When is my baby ready to start solids?
wish I could answer this in one quick sentence; however the answer is not that simple!
There are guidelines for when to introduce solids, however these then need to be individualised for your baby. That is why the answer is not that simple!In general, we would recommend:
Your baby should be ready to start eating solid foods at around 6 months of age, but not before 4 months.
Positive signs that your baby is ready to start solids include:
Your baby is showing an interest in food e.g. Reaching for your food, mimicking your mouth movements when you are eating, looking with interest at your food.
Your baby has good neck and head control, so that they can sit up in an appropriate chair to enjoy their food.
Open their mouth when a spoon is offered (and not try to push it out or away).
When introducing solids, include common allergy foods (in appropriate form) before 12 months of age e.g. Smooth peanut butter, well cooked egg. Delayed introduction of these foods may increase the risk of developing food allergy. If your baby/their siblings/parents etc have a history of food allergy, visit a Paediatric Dietitian for extra support and advice to assist you with introducing solids before starting.
Ensure appropriate food safety and hygiene.
Ensure you introduce meals at a time that can be calm, relaxed and enjoyable for all. Try your best to eat with your baby, so that you show them positive eating behaviours.
Prioritise iron rich foods nutritious foods e.g. Iron fortified cereals, pureed meat/poultry/tofu/legumes.
Avoid nuts and other hard foods to reduce the risk of choking.
Cows milk based foods should be provided (e.g. Yoghurt, cheese, milk in cooking) however save milk as a drink until 12 months of age.
Do not add sugar, honey or salt to food.
Avoid sweetened drinks or juices.
Limit/avoid nutrient poor “discretionary foods” like cake, biscuits, and chips.
As a baby’s dietary intake in the first 6 months of eating is small, so it is important to optimise their dietary intake with the foods they need that are nutrient dense. Also, including these less nutritious foods early in their diet may lead to less healthy habits down the track.
Enjoy the process and take lots of photos! It is such a special time For P2B families.
For individualised advice, speak to a dietitian that specialises in paediatric nutrition or visit:www.allergy.org.auwww.eatforhealth.gov.auWritten by Janita Averay APDPaediatric Dietitian and Director of Way of Life Nutritionwww.wayoflifenutrition.com.au