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Breastfeeding Community

Feeding Your Baby After Six Months of Age – Introducing Solids

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
08/09/18  9:59 AM PST
Introducing Solids

The World Health Organization recommends only breast milk (or formula if necessary) exclusively for the first six months of life (no other food or liquids, even water, is necessary). But around six months, or even a couple of weeks before, doctors will start to recommend introducing solids – while still continuing to breastfeed your child until at least one year of age or however long you are comfortable with breastfeeding them. There are several ways to do introduce solid foods, and there are several things to keep in mind.

Baby food has been commercially sold in the United States beginning in the 1920s. Before that, people would make baby food at home, mashing or cooking certain foods to make them easier for babies to eat. This was done to make sure that the baby would be less likely to choke when eating these new foods that are thicker than breast milk or formula.

Starting in the early 2000s, a different option when it comes to feeding infants has become popular. It’s called “Baby-led weaning.” In this case, weaning is used in the British sense – it doesn’t mean taking anything away from the child, rather, it means “complimentary feeding.” Baby-led weaning means that instead of relying heavily on pureed foods for your infant, you allow them to eat what you are eating (although it may be somewhat modified) and watching them closely to make sure they don’t choke. This way, you are allowing them to determine what they want to eat and how much, instead of spoon-feeding them from a jar until the jar is empty.

The logic behind why pureed foods may have been popular for so long while at the same time being possibly unnecessary may be that doctors and health organizations recommended feeding babies solid foods earlier (between six weeks and four months old). A baby that is less than six months old cannot sit up unassisted, bring food to their mouth or chew and swallow food. But if parents wait to introduce solid foods until six-months, there’s a better chance that the infant will be ready.

For those considering baby-led weaning, start out with cereals and naturally soft foods (bananas, avocados and the like) and then see what you’re comfortable with and what your baby likes. Feel free to discuss this idea with your child’s pediatrician and see what they think. There are a lot of websites and books that discuss the subject. You can find some helpful sites below.

Another thing to keep in mind for all parents that are going to introduce solid foods, whether or not they decide to take the baby-led weaning path, is to introduce new foods slowly. By introducing a new food in small quantities over the course of three to four days, the parents will have the time and space to determine if their child is allergic to that food. Discuss recommendations with your child’s pediatrician.

Good luck and have fun introducing new foods to your little one!

Baby-led Weaning Sites and Books:

Sources:

This information is intended for educational purposes only. Consult your child’s health care professional for advice on your child’s health and nutritional status. 

Comments

3 Comments

  1. Evelyn
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:57 am PDT

    I had this excellent guide by Susan Urban How to introduce solid foods to your baby (got it here https://www.parental-love.com/shop/baby-food ). Before I was confused and this guide showed me how to begin, when, everything about quantities, food consistency, storing foods, allergies, etc. Best guide about introducing solids out there!

  2. Connie
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 10:00 am PDT

    Evelyn you are right! This guide is exactly what I needed. Love this guide and going to recommend it to others! Sweet 🙂

  3. Jennifer
    Posted August 27, 2018 at 5:22 am PDT

    Introducing solids to a baby is not as easy as it seems! I was trying to organize it all in my head, but I didn’t know what, when and how to give to my son. The guide “how to introduce solid foods to your baby” that you recommend helped me big time! It’s exactly what I needed – month by month guide with tables and clues. Thanks for sharing

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