Solid foods: Is your baby ready to start solids?

My baby is just over six months old. He must be going through a growth spurt as he has been nursing every one to two hours during the day and every two to three hours at night. Is it time to start solids?

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

Often a baby of this age is starting to show signs of being ready for solid foods. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing solid foods when your baby is between four and six months old. Each baby is different, so watch your baby for signs of readiness, such as sitting up well, unsupported, being able to pick up fairly small items using his thumb and forefinger, and (very noticeably), eyeing and grabbing food from your plate.

Don't worry - starting solids does not mean the end of the breastfeeding relationship. To keep an adequate milk supply, and to provide your baby with his most important food during his first year of life, nurse first. Then offer your baby very small amounts of food to start out (a half teaspoon or so). Go slowly. Many babies enjoy the taste and the consistency of mashed ripe bananas, or cooked, mashed sweet potatoes, so you might want to try one of these as your baby's first food. Introduce only one new food each week, so you can observe your baby for signs of an allergic reaction, such as a rash, congestion, ear infection, fussiness, or an upset tummy.

Allow your baby to sit with the family at dinner so when he starts eating solids he will enjoy the social side of sharing a meal with his family. Babies usually love this interaction. If he isn't comfortable yet sitting in a high chair at the table, sit him on your lap. (He'll probably try to help himself to some of the food on your plate!) Enjoy this new stage!

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