If you get into a fight, the parent and the relationship will lose.

 

When to Begin

The newest recommendations are to introduce solids when your baby is about 4 to 6 months old. Some larger babies may want to make the switch earlier. Breast milk or formula should continue to be your baby's primary food until he is 1 year old, or longer if you wish. Despite what your own mother may have told you, there is no reason to rush solids. The age when you start a child on solids has no impact on his intelligence, now or in the future. And feeding solids to your baby before he's 4 to 6 months old will not help him sleep through the night; a lot of research has been done that debunks that old wives' tale. So go slow and easy; don't push it. Many sensitive children need a very slow, gentle approach, so respect those differences.

Solid Signals

As with all feeding, your actions need to follow from what your baby is telling you. He may be ready for solids when he:

  • Has doubled his birth weight and weighs at least 13 pounds
  • Shows interest in what other people are eating, watching them eat.
  • Makes mouthing movements as he watches other people eat.
  • Is still hungry after eating a good amount of breast milk or formula.
  • Doesn't push his tongue out at a spoon when you try to feed him.
  • Pulls in his lower lip for food instead of sticking it out.
  • Holds his head up on his own.
  • Sits upright easily with some support.
  • Follows food with his eyes.
  • Closes his lips over food.

 

 
 

 
 
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Member comments

3rd foods & gagging
Hi Kat, my daughter gets feeding therapy and is 8 months. Our feeding person told us to plan on ski..

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