When should you start your baby on solids?
You may be thinking about starting solids and wanting to prepare for the time when your baby takes her first
spoonful of real food. Doctors recommend that you don't introduce baby food before 17 weeks, and even then,
it's best if your health practitioner okay it before just jumping in. But don't wait any longer than 6 months.
Here are a few things you need to remember:
Your baby's tongue-thrust reflex has started to disappear so he's got more chance of getting the food to the
back of his mouth to swallow than before. This reflex is what enables your baby to suck so vigorously.
Look for signs that your baby is ready for solids: he's able to sit up and hold up his own head.
He's interested in your food and often reaches out for it. This is more a case of curiosity than actually wanting
the food you're eating. Remember your baby is now at the stage where everything is going in the mouth
He's doubled his birth weight.
Watch: Is your baby ready for solids?
Watch: Baby's first solid food.
Which is approach is the right one?
There are different approaches to introduce food: some start their babies on rice cereals, others with any purées,
and others still with small, soft chunks of whatever food you're eating, ensuring it won't choke baby (baby-led weaning).
Find a method that works for you, your baby and your family.
Old guidelines stipulated that you had to avoid giving baby certain food stuffs before 1 year to prevent the onset
of allergies. New data, however, has shown that early exposure does NOT increase the likelihood of developing allergies,
so everything - except honey - is fair game from 17 weeks. Best practice is to introduce new foods 4 days apart so you
can check whether there's a reaction. And if your family has a history of food allergies, take extra care and watch your
baby carefully for signs of a reaction. Also remember to not give a bottle of cow's milk or huge quantities of cow's milk
diary before the age of 1.
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