When those sweet little nursing cuddles become not quite enough to keep that kiddo from crying at night the question always arises – when should my baby start solid foods? Let’s start at the beginning to be thorough.
When Baby is born …
Ideally, breast is best. It doesn’t work for everyone but give it a fair shot. The gained immunity over formula cannot be replicated. It just can’t.
If your baby is EXCLUSIVELY breast fed then he or she will need additional Vitamin D supplementation at 400 IU per day until consuming adequate food (4-6 months). I like Enfamil’s D-Visol. Breast milk does lack adequate Vitamin D and you don’t want weak bones in your growing baby. That’s the ONLY additional vitamin your baby needs.
There is a softer recommendation for iron replacement at 4 months in babies that are breastfed exclusively. That recommendation is just if your child is not onto solids and can be stopped when they do start solids.
If your baby takes formula, NO vitamin supplementation is needed.
She’s a little controlling – like her Dad.
When should your baby start solid foods?
The guidelines still remain 4-6 months of age despite a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study in 2018 showing that starting at 3 months may lead to better sleep. At 4-6 month age babies develop the ability to sit up, improve head control, and improve swallowing. They need that to eat without choking. My little lady gave us death glares when we ate in front of her at 2 months but it was just too early for food. At least that’s what my husband told her when he didn’t want to share his.
What food should you start with?
The old idea of starting with cereals has gone out of vogue for the most part. There is little nutritional value to cereal except a little iron. You can start with whatever now. Vegetables, fruits, meats in the softened form obviously. Give 4-5 days between starting new foods in case you note an allergy – you will want to know what caused it.
What foods are off limits before a year of age?
- CHOKING HAZARDS like popcorn, whole nuts, whole grapes, etc.
- COW’S MILK
What if I’m worried about a specific food allergy?
This mindset has also changed recently. We are now recommending the EARLY introduction of items like peanuts at 4-6 months of age especially for babies with eczema or concern for allergies. Give them a little peanut butter on you finger tip. Slow introduction does help decrease allergies in the long run and starting earlier actually HELPS. Peanut allergies are among the most concerning and serious reactions, though, so watch your little one and seek medical help if needed.
A PATIENT actually brought a cool new option to my attention recently – yes, I learn from my patients as well. They have a family history of egg allergy and she had never given her near-1-year-old son eggs because of it. He was coming up on his first birthday and she wondered about the birthday cake – could he have it? No one wanted a severe reaction at his first birthday party.
She found ReadySetFood.com – and wondered what I thought of it. It’s actually a great option for parents worried about allergies. Slow introduction of these foods through packets starting at 4 months. It worked. He had no reaction and she gave him a regular first birthday cake. Double win if you ask me!
Simple Solution: Start solids for your little bundle of joy between 4-6 months when they have better head control. And include allergenic foods like peanut butter at that age as well. You won’t regret it.
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