Between four and six months of age, most babies are physically developed enough to handle the process of starting solid foods. Besides age, there are other signs that your child is ready. If your infant has good head and neck control, can sit with support, or no longer has a tongue-thrust reflex, it may mean that he or she is ready to start solid foods.
Starting Babies on Solid Foods: An Overview
For about the first six months of a baby's life, human milk or formula can provide all the nutritional requirements an infant needs. Yet, as infants become more active and grow, so do their nutritional needs.
By the end of their first year of life, most healthy infants are receiving half of their nutrition from breast milk or formula. The other half comes from complementary foods and liquids.
Starting solid foods is a big step for babies and their families.
Between four and six months of age, most babies are physically developed enough to handle the process of starting to eat solid foods. They are also moving a lot more, building muscle and strength as they develop their early mobility skills. This requires a great deal of energy and nourishment, more than can be provided with just breast milk or formula.
Starting solids goes beyond just satisfying nutritional needs, though. This is also an important time, because research has shown that eating habits established during the first two years of life carry through into adulthood. That is why establishing good eating habits from the start is critical.
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Stang, J. Improving the eating patterns of infants and toddlers. J Am Diet Assoc 2006; 106:S7.
Skinner, JD, Carruth, BR, Bounds, W, et al. Do food-related experiences in the first 2 years of life predict dietary variety in school-aged children?. J Nutr Educ Behav 2002; 34:310.
Zutavern, A, Brockow, I, Schaaf, B, et al. Timing of solid food introduction in relation to atopic dermatitis and atopic sensitization: results from a prospective birth cohort study. Pediatrics 2006; 117:401.
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