When do babies start eating baby food? Well, the exact period to begin feeding baby food might seem little confusing. If you ever had to take a survey with a question on when to start feeding baby food to doctors, moms, neighbors, daycare or childcare providers – I bet you would get 4 unique answers backed up with 4 different rationales and theories. So, what is actually true? After researching for a while, I have come up with few things, which I want to share with you through this article. Read on.
When Do Babies Eat Baby Food?
Time has changed. As new studies on baby food and babies are done, even the answers to the question – when to start feeding baby food varies.
Giving baby food to your baby when he or she is 4 months old can potentially boost iron (especially if your baby I still breastfed). In fact, it might help babies to prevent allergic diseases. Even though WHO (World Health Organization) recommends breastfeeding a baby until he or she is at least 6 months old but there can be some benefits & risk reduction when you feed start baby food earlier. WHO instructions make sense in countries that have low-income, meaning where food & water is often contaminated & unsafe. But in the United States & in high-income countries, giving baby foods early can be advantageous.
I hope you have got the answer to your question — when do babies start eating baby food. This isn’t the end of this article. There are still other things that are important for to write and for you to know.
Formula or breast milk is the basic food a newborn needs. But, by 4 months – 6 months, a baby is ready to start consuming solid foods along with formula-feeding or breastfeeding. It is during this period, a baby stops using his or her tongue to push foods out of the mouth & begin developing a coordination to move solid foods from mouth’s front to back to swallow.
One of the biggest and most vital steps for a baby is when he or she is been given solid foods. This important transition certainly can’t be forced. It has to happen naturally only when your baby likes it or shows a willingness to eat. So, it is absolutely okay to begin complementary foods or baby food when the baby shows signs of willingness, given that they’re at least 4-months old. Now, the signs of willingness include the below:
- Lip smacking
- Licking whenever they smell foods
- Your baby opens his or her mouth whenever you offer some food
- Getting excited whenever your baby sees you eat (that is following the way your spoon moves)
Babies, who show readiness to eat earlier have proven to double their birth weight. In fact, they begin cooing, laughing, sit whenever assisted and roll over much faster than other babies.
In the last few years, there is been a continuous research on babies and baby foods, which has made doctors to do few changes. Pediatricians used to recommend parents to hold few foods until their baby reached 1-year, 2-years and sometimes even 3-years. This was advised to protect babies from certain food allergies. However, new data in the recent years is showing something else. So the standard age recommendations for a baby to give baby food is 4 months. If there aren’t any food allergies in family history, you can begin giving baby foods gradually when your baby reaches 4-months. On the other hand, if food allergies are common in your family, it is better to get advice from an allergist. Most studies have proven that even in kids with increased risk, early baby food introduction often tends to be protective against allergies. And the only “prohibited” food for a baby before one year is honey.
Feeding A Baby When He Or She Is 4 Months Old
There are certain things you need to note down here.
1. Look If Your Baby Is Showing Readiness
First, look for signs of willingness in your baby, particularly when he or she is 4 to 6 months old. Serve thin and liquid-like pureed foods such as baby cereal, veggies, fruits by spoon one time daily initially. Never ever do the mistake of pushing the spoon through your baby’s closed or pursed lips. In case, your baby I turning away his or her head from you, then don’t force it. Try again the next day. You don’t have to rush the eating process here. Every baby takes his or her own time in consuming solid foods. If your baby is breastfed exclusively, consider waiting until he or she is 6-months old to feed complementary foods. Also, talk to your doc regarding the possible extra iron supplementation.
2. Give Your Baby Some Time
There isn’t any first perfect food. Doctors used to advice rice cereal for a baby’s first food for the reason that you could combine flakes with formula or breast milk to a liquid-like consistency. But, with the latest information, it is now recommended to feed babies rice only once in a week. To begin with cereal, a veggie or a fruit as your baby’s first food. Then introduce the same for two more days. Give your baby some time to explore new flavor and texture. After 3 days, add a new food. This will help you know which food he or she is allergic too or doesn’t suit.
3. Add Complementary Foods For Better Growth
A recent study in December 2012 revealed that babies who got complementary foods along with breast milk showed great levels of their growth. Out of 100 mother-infant pairs during the study, growth wasn’t any different. However, iron levels were much better in babies whose baby food were introduced earlier. Happily, iron levels were sufficient in exclusively breastfed babies too.
Giving complementary foods when a baby is 4months old might help in reducing allergies & asthma. In fact, a recent study in the year 2016 from The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology claimed that adding rye, wheat, barley and oats before 5.5-months, eggs before 11-months and fish before 9-months triggered low asthma rates, allergic rhinitis & allergic response in blood. This research also revealed that babies receiving breast milk for about 9 ½ months / more had low asthma rates.