When Does My Baby Need To Start Solids?

Question:

My wife and I are very comfortable with the fact our four-month-old daughter's only source of food is breastfeeding. She is in 90 % of growth chart and has no health problems at all. She sleeps about 11 to 12 hrs every night without any problems. When would be good time to introduce solid foods (like rice cereal) to our baby? Listening around from relatives (who obviously have not breastfed their babies) that you should start giving solid foods as soon as the baby turns four-months-old discourages us a little bit, but still we want to give our daughter breast milk as much and as long as she wants. What do you have to suggest on this matter?

Also a common philosophy is to wean the baby from breast feeding at one year. We don't want to do that. Instead we would like to continue as long as she wants to breast feed along with some solid food intakes. Could you suggest on that also?

The Lactation Consultant Answers:

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% 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.

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