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When to Introduce Solids to Baby

When to Introduce Solids to Baby

If your baby is nearing 6 months (4 months if you're bottle feeding), you likely are wondering about when to introduce solid foods. The first time your baby eats food other than breast milk or formula is an exciting event, one which can be enjoyable with the right tools and timing.

Timing Recommendations: What’s Right for You

So when is the best time to introduce solids to your little one? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies shouldn’t consume solid foods until they are between 4 and 6 months old. Although past recommendations emphasized waiting to start solids in order to avoid allergies to things like peanuts and gluten, a new study shows that many formula-fed infants do well when they begin these and other solids around the age of 4 months. For breastfed babies, the recommendation still remains 6 months of exclusive breast milk before introducing complementary solids. However, most recommendations are based more off of developmental readiness than a specific age.

Signs Your Baby is Ready for Solids

Below are some basic signs to look for in your baby’s behavior and development that likely point to a readiness for food:
  • Interest in grown-up food; wanting to participate in meals
  • Ability to hold up the head and sit up in supported positions
  • Loss of the “extrusion reflex,” or using tongue to push food out of the mouth
  • Doubled birth weight and increased appetite
  • Ability to make chewing motions

As you make this decision, be sure to consult with your baby’s pediatrician. By using your motherly instincts and a professional’s knowledge, you’ll be able to determine the best possible time to introduce solids to your baby.

Tools to Introduce Solids

Obviously drinking from a breast or even a natural baby bottle is quite different than consuming mushy food off of a spoon. Introducing complementary solids to your baby represents a big change in their routine, and you’re going to need help to make it as smooth of a transition as possible. Start with the following items:

Try to use feeding utensils that promote a feeling of familiarity for your baby. For example, a squirt-delivery spoon is the perfect way to remind your baby of breast or bottle-feeding while introducing new foods. Make sure that any feeding utensil you use is soft and flexible enough to help your baby feel at ease. The size of the spoon or feeding tool should be small enough to fit comfortably inside your baby’s mouth. Boon Swap 2-in-1 feeding spoons offer the size and softness that you need when feeding your baby. 

Patience is Key

Start with a mix of food (rice cereal or something similar) and breast milk or formula. This will help your baby understand that what you’re giving them is still “food,” just slightly different in taste than what they’re used to. If your baby doesn’t like their first sample of solids, it’s okay to take a break and try again. Some babies won’t eat a new food until they’ve tried it 5-10 times before. Remember to wait 3-4 days before introducing a new food so you can keep an eye out for any allergic reactions. Whether you plan on making your own baby food or buying it in the store, watch for any slight preferences your baby has. You don’t just have to stick with bland foods, either. Be adventurous within the realm of reason—simple seasonings and spices (not salt) are great ways to expand your baby’s palette. 
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