Starting Solids and Signs of Readiness
Most pediatricians will tell parents to start their babies on solids somewhere between 4-6 months. As a doctor, I encourage patients to lean more towards 6 months to start any solid other than rice cereal.
You can start rice cereal if:
1. Baby is able to sit up with support to reduce the chance of choking
2. Baby is hungry after 32 oz. of formula or 6 full breast feedings
3. Baby has been sleeping through the night for at least 2 weeks and then suddenly starts waking from hunger or starts waking early from naps and is hungry.
4. Baby show interest in your food
5. Baby has doubled his/her birth weight or weighs around 15 lbs.
I had to start Zara on rice cereal at 4.5 months even though I was hoping to wait until 6 months because she had all the signs. Since it wasn’t my goal to start other foods for another month and a half, I decided to use a technique involving spiking the bottle because I wanted to wait on spoon and eating skills. For about a month and a half I gave her 5 oz. of breast milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of rice cereal in the bottle right before bed. You may have to do this two times a day if your baby needs the extra nutrition and calories. Try this for the first time at lunch so you can see if your baby has any skin or digestive reaction. If baby reacts you can try oat or barley but you may want to wait until baby is closer to a year old. If your baby has already cut a tooth and you give solids right before bed, remember to take a wet washcloth and wipe the tooth to prevent decay and gum disease. Zara still hasn’t cut any teeth so it’s not an issue yet but it will be eventually.