Chatting with a friend of mine about her baby starting solids this week, reminded me of all the confusion we often hear from parents at the beginning of that stage or considering starting introducing solids to their baby. Sometimes, it is an easy transition and other times there are some false starts. Here are a few frequently asked questions answered:
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD IS READY?
In order for a baby to be developmentally ready, they have to have enough head control to make sure that they will not choke! A good sign of this is if they can sit up supported. Other signs of readiness include: If suddenly their sleep is becoming disrupted, they are wanting to feed more often, putting things in their mouths or not settling which can all indicate that they are hungry. Every baby is different but most are ready to begin solids at between 4 and 6 months old.
WHAT KIND OF FOODS SHOULD I START WITH?
The reason that solids are needed to supplement the milk they are getting was traditionally because the iron content in breast milk decreases when your baby is around 4 months. Therefore the foods to begin with should be rich in iron - consider rice cereal; minced meat or fish; vegetables and pulses. To start with the food should be mashed or pureed.
DOES MY BABY STILL NEED MILK AS WELL?
The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that the amount of breast milk or formula your baby is receiving prior to starting solids should be approximately 150ml / kg they weigh each day eg: a 7.5kg baby needs approximately 1125ml milk per day divided into different feeds. This will slowly decrease once solids are started and eventually your baby will only need 600ml milk/ day once they are fully established on solids!
Wishing you a fun exploration of your baby's taste buds!