Introducing Baby To Solid Food

Introducing baby to solid foods can elicit fear in even the most calm parent. It's a big step in your baby's development and one you need to ensure he's ready for.

Baby trying solid foods

Age

Most doctors or experts will say that baby is ready to start solids (generally rice cereal) somewhere between the age of four to six months. Many experts now believe allergies can actually develop if you start baby on solids too early. But by this age, the introduction of solids does not appear to impact the development of allergies. Plus most babies' systems are developmentally ready to handle first solids by this age.

Interest

Another way to tell if baby is ready to start solids is to gauge his interest in "table food." When you're eating, does baby show interest in what you are having or even try to reach for something on your plate? Does he seem to still be hungry or reach for more after he's completed a bottle or nursing session? Are you breastfeeding more often than usual?

Developmental signs

It's also important to note if baby can support his own head and neck weight and sit up with some assistance, if he can keep food in his mouth without it coming back out immediately and if his weight has doubled since birth.

Doctor's approval

Before proceeding to solids, check with baby's pediatrician to get his okay as well as any special instructions he may have for you as to how to introduce your baby to solids and which ones to start baby on. In addition to your doctor's okay, it's important to trust your instincts as a parent. A mother's (and may we add a father's?!) intuition is a powerful thing. Trust yourself and start slow. If you (or your baby) is not quite ready yet, that's okay. Give it a try and if you don't think it's the right time, give it a few days or weeks and try again.

More on baby's development

Baby milestones: When should baby sit up? Crawl? Walk? Talk?
What to do if your baby is missing milestones
Why are well-baby checkups important?

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