The transition to solid foods is one that many weary breast and bottle feeding mothers are eager to make. But doing so prematurely can overload your baby’s still developing digestive system.
Your baby may show signs of being ready for solid foods anywhere between 4 and 6 months. Signs that he’s ready include:
- Being able to hold his head in a steady, upright position
- Losing the extrusion reflex (when the baby pushes food out of his mouth with his tongue)
- Sitting upright with support well
- Making chewing motions which signify that he’s able to chew and his digestive system has also developed enough for solid food
- Doubling his birth weight (and being at least 4 months old)
- Increased appetite
- Curiosity about what you’re eating
Once you’ve determined that your little one is ready to make the jump, you can try to start him off slowly. Begin with pureed solid foods like sweet potatoes, squash, bananas, peaches, and pears.
First, nurse or bottle-feed your baby, then use a soft-tipped plastic spoon with a small bit of the food on it. Don’t feed your baby more than 1 or 2 teaspoons in the beginning. Try this once a day when your baby is in a good mood and open to exploring new things.
Leaning back in his chair, turning his head away from food, playing with the spoon, or refusing to open up for the next bite mean that your baby is full.
It will take your child a while to warm up to solid foods, so don’t be discouraged if he isn’t interested at first. Once he’s used to it, you may feed him a few tablespoons a day in addition to the breast milk and formula he’ll require until he’s 1 year old.
To learn more about which foods to try and which to avoid with your child, use the Vitals Doctor finder to find a pediatrician near you.