By 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 solid foods between four to six months of age is ideal. You do not want to start too early or too late. Problems may occur if you wait too long (after six months of age) to introduce solids. Research has shown that waiting too long to start solids can:
- Decrease an infant's growth rate from not enough calories
- Lead to a dislike for trying solid foods
- Lead to iron deficiency in breastfed infants.
(Click Starting Solid Foods for more information on what problems may occur if there is a delay in starting solids, to learn about the complications associated with giving solid foods to your baby too early, and to find out when your child should be ready to eat baby food.)