Signs your baby is ready for solid foods
Know the signs that your baby is ready for solid foods. This can prevent several detrimental health issues and ensures that baby is getting the nutrition needed for a healthy start.
When to feed a baby solid food is a common question new parents have as their baby progresses through their first year of life. Some parents have been told by relatives and friends that they should add some baby food directly to the bottle in order to help the baby sleep through the night. This advice has been proven to be unnecessary and can be harmful to a baby in certain circumstances. Let’s take a minute and review the best way to introduce solids to your baby.
According to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, feeding solid foods too early can increase the risks of choking on food, developing food allergies or intolerances, or receiving improper nutritional requirements. It is a myth that feeding solid foods to babies before they are developmentally ready will help them sleep through the night or make them eat fewer times. In fact, this practice can result in your baby not learning to eat solid foods properly. It can also lead to malnourishment, iron-deficiency anemia, and not growing normally. Most babies are ready to begin eating solid foods between four to six months old. Prior to four months old, a baby receives all its nourishment through either breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula. For more breastfeeding tips, visit WIC.
What are the signs that your baby is ready to receive solids? Each baby develops at his or her own rate, but most babies are ready for some solid foods around four months old. Your baby will be ready to try new foods when they can hold their neck steady and sit with support. They will begin to draw in their lower lip when the spoon is removed from their mouth. They will keep the food in their mouth instead of spitting it right back out. A baby will show you that they are full by pulling back from the spoon or turning away. They will also seal up their lips or push food out of their mouth after having eaten some food. As you become more experienced in feeding your baby, these signs will become very apparent.
For more articles on child development and health, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.