Feeding Baby Solid Foods

Feeding baby solid foods: learn to recognize the signs of when your baby is ready for solids to ease the transition of weaning.

Determining when your baby is ready for solids can be as difficult or as easy as you want it to be. And it may also depend on whether you are breastfeeding and if you are ready to start weaning your baby.

Typically, your baby's doctor will tell you that between four and six months of age your little one will be ready to start on solid foods. Depending on your personal feelings about this, you may lean toward the early or later side of this age range.

For breastfeeding moms, it needs to be decided how ready you are to wean. Once you start giving solid foods, the weaning process has started. Even if your baby nurses for another six or more months, solids are just one way to replace breastmilk.

A newborn baby has the natural inclination to push out whatever is put in its mouth, most especially food items. Trying to feed a baby too young is only going to end up in a huge mess for you to clean up and maybe even an unhappy baby.

And even though your four-month old baby may be watching you eat and seeming to look interested in it, the gazes are often only curiosity and not true interest in food. Many babies are closer to six months before they are really ready to eat solid foods and trying sooner is fruitless.

Other than watching for your baby's interest in food, your baby might start grabbing at your own plate during meals. If this is the case, it might be a good time to try out a first taste.

Doctors will often say that starting with fruits is not a good idea and cereal is a better bet. What you try will depend on your own personal desires. Bananas are a good soft food that easily mashes and can be tried by a baby with no teeth. Using a spoon for a mashed banana will be the safest bet until you feel comfortable with the idea of your baby grabbing at a kernel of corn or a pea and trying something that is a little more solid and easier to handle.

Watch your baby with the new food and see if it easily goes down or naturally comes back out with the movement of the tongue. If it comes back up, your baby probably is not ready and waiting another week is a good idea.

Once your baby is ready and not pushing foods back out, introducing one new food a week is generally safest in trying to prevent food allergies. Up to two items a week can be introduced depending on your family's history of allergies and what you feel most comfortable with.

At first, starting new foods won't likely change any other feeding habits from the breast or bottle. Until your baby is consuming more than one bite, the main source of nutrition will continue being breastmilk or formula.

Don't hurry the process. Watch your baby for signs of readiness and enjoy those first fun moments of food going in different directions with a curious new baby.

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