What are some readiness cues for starting solids?

So the AAP guidelines is to exclusively breastfeed  6 months. Other experts argue that you should introduce solids earlier, especially if your child has a food allergy (between 4 and 6 months). It is confusing. Look at our article on when experts say you should introduce solids for some guidance.

Whenever you decide to start, it’s really important your baby is ready developmentally. Here is a checklist for what you should see before you go for that puree or soft piece of food.

 

Sits with head and trunk control

Your baby needs to have some body control. Think of the muscles you never think about that are needed to eat. Neck and core muscles are important and will help your baby have a happy first eating experience. We repeat: make sure your kid can sit up in the high chair and bring his/her hands to her mouth. If you are doing BLW this is extra important. 

 

Tongue moves appropriately 

Food should go in and down. If your baby takes a spoon of puree and pushes the food out and it ends up on his/her chin your baby may not be ready. This is actually a reflux your baby is born with that will be outgrown around 4 to 6 months. That’s sorta a large window. Remember, your baby is real good with liquids and this new food stuff is thick! We need her/his tongue to push food back to swallow. 

 

Shows interest in food

Your baby should show interest in food. Maybe even open up his mouth signaling he wants a bite of whatever you are eating.

 

Size

The AAP likes to see that a baby has doubled in birth weight and/or is at least 13 pounds. 

 

Why is this important?

  • We don’t want your baby to choke. 
  • Their little intestines won’t be ready for solid foods if you do it too early.
  • Some people think that feeding kids too soon is linked to obesity, but the science is inconclusive.

 

Bottom line: Over ½ of parents in the US feed their kids too soon. Don’t do that!

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