Feeding Baby: 8 Eating Milestones
There are many baby development milestones when it comes to eating solid foods. Here are some of the big ones.
Baby Milestone 1: When They Can Start Solids
Most pediatricians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend introducing solid foods to babies at between 4 and 6 months of age. That’s when they start to lose the “tongue-thrust reflex” or extrusion reflex, which is important for sucking the breast or bottle but interferes with feeding.
If your baby is around this age, can sit up well with support, and shows interest in the foods he sees you eating, it’s probably a good time to make your first forays into feeding baby solid food. If your baby is exclusively breastfed, it is recommended that you wait until 6 months of age to start solids.
Baby Milestone 2: When They’re Ready to Move From Puree to Chunks
“Chunking up” babies’ food is a process -- obviously, they shouldn’t go straight from rice cereal to raisin bran. But after the first few weeks of adjusting to eating rather than just drinking his food, your baby should be ready to handle a little more texture in solid foods.
Introduce new textures slowly. Good starters are mashed bananas or mashed avocados. You can also use the “staged” store-bought baby foods -- going from the smooth puree of stage 1 to the slightly thicker stage 2 and then the chunkier stage 3 by around 9 months of age. (Babies don’t necessarily have to have a lot of teeth to handle more texture in their foods -- they can often gum soft foods very well!)
Baby Milestone 3: When They Can Sit in a High Chair
If babies are ready to eat solid foods -- in other words, they can sit upright with support and hold up their head and neck -- they’re ready to sit in a high chair. This is usually around 4 months of age. The chair straps and the tray offer support, and can help him stay in position. Always buckle baby in to his chair, even if he is unable to get out with the tray in place. As he gets older and becomes more active, he may be able to squirm out. Plus, it is good to get in the habit of buckling him in as soon as you start using one.