From my experience, sometimes pediatricians don't exactly agree with each other on when is the right time to start your baby on solid food. I've read somewhere between four and six months. Some Peds are a firm six months and others are a firm four months. Where does all of this leave us mommas?... Confused!
I say your baby will tell (show) you when they are ready. There are plenty of good indicators that your darling is ready for the spoon. Just keep a watchful eye for the following:
- If your baby has been sleeping on a schedule that hasn't changed for a while then suddenly is a little off, he or she may be ready. Keep in mind that a growth spurt is not a sign that your baby is ready. Most babies go through a growth spurt between 3-4 months. Wait a few days and see if it passes. If your baby gets back on track, wait. If it lasts more than a few wekks then he or she may be ready if showing other signs as well.
- Your baby has lost the tongue thrust reflex. This is a reflex that babies have to help prevent them from choking and to help them drink liquids efficiently. When your baby no longer pushes things out of his or her mouth with their tongue then he or she may be ready.
- He or she has good head control and can hold their head up unassisted.
- Showing an interest in your food. Like watching you eat or drink or staring at your plate. This sign is somewhat debatable simply because all babies are curious. They are a learning sponge so just use your best judgement.
- Birth weight has doubled. This shows that your baby has developed a good appetite.
- If milk is no longer satisfying. Remember that babies need formula or breast milk until the first year so do not discontinue giving your baby milk just add in some solids to satisfy their increasing appetite.
- When your baby can show you that he or she is full. Babies are born with the ability to self regulate how much they eat. They do this so they don't over eat and to communicate "I'm full". Oh my wouldn't it be great to have this as an adult? The signs are:
- Turning head away from bottle and or spoon
- Locking mouth tightly shut
- Pushing bottle or spoon away
- Fussing when spoon or bottle is brought to mouth
Once you do start solids your baby will still need the same amount of breast milk or formula. Milk should still be the primary source of calories. A good rule is to give them 20 ounces of milk a day until the first birthday. If your baby is having trouble drinking enough offer the bottle first before the solids at each feeding session.
Overall you are going to have the best judgement of what your baby is ready for and what they are not ready for. If all else fails just give it a try and if it doesn't work try it again in a few weeks. First time parents don't really get a firm set of rules and automatic knowledge. Just learn as you go and use trial and error until you get it right, within reason.