There’s no better food for a newborn baby than his mothers’ milk. It has all the nutrients the baby needs to grow and prosper at that age.
But at some point it’s time to “go solid”.
How can you tell when is the right time? Anywhere between four to six months of age is usually a good time, while my recommendation would be rather six months than four months. (More on that later…)
Just observe your baby.
How Heavy Is Your Baby?
If your baby is about double the weight of when he was first born
Well Functioning Neck Muscles
Also, your baby should be able to hold his head confidently and steadily without effort. Good head control is essential before introducing solids.
How Does Your Infant React When You Put Food To His Lips?
Does he open his mouth and kind of wants to put it in his mouth?
Does He Put His Fingers, Hands, etc. In His Mouth?
When your baby starts to put plenty of things in his mouth (mainly his own fingers) then this can be another sign that he’s ready for solids.
No More Pushing Things Out With His Tongue
Infants have what’s called a thong-thrust reflex (also sometimes called extrusion reflex). This is nature’s way of protecting them from choking. Everything that enters your baby’s mouth will be pushed out by your baby’s tongue again (with the exception of liquids). When the baby is ready for eating solids, this reflex gradually disappears.
Does Your Baby Know (And Show) When It’s Enough?
Your baby should be able to communicate to the parents when it feels full. Of course, not actually saying “I’m full, thank you very much mom, no more food for me now, that was just the right amount.” 😉
But by pushing the milk bottle (or breast) away, or turning his head away when he feels full.
Does Your Baby Want To Eat “Like You”?
If your baby observes you eating, and you get that kind of sense that he’s really interested in it, almost wanting to do it too, that’s another sign to watch out for. This is mainly because baby’s like to imitate their parents. It’s better to wait until you can deserve some desire in your baby to “eat like mom & dad”, rather than trying to push him to eat solids.
Has Your Pediatrician Recommended 4 Months?
Many pediatricians still recommend four months. Why? Simply because that has been the standard recommendation for decades. However, the current medical research strongly indicates that 6 months might be a better time point for most babies.
Why Do We Recommend 6 Months (Rather Than 4)?
Your baby’s intestine needs to mature. The intestine is not just a tube that pushes food from the stomach out of the body. It’s a filtering system that helps to take in nutrients and keep out harmful substances in the food.
The inner lining of your baby’s intestine is going through what’s called closure. It’s during this time that his intestine becomes more selective about what it let’s pass through and what not.
If someone in your family has a food allergy, we recommend even more urgently to wait 6 months rather than 4 months before introducing solid foods.
What Does The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Recommend?
The AAP recommends exlusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life. This strengthens the baby’s immune system and provides better protection against many diseases. And it reduces the risk of food allergies.
Other health organizations that make the same recommendation:
- World Health Organization
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine
- United Nations Children’s Fund