Starting solids at 4mos?

Taylor - posted on 10/30/2010 ( 76 moms have responded )

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At my sons 4mo doctor appointment the nurse seemed very surprised that I was still exclusively BFing and told me that it was strongly reccomended that he start on solids. Our doctor is a huge supporter of BFing and when she came in I asked about it and she told me I can start him anytime before 1. I always thought a baby was supposed to be 6mo and sitting unsupported before solids are started. Does starting solids this young have any advantages/disadvantages??

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Jeany - posted on 11/06/2010

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Gill Rapley says a baby is ready to eat solids when she is able to pick it up, put it in her mouth by herself, chew and swallow. I doesn't hurt to give babies between 4 and 6 months the chance to play with food if they show interest, and chances are she will be close to 6 months of age before she is physically capable of swallowing any significant quantity. Tasting and spitting out is a normal stage preceding actual swallowing of solid foods. And breastmilk continues to be the most important food until at least one year of age. "Table food is for fun, until the age of One." See this article: http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/s... and do a google search for 'baby led weaning'.

Merry - posted on 10/30/2010

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http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids...

Hi Taylor! It sounds like you really need some facts here!
Go to this link and look through all the parts about solids, it's alot but it's SO worth the time because there is all the facts and advise you need!
In short, solids are sometimes dangerous before 6 months, some do fine, some have damage done to their guts.
No medical health organization recommends anything earlier then 6 months.
Especially when breastfeeding.
So please look at the site, read up, but in short you may need to educate your dr or get a new one!
You are right, 6 months is the mimumum for breastfed babies, earlier can be bad.
But please do the reading and learn all the facts so you are confident in the decision and can explain it to ur dr!
I'll post more links if I can find some good ones for you!

Rachel - posted on 11/06/2010

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My daughter didn't start on solids until she was 10 months. Super healthy little girl. Just because a baby is reaching for food doesn't mean they are ready for solids. They reach for the keys too... doesn't mean they are ready to drive.

Minnie - posted on 11/06/2010

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Just a note; a baby wanting to nurse frequently is not necessarily a sign of readiness for solids. Breastmilk digests very quickly and a few feedings per hour even is normal. Not every baby falls into the blanket category of nursing every two to three hours. Babies go through growth spurts and many babies nurse frequently. Non-nutritive sucking- a very good thing- is often misinterpreted as a mother's milk not satisfying the baby.

[deleted account]

I agree with Laura. You are right, Taylor, at least 6 months and sitting unsupported are two of the signs of readiness for solids. I think people are so used to babies being formula fed and many formula fed babies start at four months. That link is great, Laura. Lots of wonderful info. My daughter didn't show all the signs of readiness until almost 8 months. Other babies are ready at 6. I, personally, would not start my own baby before 6 months because I want to be sure their tummy is ready.

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Kasie - posted on 11/15/2010

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And not all BF babies stay perfectly healthy, my family and I were BF and we have some allergies, not to food but other ones.

Kasie - posted on 11/15/2010

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Formula fed babies are more prone to allergies later because they dont get everything that the bf baby does. The anti-bodies and ALL the nutritions, hormones, and everything. They just get the basic nutritions. I dont think its whether or not the formula causes it by itself or that anyone starts too late.

Merry - posted on 11/15/2010

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I've read through many articles saying 4 months is better then 6 months for allergies, and guess what! Every study uses babies who were not exclusively breastfed that time!
They use groups that are formula fed so it's obviousto me that the allergies in question could be caused by formula, or by late solids.
There's no way to know if it's caused by one or the it her cuz they don't seem to recognize that formula in itself can cause allergies.
So the studies are inaccurate and untrustworthy.
Maybe formula fed babies are not affected by early solids cuz the damage has already been done, like fissures in their intestines.
But breastfed babies should wait cuz while only breastmilk is being digested their intestines stay perfectly healthy.

[deleted account]

The tests showing that allergies can occur if you wait too 'long' (6 months??? not too long in my book) are only very recent and few in number.
It's not for nutritional reasons that I believe waiting for 6 months is best, but their digestive systems are not ready until then.
I have allergies in my family majorly but will wait for 6 months as the studies just aren't enough to convince me yet.
So...not mainly for nutritional benefits...not mainly for allergies...but for digestive reasons, I wait until 6 months. Can anybody prove to me that digestive reasons don't count? I'm happy to learn something new.
Again, why rush?
By the way, the water is clean in Australia too!
When the WHO changes their stance, if they do, Gina, I'll consider changing then. I've not heard about this and would prefer to wait until it's a proven fact.

Kasie - posted on 11/14/2010

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ya but think how recent those are. also its not about that its about them being able to digest the foods properly. Plus breast fed babies should have fewer allergies anyway, does it say for bf babies or formula fed of does it say anything about either in the studies specifically?

Aunt_gina98 - posted on 11/14/2010

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My pedi said that the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics are both going to change their position statements on strictly BF for 6 months. The reason being, that they are finding that kids are developing more allergies to foods when the are waiting that long. They are now going to start reccommending between 4-6 months to start on rice cereal. You'll know wehn he's readyif he can sit up with support, can turn away from the breast when he's full, and many infants actually start showing an interest in what your eating :-)

Merry - posted on 11/14/2010

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I apologize Carolyn, I mean no harm. I am not a debating mom by nature but I'm not perfect. I won't check back here, and I am sorry.

Carolyn - posted on 11/14/2010

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i have never encouraged or said its okay for anyone to start solids before six months, or any other time that might not be right for them. I have simply stated my own experience and how we had no issues and defended my own actions to others who feel the need to constantly send me links and imply that i shouldnt have started my son or anything else.



Laura you posted a link to my attention, there for i called it your source. which in itself really only states one added benefit to nursing for those extra 2 months.



You really seem to like to pick apart almost anything i say , and its starting to annoy me, ill be honest, youve done it in a few threads now. I will always defend my actions as i have feel i made the best choice for my family as i am sure you do the same. I think i really just need to stop taking your bait.



your implying that i have said its okay for someone to start solids before six months is off base. and i dont appreciate your last post, what so ever. how bout you call out the rest of the moms on here who have supported their own decision to start their child early and leave me the hell alone

Merry - posted on 11/14/2010

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It's not really my source, it's just a way to show you that even in Canada where the water is safe etc, the recommendation stands at 6 months.
Just trying to speak so you hear me is all.
I'm not saying you harmed your child by starting at 4 months! I'm just saying we shouldn't recommend anyone else take that risk, as it is not the safest choice.
And in this community it specifically says we do not support the starting of solids before 6 months so please don't say it's ok. Even if you know it was ok for your child it could be detrimental to another mom if you steer her away from health recommendations.

Kasie - posted on 11/14/2010

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Babies digestive systems no matter what cannot process solids before 6 months like ours can, that is why they are supposed to wait for even cereal until then.

Carolyn - posted on 11/14/2010

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which basically is the WHO, as the site it self says.

i paricularly find this interesting other than some added gastro intestinal protection for extra 2 months of exclusive breast feeding

"Healthy term infants who are exclusively breastfed for six months grow at similar rates and show similar iron status as infants who are exclusively breastfed for three to four months and then continue partial breastfeeding to six months. For the few studies that have examined other health outcomes related to six months versus four months of exclusive breastfeeding, the results have been inconclusive, insufficient or have not shown substantial differences."

The following is a summary of the information Health Canada reviewed to inform the decision to align with the WHO recommendation."

so really , not much difference between EBF for only 4 months and supplimenting, and EBF for 6 months. atleast from what i read on that site.

maybe im only seeing what i want to. but seems straight forward to me.

from your own source Laura :)

so lets go easy on the moms who chose to start solids a little earlier ? maybe ...

[deleted account]

It is a recommendation so is stronger than a 'suggestion' though I use the politer word. I quote from them here about 'exclusive' (no solids) breastfeeding:
"A recent review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond. Breastmilk is the natural first food for babies, it provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life."

I know many mums just can't wait and start early and claim that the baby wanted to. I see the babies' actions differently. Mine reached out for things before six months but that's just a developmental thing ie. babies put anything and everything in their mouth.

I prefer to wait. There's really no rush.

Check out the WHO website on:
http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/excl...

Carolyn - posted on 11/13/2010

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not every baby is going to fit into the WHO mold. and i think this is important to remember, Fiona, you hit the nail right on the head with the word suggestion.



we could get into the underdevelopped countries and food source contamination, water contamination, yadda yadda wich are all taken into consideration when making these recommendations. if i were living in an empoverished country, where water and food supplies weren`t so highly regulated, i would avoid solids as long as possible, but living in canada, and having the ability to wash food items with clean water, prepare my own baby food , etc, with the fda, regulations and so on, im pretty okay with the fact that i started my son on solids a little earlier than the globally recommended one size fits all circumstances.



i paid attention to my son and followed his lead. it was pretty great, it stopped most of the spit up he loved his cereal and leaned in for the spoon after the first bite.



i did wait a month and a half before introducing anything other than cereal



just my thoughts

[deleted account]

I don't know why people just don't stick to the WHO code suggestion of 6 months. They very carefully decided that at least 6 months was sensible, for many reasons. Why rush it? They've got the rest of their life to eat solids.
It doesn't help them sleep through the night any earlier etc

Kristin - posted on 11/12/2010

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I didn't start my older boys until they had a tooth. Breastfeeding was still the primary. We woud nurse and then finish up with solids.

Really it is up to you when to start. If your child seems ravenous and feeds all the time, if he can sit with minimal propping, if he's fascinated by what you are doing and opens his mouth anytime a utensil of any sort is offered, he could probably start with a small snack or meal. If he isn't showing much interest, then don't worry about it. It can wait.

Merry - posted on 11/12/2010

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I know babies that never used purée foods, they just waited til they were able to pick foods up and eat on their own.called baby led weaning. Other cultures might not have access to mushy foods so babies can just wait until they are able to eat real foods too. Likely more around 8-9 months but it works!
That's my plan with this baby due in may, no jars of food, no making my own purée food. Just soft chunks when baby is able to eat it.

Michelle - posted on 11/12/2010

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My breastfeed daughter started solids at 5 months. She would watch me eat, and if I pretended to offer her food she would open her mouth to take it. I didn't give her what I was eating though, it just worked to show she knew what to do. She was also unsettled in the late afternoon, & evening and wanted to keep feeding all the time. She wasn't sitting unsupported, but was holding her head up. She could turn away if she didn't want it or was full. She took to solids like a duck to water and in a little over a week was having 3 meals a day. I always breastfed her an hour before solids so her main source of nutrition was my milk. As soon as she was having solids at dinner time she was a settled happy baby again. She is now over 2 years old and eats a wide variety of food. She stopped bf at 18 months when I was about 10 weeks pregnant with bubs #2. She was still having 2 bf a day at that age but I guess the milk changed taste while I was pregnant. Trust your child to show you when he is ready to start solids. If it is at 5 months great, if it is later that is great too. If you let your child guide you and stick to foods recommended for their age you will be fine. Like most info the age to start solids is a guide. Babies get teeth at different ages, sit, crawl, walk, talk all at different ages why would eating solids be any different? Trust yourself to notice the signs that you child is ready.

Kasie - posted on 11/11/2010

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i know 7 month olds that are eating strips of chicken and meat loaf and stuff like that but they had to work up to it

Carolyn - posted on 11/11/2010

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cereal , pureed baby food ( home made stuff will be jam packed with nutrients) are considered solids ...... you dont hand a baby a peice of chicken and expect it to know what to do with it. there are different stages of foods for a reason. to help your baby learn to eat. purees have a purpose, baby finesses moving food to the back of the mouth with its tongue, then you get the more coarse stuff that they can gum without choking. then you move on ....

a baby does not need to know how to chew before introducing solids. a baby needs to know how to chew before giving finger foods and peices of food that require chewing ....

Nicole - posted on 11/11/2010

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I was driviing to the store and thought I should have worded it like that!! thankyou!! yes they need practice shewing before geting "solid" food to choke on!!

Merry - posted on 11/11/2010

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I think it's cuz eating foods before year is all about practice and so swallowing mush isn't doing anything productive, they need to be chewing to be practicing eating.
Purée foods are just milk substitutes really, and not good ones at that with like only one good ingredient in each kind so it's better off not bothering with mushy baby foods and waiting until baby can pick up pieces and put it in their own mouth.

Nicole - posted on 11/11/2010

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I don't remember...I heard it a long time ago, and it just makes sence to me...But also like I said You'll know your baby and know what they are ready for!!

Carolyn - posted on 11/11/2010

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where did you get the information that a baby needs to be ready for stage 3 foods before start baby food ? im curious, i have never heard of this.

Nicole - posted on 11/11/2010

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I waited till my son was about 6 months before starting babyfood, I feel like it's better for their dijestion(sp). and then they have to be ok with stage 3 babyfood before they can start solids....but it's your baby, YOU know them better then anyone!!! I've had friends that have started their kids on babyfood anywhere from 3 1/2-6 months, an honestly their isn't much of a diff between them...they are all still real young to 3 years old...so far no allergies, one's not any pickier then the other...it just depends on you, your baby and what you feel they need and are ready for!!

Kasie - posted on 11/10/2010

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They usually want you to wait until 6 months because their digestive system isn't able to deal with it the way ours does before then. That's what i've been told anyway, also because of food allergies. I'm not starting my baby on solids until 6 months no matter what my doctor says, my son will be 4 months at the end of this month. I wont even use cereal until 6 months. That's me though.

[deleted account]

I fed both of my children when it was obvious to me they were ready to start solids. With my son it was just after 4 months and with my daughter it was closer to six. They were both breastfed so in my opinion you just have to listen to the child. They will let you know when they are ready. I read all the research with the first one and I found that going with my gut is usually best.

[deleted account]

I didn't post that but some latest research has said that early introduction of solids may help prevent allergies. In Australia here, it was on the TV newsand in the newspaper a little while back.
However, at ABA (Australian Breastfeeding Association) they said that you're probably better going with the majority of studies that say to wait as that's only very recent studies that show some support for early introduction. Most say to wait until 6 months. It wasn't a very wide study also.
I'm gonna wait until 6 months, as I did with my others, as it's better to be safe than sorry.

Merry - posted on 11/09/2010

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Rae, and other moms who said similar things about early solids PREVENTING allergies, this article is for you all.
Please post where you get the idea that early solids prevent allergies as I've only ever found articles saying the opposite.
Please post your sources!
http://www.llli.org/NB/NBJulAug98p100.ht...
This is one of my sources saying early solids CAUSE allergies.

Mellissa - posted on 11/09/2010

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I didn't feed my son solid food until 6 months. At that point I just gave him cereal. When he would spit somthing out I just tried again later that day or the next day and eventually he would eat it. I think He would just spit it out because he was not use to the flavore or the feel of the food. I find a lot of formula feed babys get started on solids early mostly because formula is not like breast milk and is harder for baby to digest. I know to many moms who formula feed because they did not want to breast feed and if they breast feed it was for such a short time. Breast feed as long as you want it is good for baby

Tine - posted on 11/09/2010

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Your doctor, like many doctors, is WRONG! Doctors do only a very very tiny amount of breastfeeding education in thier course (4 hours in Australia!) and that is a seminar sponsored and taught by, you guessed it, formula companies!! So no wonder your doctor is ignorant.
He/she has no excuse though, as the World Health Organisation as well as the American Pediatrics association and the Australian Breastfeeding Association all reccomend exclusive breastfeeding to at least 6 months, for good reasons.
Babies start solids of different kinds as they are ready, and they are all ready at different times. I spoke to one mother of 5 who siad her kids started solids between 8 and 12 months.
Keep doing what you are doing, you're doing a great job! And maybe you could suggest to your doctor that they get up to date on the latest research and reccomendations regarding breastfeeding so they son't offer bad advice to other mums! :-)

Charlotte - posted on 11/09/2010

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Just like you, my son's pediatrician recommended me starting him on solids as soon as I could, with 4 months being the latest time to start. Not exclusively, since he is a huge supporter of breastfeeding, but once a day, so he could get iron, which is one thing breastmilk doesn't provide. He did say that if I wasn't comfortable starting him on rice cereal that soon, I could use vitamins or give him formula once a day, which does have iron. I decided to try it out and gave my son rice cereal at 4 months before I got lazy and went back to exclusively breastfeeding, since it was more convenient and easier. I will say this though, at 4 months my son was eager for the rice cereal the few times I gave it to him and when I finally started him on it again at 6 months, at the encouragement of my mom, he didn't want it. Maybe if I'd kept giving it to him (just once a day) from when he wanted it at 4 months, it wouldn't have been such a struggle later. Like most things, I'm sure it depends on the readiness of the baby in question. My son was ready at 4 months to try something new, but not all babies are. Take your cue from your son :)

[deleted account]

It is pretty well-known fact that doctors (at least the ones I've had) are relatively easy to recommend using formula because the companies that make the formula are providing them with samples and who knows what else?? Also, I know from experience that my pediatricians were surprised that I was BFing. They are always expecting mothers to do what is easiest. The same goes for giving rice cereal to babies under 4 months. I've heard if you rust add a little bit to their milk- they will sleep better. Seriously? I don't even know what to listen to anymore. I KNOW that baby can flourish on breast milk exclusively for the first year if the mother has a good milk supply and is willing to do the duty.

[deleted account]

So I am naive for saying that doctors aren't always the best people to give nutrition advice? It is well known how little they are taught about it. I'm talking about general/family doctors, not pediatricians. Our pediatrician is very good.
A nutritionist or dietitician may be a better call. My own family doctor gave me very incorrect advice. For matters about solids and breastfeeding etc, I go to the ABA (Australian Breastfeeding Association) which is similar to the La Leche League. Their information is well backed up my medical research and current.
I didn't even think to stress that the WHO recommendations are for all babies everywhere. I didn't think anybody would think they were just for developing countries.

Rae - posted on 11/08/2010

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There is evidence out there to say that starting solids earlier (from 4 months) is beneficial to reduce the chance of developing allergies, however it is only for high risk populations - that is, babies who have parents or siblings with allergies. For these babies, it has been shown that the number and severity of allergies is reduced. For babies not at risk, there is no difference in allergy rates regardless of the time of onset of solids. Go with what seems right for your baby - if he can't sit up unaided and doesn't seem overly keen on wanting solids then ignore everybody, but as he gets better at sitting and starts deafening you everytime you eat - that's a cue no matter what his age!

Ericka - posted on 11/08/2010

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NO!
you wait as long as humanly possible. there are all the real reasons to wait that im sure you know about, and yes, being 6 months and sitting unsupported are 2 of them. however, your child will eat you out of house and home soon enough, why start soon! LOL! just keep going mom!!! :) you are doing great!

Stephanie - posted on 11/08/2010

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The really awesome thing about EBF is that they get all of their nutrition from the breast. I am an LC and know that the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Org STRONGLY recommends not to give any solids until 6 months of age. They are only learning about food before 1yr and most of the only reason people give their kids solids when NOT necessary is so that the parents can get some sleep. After seeing many little ones I am here to tell you that most babies it doesn't make the slightest difference. Also even though your babies are watching you eat, if you actually think about it they watch you do everything. Just because you put a cigarette in your mouth and they watch are you ready to give them one with the statement "well, they were always watching me and I knew they just wanted it?" Babies learn from watching us, we don't always have to give in.

Minnie - posted on 11/07/2010

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At 6 months babies' iron stores are depleted, and they need to get it from food

It might be helpful for mothers to know that current research shows that if the cord is kept intact until it stops pulsating that the baby will typically have enough iron to last at least until nine months. Which fully coincides with baby-led solids :).

Merry - posted on 11/07/2010

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Here's a nice bit of info :)

My son was exclusively breastfed 6 months, then reffused to eat much of anything until about 10 months and has never eaten enough solids that he didn't need a breastfeed after even now at 1 1/2years old.

We didn't do cereal! We didn't do iron supplements!

He was tested at wic regulary for iron levels and has always been NORMAL!

So go figure, he didn't need any cereal or supplements to have good iron levels. And he never had formula, only breast milk, no cows milk, just mine.

So threes one example as to how iron is not something to stress about. Their stores are not gone at 6 months, and breastmilk has plenty of iron and every bit is absorbed so don't be scared into giving iron stuff early.

Liz - posted on 11/07/2010

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i would like to clarify that, contrary to Gabriela's post, WHO guidelines are NOT only for babies in developing countries (are their bodies somehow different???) but for BABIES WORLDWIDE. Furthermore, I think it is naive to say not to listen to what 'doctors say' about when to introduce solids and yes, introduction of solids too early can cause damage! Finally, it is important to remember (as PP has said) to breastfeed your boob before giving them solids as breastmilk/formula is their main source of nutrients until they are around 12 mths.

Richelle - posted on 11/07/2010

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yep definitely 6 months! i knew mothers who were feeding their 4 month olds lying down!!! because they were following a book that told them to start different foods at 4 months and introduce a new one each week! but one of the children wasn't even sitting unsupported and holding her head so that is why she had taken to feeding her while she was lying down talk about dangerous! but each to their own!! i'm of the thinking now after having a baby who i knew had reflux and was told no no it could be his sister gave him a cold.. well that's unlikely she's not sick! or no no he's just unsettled he'll grow out of it.. anyways the point is sometimes 'mother knows best' you should listen to your own instincts and always get a second opinion!! if you know it's not right.

[deleted account]

World Health Organisation (WHO) code indicates exclusive breastfeeding (no solids at all!) for the first six months. Doctors don't learn a real lot about nutrition in their training so aren't the best to advise about this. My youngest, of 5, is 5 months old and was 9 and a 1/2 weeks premature. I will wait until 8 months to start her on solids as she'll really only be 6 months.
Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) is a wonderful thing to try also. I did the puree thing for my first 3 so was shocked when I heard about this and wondered if they'd choke etc However, I read the book and watched the DVD by Gill Rapley and it answered all my questions. I mostly did BLW with my 19mth old and it was awesome. Will do it with my current, premature baby, also.
Some people start early and it goes well for them. I personally wouldn't as it can cause all sorts of problems with allergies etc Their digestion system is just not fully able to cope with solids before 6 months.

Ruth - posted on 11/07/2010

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one other thing that I was told when we started my little one on solids is that they dont absorb the food in the first 6 months its just getting them used to taste and texture and i dont personally recomend rice cereal, have you ever tried that stuff? its like eating wet cardboard, why feed that to your child when your trying to get them used to tastes and textures? goodluck

[deleted account]

4 months is what the baby food companies want and the Drs. will advise. Your doctor is right- anytime after 4 months within the first year is good. I exclusively BFed my 2nd DS until he was at least 6 months. You can BF exclusively until one year. The best resources are La Leche League.

Jessica - posted on 11/06/2010

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The research (that I am aware of) says that there is no benefit to starting solids before 6 months (on average over a large group - some few babies might need it earlier). People go on a bit about iron, but the iron in fortified cereal is not easily digested, whereas the iron in breastmilk is almost completely digested. I wouldn't worry about it unless your baby is actually showing signs of iron deficiency.

It is really difficult to tell what is the right thing to do when so many nurses (and doctors!) are so badly educated about infant feeding and are used to the old 'force feed cereal at 3 months' idea... maybe try asking the nurse if she can show you any recent research showing that your baby will be better off on solids!

Definitely don't try solids if baby still has a tongue thrust reflex (pushes food out of mouth). And I wouldn't if they can't sit by themselves either. After that, you can make up your own mind :) but do check out baby-led solids, the research is not there yet but it makes so much sense that I reckon in a few years they will be advising all parents to do this instead of spoon-feeding.

Also, breastfeeding should always come before solids as this is their primary source of nutrition until they are at least 1.

Jordan - posted on 11/06/2010

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Recommendations are 4-6 months, but most recommend 6 months at earliest. I started my daughter on rice at 3 months, but most babie are not ready until way after 6 months. I would go of what your baby needs and what you feel is best. There are lots of ideas and beliefs. I would do a little research online and make your decision. Hope this helps!

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