The answer to this question has changed over the centuries. Recent research shows that the optimal time for introducing food to your baby is between 4-6 months and when you and your baby are ready. In the 1970’s food was introduced at 6 weeks. In the 1980’s it was 3-4 months and in the 90’s definitely not until 6 months. It is no surprise that we become confused about this topic. Your friends and relatives may share their experiences which may differ from your ideas.
Here are some other indicators as to when your baby is ready to eat more than milk.
- Your baby will begin to be interested in your food and may even try to snatch a handful when food is close by.
- Your baby will have good head control
- Your baby will be over 4 months of age.
The new National Feeding Guidelines (Australia) recommend introducing solids around 6 months but no earlier than 4 months and not after 7 months. Introduce iron rich foods initially and then introduce family foods. There is no need to wait for three days in between offering new foods anymore. Definitely be cautious with foods known to cause an allergic reaction in other family members and always consult your health care professional if in doubt.
There are many questions parents have about introducing food:-
What time of the day do I offer food?
Always after milk feeds until baby is around 8 months old
How many times per day?
Once initially then over a few weeks increase to three times per day around six months
Do I give cereal first?
Cereal is a great first food
When do I give water?
Offer water in a cup with each solid meal.
What is baby led weaning?
Baby led weaning is basically offering your baby finger foods and avoiding using puree on a spoon.
When do I give food before milk?
From about 7.5-8 months
My toddler is fussy with food . What can I do?
Create a calm environment. Offer healthy foods only. Offer a few choices on the one plate including one food which you know your child likes to eat.
Try to avoid treats or rewards substitute milk for food.
Ask your health care professional for help.
Homemade foods are definitely recommended when possible.
Kerry has worked in a variety of hospitals and community settings including pharmacies, preschool and the highly regarded specialist parent facilities of Karitane and Tresillian. She has helped thousands of parents world-wide and is a mentor for other health professionals.
Kerry is a public speaker, author and mother of two beautiful teenage daughters. A friendly nature and personal approach enables Kerry to provide valuable, accurate information and support for parents of children from newborn to five years of age.