Solids can be introduced around 4 to 6 months of age when your baby is showing signs of feeding readiness. Previous recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggested to delay introducing solids until 6 months of age to reduce the risk of food allergies. However, in a recent study by the AAP (2008), "there is little evidence that delaying the timing of the introduction of complementary foods beyond 4 to 6 months of age prevents the occurrence of atopic disease...This includesdelaying the introduction of foods thatare considered to behighly allergic, such as fish, eggs, andfoods containing peanutprotein." Exclusive breastfeeding is still highly encouraged during this time, but for those infants that are showing signs of feeding readiness, it may be time to introduce solids.
Signs of Feeding Readiness
Your child may be ready for solids when he/she:
- Is able to sit with minimal support.
- Has good head and neck control.
- Shows interest in food.
- Makes chewing motion with mouth.
Loss of tongue thrust reflex.
- The tongue thrust reflex is a protective reflex that a baby is born with and is present until around 4-6 months of age. The tongue thrusts forward in the mouth and protects baby’s airway.
Ability to regulate feeding by giving signs of being full:
- Turns head away.
- Closes mouth when bottle/breast or spoon approaches.
Pushes food/milk out of mouth.
Special note:Babies go through many growth spurts in the first year of life. On average, babies double their birth weight by 6 months of age and triple their birth weight by their first birthday.Typically, growth spurts occur around 2 to 3 weeks of life, 3 to 6 weeks, and 3 to 6 months of age. During these growth spurts, your baby may demand more frequent feedings and may wake during the night or during naps to eat. Growth spurts typically last for 2-7 days. Avoid confusing a growth spurt with signs of feeding readiness.
Babies 411 Recommended Baby Food Products
Most pediatricians recommend beginning with a single-grain cereal (usually white rice cereal) and continuing it until 18 months of age. However, there is no medical evidence that this is the best approach. Instead of introducing white rice cereal as your baby's first meal, experts such as Dr. Alan Greene suggest beginning with whole grains, avocados, sweet potatoes or bananas.
White Out Now - Your Baby's First Food
Did you know that making your own homemade baby food is easy, fast and can save you money? And best of all, you are providing your child with wholesome ingredients and eliminating their exposure to preservatives, additives and sugar. Not sure how to get started? Find out here...
American Academy of Pediatrics. Bright Futures Guidelines for Health Supervisions of Infants , Children, and Adolescents: Infancy.
American Academy of Pediatrics (2008). Effects of Early Nutritional Interventions on the Development of Atopic Disease in Infants and Children: The Role of Maternal Dietary Restriction, Breastfeeding, Timing of Introduction of Complementary Foods, and Hydrolyzed Formulas.
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Author : Diba Tillery RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST