Is your baby ready for solid foods?
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
The standard recommendation is that infants begin complementary foods along with continuing breastfeeding at the age of six months. Some recommendations follow the guidelines of 4-6 months, however, it is rare to see these stages before 6 months. So how do you know specifically when your baby is ready?
Here are the specific signs a baby will be ready to consume solid foods:
- They can stay in sitting position and hold their head steady.
- They can coordinate hands/eyes/mouth so they can look at foods and pick them up then put them in their mouth themselves.
- They are able to swallow food and won’t push food out of their mouth (more on face than in mouth).
These stages show that your baby has the cognitive and motor abilities to eat on their own. This principle is a part of the concept of baby-led weaning. You will begin to replace breastfeeding sessions with these meals. However, it is important to keep breastfeeding because they will still be getting the majority of their nutrition from your milk in the beginning.
Once you start to include solid foods in your baby's diet, you will increase complementary foods to 2-3 meals at the ages of 6-8 months. Then through 9-23 months you will increase to 3-4 feedings during the day. One of the best methods is to offer finger sized foods for them to “gum” and feed themself during meals as opposed to being fed pureed food with a spoon. This will also help cognitive development and chewing abilities, dexterity, as well as hand hand eye coordination.
Eventually your baby will be able to meet all of their nutritional needs through foods, but you can and should still breastfeeding for as long as it suites you and your baby.
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