When Can Babies Start Solids?

Pea puree baby food

When Can Babies Start Solids?

There is no hard and fast rule for when babies can start solids. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months (which isn’t helpful for parents who are formula feeding!). The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology recommends offering babies potentially allergenic foods between 4-6 months, in an effort to avoid food allergies.

Most pediatricians recommend offering babies solid foods between 4-6 months of age, depending on your baby’s readiness. But how do you know when your baby is ready? Here are some signs to look for:

  • Your baby can sit up. It’s okay if she needs some support, such as cushions or rolled up towels tucked into the high chair, but she should be stable.
  • He can hold his head and neck still.
  • Your baby has lost the tongue-thrust instinct that automatically pushes food or other objects out of her mouth.
  • He can close his lips over a spoon. Or, if you’re practicing baby-led weaning, he’s able to grasp food and bring it to his mouth.

Bowl of sweet pea puree baby food

One of the biggest cues I noticed was when Rosa couldn’t take her eyes off what I was eating. She would reach for my fork or spoon, and just looked downright hungry. Call it a mother’s instinct, but I knew her little body was ready for more than just milk.

If you start solids and your baby isn’t interested or is overly frustrated, it’s okay to back off for a few days or a week and try again. Starting solids should be a time of fun and exploration for both you and your baby. You will have plenty more opportunities to stress out about what, when, and how your child eats over the years. Trust me. 🙂

Photo by Lauren Volo from Real Baby Food

Jenna Helwig