When to start solids when breastfeeding?

(August 12, 2010)

A new born baby spends all his/her hours feeding and sleeping. This is ideal for growth and development as it minimizes the child’s calorific requirements and thus allows most of the ingested nutrients to be used for developing the immune system and the organs. All the nourishment that your baby needs is derived best from the mother’ milk and thus, you will get a lot of advice from the elders telling you to feed your child only breast milk for at least the first 6 months of birth. If it is possible, breastfeeding for the baby should continue for at least 12 months. There is no harm even if breastfeeding a baby continues till he/she is two years old. 

It is important to introduce your child to solid foods when he/she is ready for it. Normally, you can start feeding your baby solid food anytime between 4 to 6 months but this timeframe may vary.
Sometimes, it is recommended that you start solid foods after 8 or 9 months and you can add small amounts of the new food to expressed breast milk so that child gets accustomed to the new taste. Ideally, you should wait for at least 6 months as the intestinal tract of your baby takes a while to develop fully and so giving him solid food might not be the best option. Also, due to this, there is a possibility that he may develop food allergies. This is often the case if the mother or a close relative has a history of allergies and negative reaction to certain foods. Moreover, your baby is not able to swallow solid food correctly before 4 to 6 months of age which may lead to choking. Thus, it is best that you wait for a while.

However, the best time to start feeding your baby solid food is when he begins to shows an interest in eating. Your baby will directly reach out for the food in your plate and want to eat it and this may happen if your child is even 4 months old. Another indication that a baby is ready to be weaned off breast milk is increased control of the head. If your baby is still hungry despite breastfeeding him 8 to 10 times in a day, it is a sign to begin solid food. A baby gaining a lot of weight is another indication wherein his weight has become double of the birth weight.  

Submitted by N H on August 12, 2010 at 11:23

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