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Getting started with solids

Health experts and breastfeeding experts agree that it’s best to wait until your baby is around six months old before offering solid foods. The World Health Organization, and many other health organizations recommend that babies are exclusively breastfed (no cereal, juice or other foods) for the first 6 months of life.

Solids readiness depends on both the maturity of baby’s digestive tract and baby’s developmental readiness for solids. Although the maturity of baby’s digestive system is not something that we can readily observe, research indicates that 6 months appears to be ideal for avoiding increased illness and other health risks of too-early solids. After this point, different babies are ready for solids at different times — developmental readiness for solids cannot be determined using a calendar.

Signs that indicate baby is developmentally ready for solids include:

  • Baby can sit up well without support
  • Baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex and does not automatically push solids out of his mouth with his tongue
  • Baby is ready and willing to chew
  • Baby is developing a “pincer” grasp, where he picks up food or other objects between thumb and forefinger. Using the fingers and scraping the food into the palm of the hand (palmar grasp) does not substitute for pincer grasp development
  • Baby is eager to participate in mealtime and may try to grab food and put it in his mouth