Ready To Start Solids?
The first few months of your baby’s life have been all about learning to use their body. You may have noticed that from about four months of age they become increasingly active and interested in the world around them. At this age, many parents start to think about introducing solids to their baby’s diet. Up to this point it should have consisted exclusively of breast milk or formula. As each child develops at their own pace, there is no exact age at which you need to start feeding your baby solid foods. But there are a few key signs to look out for to ascertain whether your little one is ready to start on their food adventure.
• Shows Interest in Others Eating
Eyeing off your dinner or watching you move the food from your plate to your mouth is a good indicator that your little one may be interested in trying solids soon. They may mimic your movements and even open their mouth when offered a spoonful of food.
• Can Sit Unassisted
This doesn’t necessarily mean that your baby needs to be able to get themselves into a seated position. It just means they can hold themselves up when placed in (and securely strapped into) a high chair or other suitable baby feeding seat. Your baby must be able to hold their head up and keep it steady for an extended period before solid food can safely be offered.
• Has Lost the Tongue Thrust Reflex
Also known as the ‘extrusion reflex’. Your baby’s instinct to push solid objects out of their mouth will give way to the swallowing reflex as their mouth and tongue develop in sync with their digestive system.
• At Least Six Months of Age and Double their Birth Weight.
In most countries, the guidelines for the optimum age to start a baby on solid food generally state that you should consult your pediatrician if you are considering offering solids anytime before six months. At this age, your baby’s immune system has matured significantly and the nutrients they can take from breast-milk or formula, as well as those stored in their body since birth, start to diminish slightly. If you choose to begin offering solids before six months, it is recommended that you wait until your baby is at least 17 weeks old. Seek professional medical guidance as there are certain foods that must be avoided at this age. If your baby was born prematurely or you have a family history of allergies or food intolerances, it is a good idea to consult with you pediatrician before introducing solids, even after six months of age.
Remember not to put too much pressure on yourself or your baby to make sure they eat a certain amount at mealtimes. You have months to get them used to eating solid foods. Continue to offer milk or formula as needed and let your baby listen to their body and lead the way. A positive attitude towards food and eating now will set them up to enjoy a healthy appetite and a good relationship with food throughout their life.
A Note From The Raise Vegan Staff
Don’t forget to check out the Facebook Group Vegan Eats For Smaller Feet, for some great ideas on easy peasy meal ideas for that amazing plant based family! If you’re looking for other like minded parents, we have the main group, Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting, over thirty thousand parents, all Raising Vegan! From homeschooling, to food and everything in between. We have you covered for every over asked question that may come your way.
Raising children vegan is sometime wrought with worries about nutrition, and doubts from outside influences. You are doing an amazing thing for your kids, the planet, and most importantly, the animals. We thank you, we are grateful to you, and we admire you! Keep on rocking vegan parents, we are changing the world together!
Tags: baby led weaning, baby weaning, infant weaning, parenting advice, parenting support, starting solids, weaning, weaning a baby, weaning babies, weaning vegan babies