Learning about solids often raises many questions. These may include when do I begin, how much and what to offer, along with the preparation and storage of foods.
Take your time
The most important nourishment during the first year of life is breast milk or formula. Research indicates that early introduction of solids may cause any of the following problems:
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Stomach upsets
- Kidney strains
- Allergic reactions
- May lead to overfeeding and childhood obesity.
Babies will not benefit from the introduction of solids until they are developmentally ready. The tongue thrust reflex is present until around 6 months of age (baby’s tongue pushes forward and food is rejected). Prior to 6 months of age there is little nutritional benefit of solids. It’s purely experimentation with different foods, tastes, textures, lumps and bumps.
A baby will not necessarily sleep any longer on solids than on adequate milk feeds. Remember babies will have regular growth spurts where they will demand extra feeds. This alone is not an indication to introduce solids before 6 months of age.
When is the right time?
Generally, around 6 months of age is the right time if your baby is well, gaining weight and is happy and content. At 6 months of age a baby’s iron stores that they have at birth begin to run out. It’s at this time they need additional sources of iron, other than from milk to boost their supply. Rice cereal such as Farex is iron fortified and will supply baby with the additional iron needed. Babies often become more active around 6 months of age and will need additional energy and nutrients to keep up with this increased activity.
Remember every baby is different and some will be ready for solids sooner than others, with some babies are ready and eager to begin solids shortly before 6 months. Others may not be orally ready until 7 or 8 months old.
Your baby will let you know when he/she is ready for extra foods by showing signs of solid readiness.