When do you start babies on solids? How? These are questions that cross every first time mother’s mind. Your baby is growing fast and we want to make sure our babies reach all their milestones.
I remember my first pregnancy with my boy/girl twins. Once they were born I was in a rush for all the firsts. As first time mothers it’s hard to not want to experience every moment possible with our littles.
While rushing to get to those firsts, I read a lot of forums about other mom’s that wanted to start solids as badly as I did and there was a lot of back and forth between how starting solids early was fine for their baby and how harmful it is.
In this post we are going to talk about AAP guidelines for starting solids and why, how to start solids, and about tracking baby start on solids for allergy watching.
Keep in mind, all babies are different and even though baby’s stomach is ready, your baby could possibly refuse solids when starting out. This is completely normal, the important thing is to keep making attempts in order to make progress.
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When to Start a Baby on Solids
AAP guidelines recommends starting solids between 6-8 months old. Which can cause a lot of confusion, because you also see 4-6 months old as an ok age to start solids. Let me explain.
At 6 months old your baby starts to lose the reflex of pushing their tongue out and have the ability to move food from the front of their mouth to the back. It is warned that starting solids before this point can cause asphyxiation by food going through your baby’s airway instead.
6 months is also the point where your baby starts to need more dietary needs for growth and more substance to satisfy hunger.
However, at 4-6 months old your baby stomach is mature enough to be able to handle solids. It is also stated that starting solids early (at 4 months) can help reduce the risk of allergies.
You can’t tell when your baby stomach has fully matured during the stage and giving your baby solids before their stomach is ready can cause gestational problems later on.
My pediatrician recommended that I start my babies on solids at 4 months old. However, she said only cereals. Cereals are mixed with breast milk or formula and contains iron.
So when should you start babies on solids?
No earlier than 4 months.
If you were to decide to start your baby on solids before 6 months you should start with purees and not baby led wean. If your heart is set on baby led weaning your baby should start solids between 6-8 months.
Look for Readiness Signs
- Lost of tongue-thrust reflex
- Ability to sit up
- Showing interest in your food when you eat
How to Start a Baby on Solids
There are two options for starting solids, purees and baby led weaning. Regardless of whatever method you chose to use to feed your baby, you should always start with 1 food at a time.
At this point in time, you have no idea what food allergies your baby could have.
Try 1 food for 3 day periods.
Why? It takes up to 24 hours for the first allergy reaction to take place. If you give your baby apples in the morning, bananas later on, and potatoes that night and your has a rash the next day, you have no idea what gave your baby that rash.
Once you have introduced foods to your baby for 3 days you can begin giving your baby different foods throughout the day and even combining them.
Purees and Homemade Baby Food
Purees are well blended foods that are spoon fed and easy for baby to swallow. The smooth consistency of purees are a great way to introduce your baby to solids when starting in the 4-6 month old development stage.
You can buy baby food pureed into jars, or you can save money by making your own. If you want to know how to make your own baby food check out my post below.
Baby Led Weaning
Baby Led Weaning is the process of allowing your baby to begin solids by self-feeding. When you baby led wean, your baby is never offered purees or baby cereal. It’s best to begin baby led weaning between 6-8 months old.
There are plenty of foods that are soft enough for babies to eat without teeth, I have an entire post that goes into depth on baby led weaning, what it is, how to get started, and what foods to start with in my post below.
Track your Baby First Foods
Track what solids you’ve given your baby on what day, meal plan, and plan your baby’s new grocery list with my free baby and toddler feeding kit.