When To Start Solid Foods, What foods to start with, & Clues Your Baby May Be Ready For Some Real Grub!
(Hanging on to 4 months old, for 2 more days!!)
Mikayla, Enjoying Her Soilds, At 4 Months Old
Your beautiful babies are growing fast, and soon will be craving more and more food to fill their little stomachs. You will notice there will come a tine where they no longer seem fully satisfied by a bottle or the breast alone, and are still hungry, perhaps taking in many more ounces of formula, to satisfy this need. Is it now time for solid foods for your little one?
Likely yes, but, every Pediatrician has their own recommendations, so do ask your Dr. first. Our Pediatrician said 3 months. To me it seemed like they were fine on their formula alone, at that time, and I felt it was a tad early, so we waited until 3.5 months, when they seemed to acquire more of an appetite, and this wasn’t a daily thing, it was a ‘when needed’ situation, like at night if they were crying and not seeming content by bottle alone.
They started eating more consistently, only 1 meal per day, at 4.5 months, and now at almost 5 months, we will continue the one meal a day until 6 months, unless they start craving more and crying for it, at an earlier time, like in the mornings, but I doubt it, they seem happy with their 1 fix of solids per day, so I just read the signs so to speak, however, some sources say, to not start solids until 6 months of age, so what is a mother to do?
ok, what are the facts? Would pediatricians REALLY tell us to start foods at a time where it would harmful to our children? I don’t see how or why they would. I mean, they could always say to us ‘Better to be safe then sorry, so wait until 6 months’ right? I mean it’s not an imminent rush. I do trust my pediatrician but here is some information from other sources, and you, like me, can make your very best judgement calls based on this information, your Dr’s information, and your mother’s intuition.
We are usually pretty good like that!! I know we started my daughter at 3 months, as per recommended, at that time, and she couldn’t be smarter, happier, more ‘food adjusted’, and not a 1 food allergy. So take it for what it’s worth. I personally do not ‘buy’ everything that is written below, but I’m not a Dr., so like I said, it’s a judgement call, and I am sharing it with you, since it is compliled, from several legitimate sources, not just a mother’s opinion.
These are some of the concerns against starting solid foods, before 6 months:
1) Increases he risk of obesity increases. (Where that data comes from, I do not know)
2) Babies tongue thrust reflex is still strong, making solid feeding off of a spoon difficult
3) Babies before 6 months, can have poor control over their tongue and throat muscles, increasing the possibility of choking (but hey that is why you make those 1st meals extremely liquidy like formula)
4) When solids are introduced too soon, the risk of food allergies increases (I would think the opposite, but have heard this before. Just wondering why, and if it’s really true). Ask your Dr.
5) Babies intestines may not be fully developed, and as a result, solids may give your child tummy upset. (Again something I have never experienced with my own, but definitely something to discuss with your Dr.)
I’ll ask my pediatrician this about these ‘In print, online facts’, and get back to you, when I confront him, for the answers. I have never heard of some of these things, before recently, and of course they are very concerning, I mean babies do not need solids to survive. Formula or breast milk suffices up until a full year, for all of their nutritional needs, but at the same time, it is beneficial to get them to try new things, learn how to eat, and expand their palettes. WHEN, seems to be the only real issue, just remember it isn’t a rush.
We were just seeing countless bottles of formula disappearing from the fridge, and at night, my Allie anyhow was socking up on 10 sometimes 12 ounces, and we are talking at 3 months old, even slightly earlier, so the Dr. said, that was a sign that she really did need more then just formula, and it was time for solids, but I did wait longer then recommended, however that $35 every 3 days is killing us financially, on the cases of Similac for them 😉 .
When you DO decide to start solids, what do you do? Where Do You Start?
Whelp, you don’t want to just start anywhere. They like you to follow a pattern, to check and make sure there are no food allergies to start with, with any particular food item. So at 1st, one food at a time, is very important.
Simple Foods To Start With
1) You try rice cereal first. Do that for a few days, and make sure all is well with it.
2) Then barley (Your babies may not love this one, I know mine hate it)
3) Try oatmeal for a few days, checking for any allergies
4) Start adding fruit to the menu. Pears, bananas, strawberries, peaches. 1 at a time, until you can see how baby reacts to them, before you go mixing, so if there was any allergy, you would know which food caused it.
What I do now, is I make rice cereal and add some fruit to it. They gobble that right up. I just bought some veggies. Squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, and carrots. I’ll let you know how that goes. Definitely won’t be as appealing as the sweet stuff, I am sure, but if you ever tasted the formula babies drink, most anything will taste better to them, then that!
Quick note: *Make sure all cereals are mixed with formula, and in a thin consistency to start with*.
Ways to Know If Your Child, Is Solid Ready
(All of these need not apply, but they may).
1) Does your baby seem more hungry then usual? Being dissatisfied after drinking their usual bottle of formula, or after a breast feeding session, is one of the signs your baby may need more, to fill his or her belly. That can be a big clue.
2) Does your baby have good head control? This way, if they desire to, they can easily turn their heads away to refuse food, if desired. Also, without strong neck muscles, they won’t be able to swallow, safely, or properly, so this is quite important.
3) Is your baby suddenly waking at night, when he or she used to sleep through? This can be a sign that they need more to keep their tummies full before bedtime, to get through the night, however, teething can also cause babies to start waking sometimes to, so you have to sort of use your mommy instincts here. If your baby was already waking, (not STTN), then is he waking up more often? This can be a sign, they are ready to start solid foods, and may just sleep longer for you.
4) Does your baby watch you while you eat, like your dog from the floor does, seemingly begging, with those big puppy dog eyes? Are they following you with their gaze, as you take in every bite of your meal? That could be their own way of saying ‘Hey mom, hungry over here to..let me have at it’ HE HE!! Funny but true. This is not an essential sign, mind you, it just can be one of them, but it also may not be. Keep an eye out for clues.
5) Has doubled his birth weight. No problem here 🙂
6) Does your baby even reach out for food? Then they are telling you in their own ways I want in, so it’s time for you to decide what you want to do.
7) When you place the spoon at babies mouth, they don’t have a problem testing it out, then figuring out fairly quickly, how to eat off of it.
8 ) Baby sits unsupported. (None of my children were sitting up, on their own, when I introduced solids, as this age can vary from child to child, but if you baby can sit, he/she is ready, and mature enough for solid foods. Even sitting up with some support, shows maturity as well. Enough so, to introduce solids.
*Contrary to what used to be common practice, cereals should NOT be added to your babies bottle, not only because it can lead to over feeding, but also causes a choking hazard. After my experience with Mikayla a few weeks ago, this mom takes choking more seriously then ever before, and will not go this route. Also it does NOTHING to help a baby learn to eat properly, using a spoon, instead of sucking through a nipple. It’s no longer recommended*
Signs Your Baby Is Having A Food Allergy
1) A rash may develop
2) Bloating or an increase in intestinal gas
3) An onset of diarrhea
4) Increased fussiness after eating
*More severe reactions include*
6) Diffulty Breathing
(In these instances, contact your Pediatrician IMMEDIATELY!)
Some say that before 6 months a babies intestinal tract, might not be completely developed, so baby may not be able to handle gas, constipation, or stomach upset that may be caused by solid foods, and I can only say my own personal experience, that all of my children started solids prior to 6 months, and all of them have no food allergies, never had any tummy troubles from it, so really It’s really your choice to make, with help from your babies Dr. , of course.
***You may, like me, have a relative or relatives, saying to you, when your babies are only a couple months old, that they should start eating solids now, and making comments like ‘Whelp, it won’t be long now, until they are on regular milk’, little do they realize babies must be formula or breast fed, NO cow’s milk, for the 1st full YEAR of life!!
They seem surprised by this, so I guess we were all fed really early, and given cow’s milk to, but do NOT listen to this advice. They just can only say what they were told, and did themselves, at the time that they were parents. I’m just making a note of this , because I know I cannot be the only one, who has been given that advice from the previous generation. Disregard such advice, and say Mom, or Grandma…’I love ya, but times they have a changed’ :)***
On a final note, on the feeding solids issue, just make sure to fully discuss your concerns, fears, and questions, thoroughly, at your next well-baby check up, and use those answers to make your own choices on what is best for your own child, or children, because after all, Mom does know best. Waiting awhile won’t kill you, nor your baby, and if you do choose to start, chances are, all will be fine and well. Just be informed is all.
Good luck to you, and thanks so much for reading!!
PS- Below is an example of a baby (My Annie), who is ready, and NEEDING to be fed solids!! (Cute & funny to!)