Is Your Baby Ready to Eat Solid Food Yet?
How do you know when it's time to start your baby on solid foods?
That answer varies widely depending on what part of the world you live in, who you're talking to and even what your family history or ethnic makeup is.
Starting solid food too early can increase the risk of overweight or obesity in childhood. But starting too late can reduce the variety of foods that a child will accept later in life.
When I was a Reproductive Health Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal, I loved getting invited to my village babies' rice feeding ceremonies. The rice feeding ceremony is called "pasni" and it commemorates the baby's first time to be fed rice, the major staple food of Nepalese cuisine.
One unique thing about the Nepalese introduction of solids is that it is determined by gender. Girls are first fed at 5 months of age, whereas boys are fed at 6 months.
But let's say you don't have a culturally ingrained celebration guiding your baby to the solid foods start line. In that case, you might be interested in learning a little bit more about readiness to feed.
I've put together a quick checklist that will help you determine whether or not your baby is ready to start solid foods. If and when he or she meets the majority of these milestones, you're cleared for takeoff!
This checklist is intended for healthy babies. Babies who were born prematurely or who have developmental disabilities or delays may need an adjusted timeline to start solid foods.
Our quadruplets were born 6 weeks premature, so I waited until they were 6 months and 6 weeks (i.e., 6 months adjusted age) to start them with their first finger foods.
It's always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider if you're still unsure about whether or not your baby is ready to begin solid food.
Already ready to start that baby on solid foods? Click here our 10 favorite finger foods for baby led weaning.
And if you want some more tips on a successful start to baby led weaning, this video will give you the confidence to get crackin'!