Sometime between a baby's 4th month and
6th month solid food can be introduced. Exactly when depends on several
One factor involves the disappearance of the involuntary action called the
extrusion reflex. Before this reflex disappears, feeding solids usually involves
putting a spoonful in the mouth and scraping most of it off the baby's face as
he or she spits it back out.
Also, babies should be able to sit up and turn their heads
away. That way, Schanler explains, they can communicate that they're not ready
for the next spoonful or just not hungry anymore.
Another sign to look for would be your baby leaning forward to
watch you eat and sucking in his lower lip.
Usually, the first food recommended is a single-grain, iron-fortified infant
cereal. Starting with single-grain cereals makes it easier to pinpoint any
allergic reactions. It is NOT recommended that cereal ever be added to an infants
bottle. The biggest concern with feeding solids too early is that the solids
will replace breast milk or formula in the baby's diet. "Solids vary
nutritionally depending on the food," says Schanler. "None of them is
as complete as formula or breast milk. You don't want to rob [the baby] of milk."