Dr. Sarah Mitchell
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When to Start Solids? Answered by Dr. Sarah Mitchell

Starting solids is an exciting time for your little one, but how do you know WHEN to start? There are certain readiness signs to look for when starting solids.

A quick reminder, starting solids is likely not going to fix your child’s sleep.   The purpose of starting solids is to:

  • Starting solids is just for fun! Introduce your child to a variety of textures 
  • Introduce your child to a variety of flavors 
  • Both of these will help develop your child’s palate. 
  • Ultimately compliment your child’s appetite:  Breastmilk or formula will still be your main source of food. 

There are a few signs of readiness to look for when starting solids:

  • Your child can independently sit up. 
  • This usually happens around six months. 
  • Your child has good head control and hand eye coordination is developing. 
  • Your child shows interest in the food that you are eating. 

Check with your pediatrician for the best time for your baby.  The American Academy of Pediatrics suggest 6 months of age but no earlier than 4 months of age. 

When is the Best Time of the Day to Introduce Solids? 

The beginning of the day is the best time to start introducing solids.  Should your child have discomfort with the food, this way they have the whole day to work on that issue, and it won’t interfere with nighttime sleep. 

It’s important to know that many guidelines are changing in terms of how many times you should introduce a food, especially when it comes to allergies. Be sure to discuss with your pediatrician for further guidance. 

Another important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want your child to fill up on solids as milk is still the primary source of nutrition. 

So, keeping all of these things in mind, how do you actually go about starting? There are some different methods, but keep in mind, how you introduce solids to your baby is completely up to you. 

One of the methods to introduce solids is called “Baby Led Weaning.” This is the idea that you serve your child larger pieces of food and they have more control. This is supposed to develop a greater palette and allow the child more involvement in the feeding process. 

Another method is purees. This is where you can take a variety of foods and blend it with breastmilk or formula. Some great first foods are apples, bananas, avocados,  and oatmeal.  And with purees you are spoon feeding your child. At the beginning they may not eat more than one to two tablespoons. 

One last thing to keep in mind for both methods is to only introduce, or add, one meal per month. This means at six months they may have breakfast. At seven months they could have breakfast and lunch. Finally,  at eight months, breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Thinking you need solids to have a great night’s sleep?  You don’t! Take our simple 6 question sleep quiz to learn more about your baby’s sleep situation and one simple tip you can implement tonight.  

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