Posted by: Admin | July 12, 2011

My thoughts on how to know when your baby is ready to receive complementary (solid) food

Six months is the preferred age for introducing solid foods. Earlier, your baby is not mature enough. And if you wait until later, when your baby is seven months or older, he might not get the nutritional elements he needs and could have more trouble adapting to solids.

We say that a baby is ready to eat solids when he can sit up by himself and when he shows interest in the foods we eat. At that age, around six months, the baby usually has an adequate amount of saliva, enough enzymes to digest foods, and more mature kidneys. Even after six months, breastmilk will remain your baby’s main food, but his nutritional needs change and other foods must be introduced to prevent a lack of iron in his blood, called anemia. In addition, babies who are exclusively breastfed for their first six months are not only healthier but are also less likely to develop food allergies when they do begin eating solid foods.

When we say that a baby is ready to be “introduced” to solids we mean he is ready to “experiment.” He will taste, touch, and look at the food intensely, manipulate it and, sometimes, eat it. Naturally, puréed or mashed foods will be easiest for him to swallow and eat, but remember that breastmilk remains his most important food until he is one year old and that he needs to breastfeed before he is offered his meal. As you are only “introducing” your baby to solids, you should offer him only small amounts of food so he gets used to the texture. Also, slowly introduce progressively more consistent foods so he can practice swallowing. Always be careful not to offer him foods he can choke on!

Solids will take a more important place in his diet once he is into his second year of life.

Thursday’s Post – Dear LC – Do I have to follow a preset order of solid food when I introduce them at 6 months of my baby’s life?

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