How to Know When Your Baby Is Ready For Solid Food

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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing babies to solid foods no earlier than 4 months of age. Some babies may not be ready until closer to 6 months. Studies support that introduction of solid foods before 4 months may increase risks for development of childhood obesity.

Changing Guidelines

Guidelines for introducing solids have varied and can be confusing to new parents.

In the 1950s, for example, parents were told to start their babies on solids at 3 months of age. Even today, based on allergy studies, some experts recommend introducing peanut-containing foods as early as 4 months to 6 months to infants at high risk for allergies to reduce their chances of developing peanut allergies.

Watch For These Signs

“Talk with your pediatrician about when to introduce your baby to solid foods, as well as the types of foods to introduce and the amounts,” says Marin Waynar, MD, a pediatrician with UH Rainbow Sandusky Pediatricians.

Your baby may be ready, Dr. Waynar says, if he or she shows these signs:

  • Good head control, pushing up to the chest or elbows and rolling well
  • Interest in foods, such as watching you eat or reaching for your food
  • Uses the mouth to explore hands or toys
  • Is able to move food from a spoon to the throat. If food dribbles out of your baby’s mouth, he or she may not be ready to swallow it yet

Related links

For tips on how to safely start feeding your baby solid foods, visit UHRainbow.org/InfantFeeding.

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