Is Your Baby Ready To Start Solids?
One of the important milestones in a baby's life is when he or she starts taking solid food. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and many other health organizations suggest that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life. However, the circumstances are not favorable for some moms in which case the formula can do the trick. While according to some studies, a baby should not be introduced to solid foods until six months, whereas some others indicate that a baby becomes ready for solids as early as four months. The right age to start solid food differs from one baby to another. It depends on the baby's digestive system and ability to swallow solids. However, certain behaviors of your little one might indicate that your baby is ready for solids.
Curiosity about food
If your baby is willing to try your food and shows curiosity, it can come across as an indication of her readiness. You can start introducing with tiny chunks of solid food to the child.
Sitting upright with support
In order to swallow well, your baby should be able to sit upright with her neck straight, to swallow completely. This can be with or without your support.
Baby is willing to chew and gulp
If your baby is really and willing to chew you can introduce her to solid food when she shows the signs. Also, if she can hold little pieces of food and is interested in mealtime, it is an indication.
Giving up extrusion reflex
Extrusion reflex is when the baby pushes food out in a spitting manner. When your baby is ready for solids, she will stop this reflex and start with swallowing food, by pushing it to the back of her mouth.
If your baby has doubled her birth weight, you may introduce her to solid food, as it is a healthy indication to begin substantial food.
If your baby can hold her head up and can maintain a steady position, without you holding the head, it might be time to start the journey towards solid food.
Demanding more food
If your baby’s appetite changes significantly and the usual dose of milk is not getting the job done or when the baby demands extra milk feeds, you might want to consider solids, as it might be a clear indication that your baby is not getting enough nutrition.
What and How much to feed
At the age 4 months and onwards, the baby can have pureed fruit (apples, bananas, peaches) and vegetables (squash and potatoes) 1 teaspoon twice a day. At 6 to 8 months, the baby can have pureed or strained fruits (banana, pears, applesauce, and peaches, avocado), vegetables (well-cooked carrots, squash, sweet potato), unsweetened yogurt, pureed legumes, oat and barley 3 to 4 teaspoons in 4 feedings.
Starting solids is an important milestone in a child’s life; however, there are many struggles which you might encounter along the way, like fussy eating, preference for liquids or just not being ready! You might also notice some fluctuations in the weight too around this time. If your baby chooses to continue with only breastfeeding, you should keep an eye on growth and iron state in the baby's development. You should watch your baby for indications that he is ready for solids, and give appropriate solids for him to try, and figure out what the baby likes accordingly. Not every baby is same and don't be confused if your baby requires solid earlier or later than others.