Breast milk is all your baby will need until at
least 4 months of age. There does come a time,
when breast milk will no longer supply all of your
baby's nutrition needs. Full term babies will
start to require iron from other sources by 6 - 9
months of age.
Some babies that aren't started on solid foods by
the age of 9 - 12 months may have a great level of
difficulty accepting solid foods. It's actually
a developmental milestone when your child starts
solid foods - as he is now growing up.
When to start
The ideal time to begin solid foods is when the
baby shows interest in starting. Some babies
will show interest in solid food when it's on
their parents' plates, as early as 4 months of
age. By 5 - 6 months, most babies will reach out
and try to grab the food. When the baby starts to
reach for food, it's normally the time to go
ahead and give him some.
Sometimes, it may be a better idea to start food
earlier. When a baby seems to get hungry or once
weight gain isn't continuing at the desired rate,
it may be good to start solid foods as early as
3 months. It may be possible however, to continue
breast feeding alone and have the baby less
hungry or growing more rapidly.
Breast fed babies will digest solid foods better
and earlier than artificially fed babies because
the breast milk will contain enzymes which help
to digest fats, proteins, and starch. Breast
fed babies will also have had a variety of
different tastes in their life, since the flavors
of many foods the mother eats will pass into her
Introducing solid foods
When the baby begins to take solid foods at the
age of 5 - 6 months, there is very little difference
what he starts will or what order it is introduced.
You should however, avoid spicy foods or highly
allergenic foods at first, although if your
baby reaches for the potato on your plate, you
should let him have it if it isn't too hot.
Offer your baby the foods that he seems to be
interested in. Allow your baby to enjoy the food
and don't worry too much about how much he takes
at first, as much of it may end up on the floor
or in his hair anyhow.
The easiest way to get iron for your baby at 5 -
6 months of age is by giving him meat. Cereal for
infants has iron, although it is poorly absorbed
and may cause your baby to get constipated.