Starting solids: When is your baby ready?

My wife and I are very comfortable that our four-month-old daughter's only source of food is breastfeeding. She is in 90th percentile of the growth chart and is very healthy. She sleeps about 11 to 12 hours every night. When would be good time to introduce solid foods?


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

It sounds as if your daughter is healthy and thriving on breastmilk. That's wonderful!

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing solid foods when your baby is between four and six months of age. Solid foods help to meet a baby's increased needs for iron and protein. Breastmilk should still be the mainstay of your baby's diet throughout the second half of the first year, meeting about 75 percent of her nutritional needs.

Around six months of age a baby often begins to show readiness for solids. She begins to sit up well, unsupported; she can pick up small items; and she is very interested in what is on your dinner plate. It is more important to watch your baby for signs of readiness than to decide an arbitrary time for introducing solids. All babies are not interested or ready for solid foods at the same age. In fact, babies that are prone to allergies often refuse solids until they are closer to nine months old.

When offering solids, go slowly. Breastfeed first, and then offer your baby a half teaspoon or so of the new food. Bananas or sweet potatoes make a perfect first food. They are nutritious, and babies seem to like their taste and consistency. Allow a week in between the introduction of new foods so you can observe your baby for signs of an allergic reaction, such as a rash, congestion, irritability, stomach upset or ear infection. If your baby has a reaction to a particular food, remove it from her diet. If it is a severe reaction it is a good idea to mention it to your baby's health care provider. Wishing your family the best!

Starting solids? Check out the Baby Food Processor and the Fold-Up Booser Seat in the iVillage Market and find out how easy mealtime can be.


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