Late start to solid foods: Should you be concerned?

My son started on solids relatively late. He was over seven months old when he first ate cereal. He just wasn't ready before that. He still doesn't like to put new foods in his mouth. Most babies by this age are getting ready for table foods. Should I be concerned?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Any concern a parent has for their child is valid. Looking for the information to alleviate, or act on the concern, is the way to go, and is exactly what you did! I hope I can, in this case, alleviate your concern.

From the description you have given me, it seems like this is a case where you simply need to recognize that your son is on a different schedule than many, but not all, babies.

All babies progress at different developmental rates. Just like some walk at 10 months and others not until 14 months, the same variation occurs with developmental progress in eating.

What is important is that you provide him with the opportunity and the encouragement to develop. It sounds like you are doing this by offering him finger foods and new foods. You should be encouraged that he accepts these new foods after some trying. Keep on offering the solids, and the chunkier foods. Don't allow him to have a bottle or breast milk at mealtimes so that he comes to the table hungry and more likely to try the solids offered.

Have him eat meals with the rest of the family so he can benefit from imitating what he sees the rest of you doing, i.e. eating table foods, drinking from cups.

Anticipate much more mouthing as teeth begin coming in at a faster rate. Let him have a stale bagel to gnaw on. It makes a great teether.

It is hard not to compare your baby to another, and to a certain degree it is helpful. However, you don't want comparisons to cloud your view of your baby's unique developmental schedule and style. It seems your son is just on a slower track and your patience and understanding, plus encouragement is the best thing for now.

Thank you for writing.

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