Introducing solids to baby, when is the right time?

Are you unsure when to start introducing solids to your baby? Do you have an infant that is showing interest in food?

This is a common question that I get from Mothers.

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy recommends introducing solids to your baby between 4-6 months of age (as outlined below) based on current evidence (meta-analysis and a Cochrane review).

(Source: Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy)
(Source: Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy)

The World Health Organization (WHO), National Health & Medical Research Council and the Australian Breastfeeding Association all recommend exclusively breastfeeding (no other food or drink) your child until 6 months of age before introducing solid foods.

So when is the right time?

Several things should be considered when deciding when to start foods with your infant. Signs that he/she may be ready to eat include:

  • Showing interest in food
  • Reaching for food
  • Following food with their eyes
  • Poking the tongue out when food is in eyesight
  • Being able to sit up right
  • If your baby is not receiving adequate breast milk and you are concerned about weight gain or nutritional status (always check your child’s growth with your GP, Paediatrician, Child Health Nurse or Registered Nurse first)

The 2013 Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines therefore recommend introducing foods at around 6 months of age.

(Source: Australian Government & NHMRC)
(Source: Australian Government & NHMRC)

Using your infant as a guide, looking out for signs of readiness and starting somewhere between 4 to 6 months of age would be sensible.

From 6 months of age, babies require more iron than breast milk or formula alone can offer. For this reason, it is wise to start introducing iron rich foods.

(Source: The Australian Government & NHMRC)
(Source: The Australian Government & NHMRC)

This post first appeared on That Healthy Girl blog on the 5th May, 2015. The information posted is intended to provide some guidance only on this topic. Please consult with your Health Professional if you suspect that your child may be allergic or for specific nutrition advice.

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