Starting Solid Foods with Your Infant

One of the most common question I get from new moms is “when should I start my baby on solid foods?”  The short answer is, “it depends.”

Health Canada now recommends moms breast feed their children for 6 months prior to starting solids foods.  This is a change from the 4 months recommendation years back.  However, you may still hear that advice from your friends, family, and even doctors.

Breast milk being the most ideal food for a developing child, there is no rush into introducing solids.  It provides antibody for your baby’s immune system to fight off those childhood ailments (this is especially helpful if you have an older child who goes to daycare).  The latest study show breast fed children have more advanced cognitive development (by as much as 6 months) than non-breast fed children.  Breast milk encourages healthy gut development and healthy gut bacteria flora in newborns and prepares the digestive tract for food introduction.  Children who are still breast fed when gluten and other allergenic solid foods are introduced have less likelihood of developing allergies.  Therefore, continued breast feeding until the majority of solid foods have been introduced would be beneficial for your baby.

Most experts suggest following your child’s cues when it comes to timing.  Is your child able to sit up on his own yet?  Eating puree lying down or being propped up is just asking for trouble.  Does your baby show interest in what you are eating, or is she content with milk?  There is no need to rush her.  Breast milk provides adequate nutrition for babes.  When you place a small spoon of food to his lips, does he keep it in his mouth or does he thrust it right out?  If your baby sticks his tongue out, most likely he has not lost his nursing reflexes, just wait.  Has she started to teeth yet?  Teething is one of the signs that the newborn body is ready for some solids.

We will get into the details of food introduction, such as which food to try and how to prepare it, next week.

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