When your baby should start on solids

The food science field of study with infant development has been a topic of many debates. When is your baby ready to start solids? Sr Rinie shared her expert advice regarding the latest studies and tips on when and what to feed your baby.

When to start

“The latest research in the field indicates that babies should start on solids between 17 and 27 weeks, or roughly, four to six months. Babies who consume formula milk can only start solids at 17 weeks. Babies who are fed breast milk exclusively can start a bit later.”

You can look for the following signs to assess whether your baby is ready to start solids:

  • If your baby can stay upright and sit on their own
  • When they start showing interest in your food
  • When hand-eye coordination has been established

What you should feed them

  • Start the greens, and bland foods before you start the sweet foods. It is much harder to get a baby to eat their greens if they are used to sweet things from the start
  • Stick to one ingredient at a time for the first month or two
  • It should be puréed, or the consistency of a soft porridge so that your baby can swallow easily
  • Avoid any food that you as parent may be allergic to in the first nine months, such as fish, nuts or eggs
  • You should always consider your child’s ability to chew, and always supervise them when they are eating – be mindful of choking hazards
  • Honey may contain clostridium bacteria; babies cannot digest or fight this. It may cause a serious infection and illness. Do not feed honey to your baby before the age of 12 months
  • Milk will remain the most important part of your baby’s diet in the first 12 months
  • Before nine months, milk feedings are the meals, solid foods are snacks
  • After nine months, solids are meals and milk feedings are snacks

How much milk should you give a baby that is on solids?

  • From six months, a baby should drink 750ml milk per day. If they are drinking less, they are eating too much
  • After 12 months, they should have at least 500ml per day

Can your baby drink something other than milk?

“Milk is always the best option. Fruit juice contains lots of sugar, it’s not good for their teeth. If you want to give your baby juice, you can dilute it with water, or buy a juice that is already diluted or formulated for your baby.”

Read more: A stinky situation: Your baby’s nappy

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