Solids: Is Your Baby Ready?
So, you think baby might be ready to start solids and you are excited that solids may help them sleep longer.
Below, are some signs that your baby may be ready to start solids and the implications of starting solids too early or too late and useful readings in regards to safety precautions and current Australian recommendations.
These some signs that indicate that your baby may be ready to start solids:
- First and foremost- your baby can hold their head up on their own
- Your baby is old enough- it is now recommended by the World Health Organisation that you wait until your baby is 6 months old- this was previously 4 months old
- Your baby is interested in what you are eating and may try to grab at your food
- Your baby has lost their tongue thrust reflex- meaning baby sucks on a spoon is given one as opposed to thrusting it out (thrust reflex)
- Your baby practices chewing motions with their mouth
- Sometimes if your baby has been sleeping for longer stretches at night and they suddenly start waking during the night for feeds this may indicate that they are hungry or need their food during the day increased
Starting solids too early:
- May increase risk of allergies, infections or discomfort
- Effect on milk supply
- Babies ability to chew and swallow are not fully developed leading to safety concerns
Starting solids too late:
- Delaying beyond 6 months may affect growth
- Baby not getting enough nutrients and may increase possibility of allergies
**Before 6 months it is recommended by the Worth Health Organisation (WHO), National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) and the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) that they stay exclusively on breast or formula milk. A few years ago it was suggested babies could begin solids around 4 months of age, but more recently it is recommended waiting closer to the 6 month mark when babies’ digestive systems are more mature.
Introducing solids – Department of Health
World Health Organisation Fact Sheet
If you need help with your child’s sleep or have any questions – please contact me!