When do babies start solids?
The answer is not a one size fits all. Baby's can start solids, generally, around 4-6 months of age. However, starting solids and consuming solids regularly throughout the day are two different. Arguably, most babies don't have 3 full solid meals a day until quite some time after 6 months. Some times over a year in some babies.
How do I know baby is ready to start solids?
There are signs of readiness that indicate when baby is ready for solids.
- Baby no longer has a tongue thrust reflex. A tongue thrust is when the baby pushes a spoon or food out of their mouth with their tongue, simply put.This is the most important one, because it may indicate that the baby's digestive system has not yet matured to digest solid food.
- Baby can sit up (assisted). If baby cannot hold head up, then it is probably a best to wait until they can support their head. This is to lower the risk of choking.
- Baby shows interest in food. They watch you eagerly when you eat. When you offer them a bite they lean in to taste. Eating is also a social skill.
- They may begin to nurse or bottle feed more. Liquid is no longer satiating. If it feels like they're eating like a newborn (and it's not teething related). It could be an indication that they're ready for solid foods.
How do I start my baby on solids?
Slowly. In my experience, I found that starting with easily digestible foods like avocado to be successful. Initially my babies only consumed about a tablespoon. I would wait 3 days, offering only that first food before introducing another. I generally like to start with foods that can be mixed with other foods easily. Example, sweet potato can later be mixed with another vegetable I'm introducing, like peas. Since we cleared sweet potatoes, introducing peas with sweet potatoes makes the meal more filling, so baby is satiated, but also discovering a new food at the same time.
When will my baby eat 3 meals a day?
This varies from one baby to another. If you're baby-led weaning, then this may take longer. Since the entire intent behind that movement is to promote exclusive breastfeeding. Temperament may also play a role as to whether baby is willing to eat or not. Along with physical factors such as teething or even growing pains.
My first son did not consume 3 full meals a day and weaned until a year and a half. My second son is currently 11 months, he eats 3 full meals a day and still nurses consistently. When they say, "every baby is unique" it's true.