When Is It Okay To Feed Babies Solid Food? Starting At 4 Months, Experts Say

By Olivia Reese, Parent Herald September 22, 06:15 am
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Baby-led weaning involves feeding babies with soft foods such as asparagus and bananas instead of purees.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Feeding babies solid foods may be scary for some parents. There's the fear that the child will choke on the food after getting used to liquids. But when is it really okay to start feeding babies solid foods?

According to a new study conducted by researchers from New Zealand and recently published in the journal Pediatrics, it's alright to feed solid foods to babies between 4 and 6 months old, and it will not cause more choking than traditionally spoon-feeding infants with purees. The American Academy of Pediatrics' previous recommendation for feeding solids to babies was at least 8 months old.

This approach, also called as baby-led weaning, begins once babies are ready to advance from the breast or bottle. Those soft foods include asparagus and bananas instead of purees. The baby-led weaning approach reportedly makes the infants become less picky in food and helps them avoid obesity as they grow up.

Dr. Christina Canody, a pediatrician from Tampa, Florida, does not agree with the baby-led weaning approach. She said babies show when they are "developmentally ready" to eat solid foods, which occurs when the infant is capable of sitting up by themselves, ABC Action News reports.

Other signs that a baby is ready for solid food are when he/she can hold his/her head up, sits well in a highchair, makes chewing motions, displays interest in food, and when he/she gains double its birth weight and weighs at least 13 pounds, the BabyCenter listed. Babies are also ready for solid foods when they can close their mouth around a spoon, when they can move food and their tongues back and forth in their mouths and when they are starting to stop pushing food out of their mouths using their tongue.

Canody said parents should be vigilant when it comes to feeding their babies. Foods that can be mashed with the back of a fork can be fed to babies because they can mash it with their tongue, too.

Foods that can't be mashed on the roof of the mouth using the tongue are nuts, grapes, raw apple and vegetables, popcorn, and foods that were cut into coin shapes such as carrots and sausages, as listed via CNN. These foods can cause gagging or choking in months-old babies, with the latter more threatening because it involves the airways being blocked.

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