When do you know your baby is ready for solid food?
- The ability to hold their head up and sit up unassisted. This helps avoid choking.
- Loss of tongue-thrust reflex – This allows baby to drink and swallow liquids with ease; with the tongue-thrust reflex still present, baby may simply drink in liquid purees or push the food back out. According to Dr. Jim Sears, in the first four months the tongue thrust reflex protects the infant against choking. When any unusual substance is placed on the tongue, it automatically protrudes outward rather than back. Between four and six months this reflex gradually diminishes so they can swallow foods.
- Ability to let you know she is full from a “meal” with signs such as turning away from the bottle or breast. This is important so that baby is able to self-regulate the amount of food being eaten. This helps stop baby from accidentally overeating as parents may continue to feed baby thinking that she is still hungry.
- Interest in your food. Licking lips staring at you as you eat (very cute). Can sometimes be confused with teething since they are interested in putting everything in their mouths.
- Doubling of birth weight
- Frequently waking in the middle of the night when a solid sleeping pattern had been established. This may not be the best indicator that your baby is ready for solids. Please keep in mind that a growth spurt will occur between 3-4 months of age, 6-7 months of age and also 9-10 months of age. Baby may also be waking due to an illness or teething.
What kinds of foods to give:
There are tons of schedules out there. What I always did was follow common sense and read a good baby food recipe book (check Books section).
I started with just vegetables. This helps them love them in the future and adding the green leafy veggies also helps because moms stores of fat start to diminish at this point so adding this source of iron is great. Always pureed to thick liquid consistency. I avoided alpha alpha sprouts, because they can have certain bacterias that babies cannot fight off. I also avoided honey and nuts. I purchased a good juicer and would make my foods once a week. I had a baby food book (check Books section), an ice tray, and some plastic wrap. I also collected some small glass jars for serving her food. I would puree my vegetables and place them in the ice tray and wrapped them up. I would pop one to two out per meal about 20-30 min before the meal and they were ready. If she didn’t like something I would try it a few more times and sometime added some breastmilk and that usually worked. I did a variety of vegetables for the first year along with breastfeeding.