When is the best time?
It is the moment you have been waiting for. Dad is standing by with the video camera to capture the moment while mom is mixing baby’s cereal for his first meal! As you lift the silver spoon that Aunt Janet gave you into the baby’s mouth, what happens? Your baby spits it out! You were looking forward to the day when your child would be eating food, but you did not know it would be so difficult!
Mothers are sent mixed messages about when to start feeding solid foods to their babies. Grandma may be telling you, just give him a little rice cereal, and he will be sleeping through the night in no time. Believe it or not, only a generation or two ago, parents were feeding cereal to one-month-olds!
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that the only food your baby needs during the first six months of life is breast milk or formula, so don’t rush into feeding solid food too early. The AAP has determined that starting solids too early is unhealthy, causing babies to have upset stomachs and more allergies. If your family has a strong history of allergies, your pediatrician may suggest you wait to introduce solid foods and to nurse exclusively for most of the first year.
- Head control: Babies need to be able to keep their heads steady and upright in order to effectively swallow solids.
- Sits well: When supported, your little one might not be ready for a high chair yet, but she needs to be able to stay upright when supported. Babies who slump cannot swallow well and could get choked.
- Loss of the tongue thrusting reflex: If the tongue comes out every time you put the spoon in the mouth, the baby is probably not ready. Babies need to be able to push food to the back of the mouth to swallow.
- Interested in your food: Does junior eye your pasta primavera and follow your fork from plate to mouth? If so, visions of solids may be dancing in his head.
As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.