Starting baby on solids

Solid food should not be given before baby is 5 months old as they are not physically or developmentally ready for it.

The ideal time to introduce solid food is at around 6 months when your baby is showing signs of being ready for and needing extra food. 

At 3 months of age, your baby may start putting their hands or toys in their mouth or experience a growth spurt, wanting to feed more often. These are part of normal development rather than a sign of being ready for solid food. Starting your baby on solid food will not necessarily help them to sleep better at night.

Solid food should not be introduced too early because babies are not physically or developmentally ready for them.

Some of the reasons are: 

  • baby may feel full and not drink enough milk to grow well
  • they cannot coordinate their swallowing to cope with solid food
  • their kidneys and digestion are not developed well enough to cope with solid foods
  • they may be more likely to get eczema, asthma, food allergies, respiratory infections
  • they may become anemic because they are not getting enough of their breast milk or formula.

However, it is recommended that solid food be introduced no later than 6 months. Your baby needs the vitamins and minerals found in solid foods (especially iron) for growth, brain development and learning. Solid foods are also important for your baby’s physical development.

Some babies are really keen on solid foods as soon as they are given them, while others prefer to have just breast milk or formula for longer.

Some babies will eat everything offered and others will have definite likes and dislikes.

If your baby was born prematurely, talk to your Plunket nurse or well child health provider about when to start your baby on solid food.

See Watties ForBaby feeding videos

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