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30 Jan 2006

when to introduce solids
My 4 month old twins were born at 31 weeks and spent 5 weeks in NICU. The boy weighed 1.68kg and the girl 1.42kg at birth. I breastfeed exclusively about 6/7 times per day. They now weigh 5.4kg and 4.4kg respectively. When should I introduce solids? How much? And what time of the day would be best?
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Expert
Premature baby expert

01 Jan 0001

Dear Desire

The following information is provided by the specialist dietician for Little StepsSolid foods are introduced, when a full-term infant has doubled his/her birth weight and when they are able to keep their heads upright without support. This is usually the case between 4 and 6 months of age. Pre-term babies will take longer before they are ready for solids as they need to catch-up. Their weight at 40 weeks gestation should rather be used as a reference. Once they have doubled that weight, they are usually ready for solids. Milk should still be given as prescribed, in addition to the solids.

Use the following formula
16 weeks + ½ (40 – gestational age at birth)

E.g. for a premature baby born at 30 weeks:
16 weeks + ½ (40- 30 weeks)
= 16 + 5 weeks
= 21 weeks 5 months

What type of foods do I introduce and how much ?
4-8 months : Start with :
· iron fortified, cows milk-free cereal like Rice cereal, Maize cereal, Nestum, Rice and Maize cereal
· cooked porridge like maize or maltabella ( a small amount of sugar may be added)
· cooked, strained vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and potato
· pureed and strained fruit like apple, pear and peach

Give one type of food at a time for at least 4 days, before introducing something new. Half to 1 teaspoon is usually sufficient per feed. It is best to try new foods in the morning. If baby does not like it or develop cramps, this will happen in the day time and you can still sleep at night.


The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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