Experts Say – Starting on solids

Category: Newborns

Dr Varsha Atul Shah, Senior Consultant, Department of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, SGH, answers your health related questions

My baby is about five months old and she doesn’t seem to be much of a milk drinker. I’m considering starting her on solids soon but I have no idea where to start. And how do I know if my baby is ready?

The American Academy of Paediatric (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months and weaning can be started after six months. If baby is on formula feeding or mixed feeding, weaning can be considered at four to six months of age.

Experts generally agree that from six months on, a baby would need something more substantial than just milk. However, infants who exhibit poor growth or iron deficiency anaemia may be weaned earlier, between four to six months, as advised by their doctor or dietician. Weaning too early, e.g. at two to three months, could result in digestive disorders and there is also a higher risk of setting off a food allergy. On the other hand, if the baby is weaned too late, he may not get adequate nutrition and this may lead to growth retardation.

Developmental signs of readiness for weaning foods are:
Baby can hold his head up or sit in a high chair
- Has lost his tongue thrust or extrusion reflex and opens his mouth when food is presented
- Baby dribbles and there is an increased frequency of him putting things into his mouth
- Tries to grab little pieces of food from his plate and makes chewing and swallowing motions
- Baby cries for feeds before usual time, which is a sign of hunger
- When baby shows interest in food you are eating and stares at it
- Doubling of birth weight

This usually occurs around four to six months old.

Thanks for sharing!