It’s recommended that solid food not be given to babies under 17 weeks of age as studies have shown they are not developmentally ready to tolerate solids at this age.
If your baby is hungry and not gaining weight before the age of 17 weeks you can increase their weight by providing extra breast feeds or introduce an additional bottle of Infant Formula. Seek professional guidance for the appropriate Infant Formula to use for your baby.
Sometime after babies’ reach 17-weeks of age they will begin to show signs that indicate they are ready to start eating solid food.
Signs to start solid food include:
- The ‘tongue thrust’ present in younger babies is gone. This reflex has allowed for sucking, but is now ready for the next stage of chewing and swallowing
- Baby is able to sit in a semi-controlled, upright position. Not being able to sit or hold his back reasonably straight will prevent him focusing on eating
- Baby’s weight gain has slowed down
- Baby is waking at erratic times overnight when previously he had been sleeping through
- Baby is constantly dissatisfied when being breastfed. They are constantly pulling off and on the nipple and feeding is becoming less enjoyable
- Baby is wanting to breastfeed more regularly during the day instead of spacing it out to every four hours
- Baby is watching you eat with greater interest and could even be trying to take the spoon or food from your hand.
If you see any or some of these signs start your baby on some soft and sloppy foods.
Start your baby on soft solids once a day during their awake-time after a milk feed. This is best offered after the mid morning feed when your baby is alert and less tired. Add another solid feed mid-afternoon when your baby looks ready and willing for more.
Milk is still important for your baby’s nutrition so avoid introducing too much food too quickly. Introduce a third meal within a few weeks.
This can vary depending on:
- Individual metabolism
- Energy requirements, especially if they are sick or very active
- Interest in food
- Whether they are eating in a stressed or rushed atmosphere.
This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.