As your baby nears about six months old, another milestone is approaching. Soon you’ll be feeding baby solid (well, mushy and pureed) food. All babies are different, so yours may start taking foods other than breast milk sooner or later, but six months is about the average. Whether they can handle solid foods depends on their digestive track’s development and their mental readiness.
Most professionals say to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months. Breastfeeding has tons of benefits. It will make baby’s immune system stronger and help them avoid allergies, so keep that stuff flowing. You don’t have to start weaning as soon as your baby has swallowed his first solid food. Let the transition happen naturally.
Then, introduce cereal and purees first, and spread out new introductions every couple days so you can monitor for an allergic reaction, especially if other people in your family have sensitivities. Here are five signs you can look for that signal your baby is ready for solid foods.
1. He has a cooperative tongue.
Infants have a “tongue-thrust” reflex that causes them to push outward with their tongue when something invades their mouth. This natural reflex is used to prevent them from swallowing something hazardous. Once they’ve learned to control their tongue and stop from spitting their food out, you can offer solids.
2. He’s interested.
Nothing beats enthusiasm! If your baby shows interest in the foods you are eating, he’s probably willing to eat it himself. There’s no point is trying to convince your six-month old to eat solid foods if he’s content with the breast. Breast milk is wonderfully healthy and supportive. Wait until he’s ready. As long as he’s gaining weight, he’s just fine.
3. He holds himself upright.
It’s important for digestion that your baby is able to properly hold their head and torso upright. It’s also a sign that his development is advancing. It’s alright to support him, but he should have some balance.
4. He makes chewing motions.
If he’s making chewing motions without food in his mouth, chances are he understands how to manipulate it once it’s inside. Likely he learned this from imitating his family. Give him a couple small spoonfuls and let him practice swallowing. Around the same time you’ll see him grabbing food off your plate. He wants to be like you.
5. He’s developing his “pincer” grip.
The pincer grip is when your baby starts picking up objects using his finger and thumb. Using his fingers (without his thumb) or palming food in his hand do not count. The use of the thumb-finger combination is a sign of mental development. It’s not necessary that your baby start feeding himself, but the readiness for solid foods happen about the same time as the pincer grip, so it’s a good marker.
Written by Stephanie Parker from Sleepingbaby.com, inventors of the Zipadee-Zip
The motto for Sleeping Baby, makers of the Zipadee-Zip, is: "Inspiring Dreams One Night at A time," and that, in a nutshell, is how it all started…with one little dream that has since become the Parker family's reality. When Brett and Stephanie Parker's daughter, Charlotte, was born, the feeling that welled up inside of them was indescribable; they never realized until first looking into those baby blues of hers that they were even capable of that kind of love.
When it was time to transition baby from swaddling, the Parkers tried every sleep sack on the market and every swaddle weaning trick they could find for nearly two weeks and nothing worked to get baby Charlotte to fall and stay asleep.
Stephanie became determined to restore sleep and sanity to their household and set out to find a solution that would soothe Charlotte's startle reflex and provide her the cozy womb-like environment she loved so much but still give her the freedom to roll over and wiggle around in her crib safely. Out of sheer desperation and exhaustion, the Zipadee-Zip was born. The first Zipadee-Zip(R) Stephanie put together on her little sewing machine worked like magic!
To date tens of thousands of Zipadee-Zips have been sold and all from word-of-mouth marketing. It is so rewarding for the Parkers to see other parents and babies getting the sleep they both need and deserve!
For more information, visit sleepingbaby.com.
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