Right from the time the baby is born he or she is exclusively dependent on breastfeeding or formula food or any other form of milk. The baby keeps on developing physically and mentally. Between four to six months after the birth the baby is ready for starting solid food. Most of the time it is suggested that the baby should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months. But, the paediatrician may suggest to start solids early. Personally my paediatrician advised me to start solids for my daughter at the age of four months. But, again as i said you should take paediatrician’s advice and then start solids. The baby might not be biologically ready to start solids at an early age. A literary study was published by wellstart international and linkages project on the readiness of infants to shift from exclusive breastfeeding to solid food. There are signs that your baby is ready for solid food.
Signs that your baby is ready for solids
Here is the list of few signs that indicates that the baby is ready for solid food. These signs are as follows
- Interest in food
- The baby can sit up with or without support
- The tongue thrust reflex
- The pincer grip of the baby
- Double the birth weight
- Imitating the parents
Interest in food
There is no point in forcing and thrusting down the food down the baby’s throat. The baby might get disinterested. The baby might get scared. So, see to it that the baby has started taking interest in what you are eating. If you feel that your baby is showing interest in what you are eating, then you can start with solid food.
The baby can sit up with or without support
Till the age of 4 to 5 months, the baby is completely on milk or formula food, and hence the baby tends to take it in a sleeping position. But, if you want to start solids to the baby then you should make sure that your baby is able to sit up at least with the support of pillows.
The tongue thrust reflex
Usually, the babies suck milk with the help of their lips and the tongue thrust reflex. But, with the solid food the baby should be able to move the food at the back of the mouth. The baby’s mouth and tongue develop along with the digestive system. The tongue thrust reflex will go away when the baby is ready for solid food.
The pincer grip of the baby
The baby starts grabbing things with its forefinger and thumb. This is called the pincer grip of the baby. Once the baby starts gripping things, he or she may be able to grab small bites of food and start eating. This is one of the signs that the baby is ready for solids.
Double the birth weight
By the time the baby can start solids, it should gain double weight compared to the birth weight and the baby should be at least 4 months old.
Imitating the parents
If your baby has learned to imitate you. And repeat the things that you are doing, then the baby is ready for solid food. The baby may also be imitating the eating actions of the parents. And hence, the baby is ready for solid food.
Apart from these signs, if you want to start solids to your baby, then please take the advice of your pediatrician.