I often get asked by my blog followers when they should start solids on their kiddos. Now, the answer is not when, not at a specific age but whether the signs of readiness for starting solids are there. What signs to look out for you ask? Here is my typical checklist which I applied on our 3 kiddos so far:
1) Is your baby able to sit up straight and hold his/her head upright? As in his/her neck is strong enough to hold up their head?
Why the ability to hold their own neck upright is important? It is because baby will need to swallow their food. Imagine you feed them food and mid swallowing, their neck rolled to their sides because they are not strong yet to hold their own head. Dangerous...
2) Have you check your baby's tongue reflex?
Tongue reflex meant if you put some small food in her mouth, does she spit it back out? If yes, she is definitely NOT ready because the gag reflex is still strong meaning she cannot swallow bigger size food other than her current milk at the moment. How I conduct the test on this for our kiddos is when I eat my dinner (most of the time with rice), I will take one small grain of rice (softer ones of course!) and put it into our kiddo's mouth. And wait. See whether the rice comes back out or not. If the grain of rice came back out, it means they are not ready yet.
Excerpt from Dr. Sear's website on tongue-thrust reflex:
"In the first four months the tongue thrust reflex protects the infant against choking. When any unusual substance is placed on the tongue, it automatically protrudes outward rather than back. Between four and six months this reflex gradually diminishes, giving the glob of cereal a fighting chance of making it from the tongue to the tummy. Not only is the mouth-end of baby’s digestive tract not ready for early solids, neither is the lower end."
3) Is he/she has increased appetite?
I find this easy to monitor for all 3 of our fully breastfeeding kiddos. Reason being, I have been their main source of live tap (direct all the way) so I will definitely know when they are hungry still after I nursed them. You will also need to take note of growth spurts period. DO NOT confuse growth spurts with baby's having increased appetite! For our kiddos, their growth spurts were when they were 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months old. They could nurse almost every hour, on and on and on. You will need to watch out for the other signs of readiness as well okay?
Apologies for not being able to comment on how it goes for formula feeding kiddos since we have no experience in that.
4) Is he/she particularly more interested when he/she sees people around eating food?
In general, whenever your little ones see you or family member eat, they are very interested and keep looking and wanting to have a part of what you are having.
Just because other kiddos you know starts early doesn't mean yours should follow suit. I personally feel 6 months onwards is better as kiddo's body organs are more matured by then and functions better, ready to handle the digestion process for new food texture.
There's no need to rush the solids stage. Our 2nd and 3rd kiddos only started solids at 7.5 mths old. Solids stage is meant to let kiddo experience new taste, new texture, NOT to fill them up. If others are telling you their kiddos started solids at 2, 3, 4 months old and have no problems at all, fine, by all means, good for them. But that is THEIR kiddo, NOT yours. You as the parent should know and watch out for your baby's signs of readiness for solids.
~ Further reading:
** Note: I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog engine thanks to all the spammers who happily spam my blog every day. If you wish to ask me any questions, you can find me at my Facebook page (I'm there almost everyday) or just drop me an email if you wish to maintain some anonymity.