It can be a confusing subject! Your family members may advocate for a certain time, while your doctor gives you another time range. Not to mention that in the last few years the recommendations have changed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that babies start around the age of 6 months (see recommendations). More importantly than age is if your baby is showing all the signs of readiness to eat. Those signs look like:
Maintaining a sitting position with minimal help
Loss of the tongue thrust reflex (sticks out tongue to push solids/semi-solids out of the mouth)
Brings large pieces of food or toys to their mouth
Shows interest in food
Maybe your baby is really close to showing all the signs and is approaching 6 months of age. Here are some things you can do with them to get them ready to be eaters without starting too early!
Let baby play with infant cups, plates, and spoons
Get on the floor and play with baby to build baby's core strength
Give them clean toys that are made for putting in the mouth
Feeding your baby is fun! So there is excitement in wanting to have your baby join mealtime. But feeding your little one too soon is not recommended. Here are a few things to consider when thinking about feeding your baby before they show all the signs of readiness.
Your breastmilk and formula are full of essential nutrients and calories. These nutrients are best utilized and digested by your baby in the early stages of growth. If solid foods displace breastmilk/formula too early your baby can then be denied these vital nutrients and calories.
Choking. Poses a risk of food being sucked into the airway.
Feeding a baby earlier will not improve baby's sleep (check out this video).
Feeding a baby who is not showing all the signs of readiness is not being a responsive feeder. Getting into the habit of not listening to your baby's cues around food can disrupt a child's internal regulation (the ability to eat the amount they need).
It can feel overwhelming to know where to begin between outdated information from your Pediatrician and pressures from your family to follow in their footsteps. Use those parenting instincts and watch for all of the clues from your baby. Be patient as your little one develops, grows, and receives those vital nutrients from the formula or breastmilk. Help them build strength and confidence so when it's time-- they are ready!
The material in this blog is not intended to be used as medical advice. Please work closely with a competent health care team on your specific medical needs.