Time and time again, parents are always asking, when to start solids with their child. Recently I saw a parent post a question in a mom’s group and felt completely demoralised because many mom’s thought the doctor’s advice she received was too early.
Photo by Tanaphong Toochinda on Unsplash
There are a couple of different ideas of baby weaning out there – traditional purees vs. baby led weaning, with a variety of different opinions on how to go about doing this. Doctors often provide a variety of advice to patients. There is a lot of confusion over when to start – 4 months to 6 months? This confusion is due to the medical recommendations changing over the past 15 years. Please remember, medicine is a science, and science is constantly evolving. The recommendations often change, as science is constantly changing, but medical professionals, often have to do their best to keep up with the information. They are seeing patients on a daily basis, which doesn’t give them the luxury of reading scientific journals all the time.
Despite the recommendations, every child develops at a different rate. When to start your baby on solid foods should be dependent on when your baby is ready. This can be anywhere from 4 to 8 months of age, depending on the baby. What are the signs?
Can your baby sit up on his own?
Is your baby interested in food, watching you eat and gets excited for food? (This may include wanting to grab food or the spoon and put it in her mouth.)
Does your baby open his mouth when the food is coming?
Can your baby move food from the front of her mouth to the back?
Is your baby able to pick up food, initially this may be using the palmar grip, but soon advancing to the pincher grip?
If you baby is showing all the above signs, she may be ready to start solid foods. As to what foods to start with, this will be heavily dependent on your choice feeding method. The most recent guidelines are for all kinds of food are acceptable (in an age appropriate texture**) to be fed to a baby, with the exception of honey (wait until after 1 year). This includes allergenic foods (wheat, egg, peanuts, dairy, etc) and high protein foods (meats, eggs, fish).
It is an exciting time of exploration for your baby. The food your baby eats in the first few months are more for learning than for nutrition, so just enjoy the moment! It will get messy, but this is all part of the developmental and learning processes.
**Age appropriate texture will vary from mushy soft for babies and will advance to normal table food.