Is Your Baby Ready For Solids?
It is confusing when you hear contradicting advice from well-meaning people about when to feed solids, but here is what experts in World Health Organization say: readiness depends on two things-- maturity of the digestive tract and developmental readiness
Maturity of the Digestive Tract
Newborn babies have open gut which means that there are spaces between the cells of the digestive tract that allows large molecules to pass directly into the bloodstream. This is great for breastfeeding babies.When exclusively breastfed, babies receive immunities because breastmilk facilitates the development of good bacteria that protects the gut, decreases allergic reactions, risk of respiratory tract infections, ear infections, celiac disease, and gastrointestinal infection. Introducing solids earlier than six months would disrupt the benefits of breastfeeding.
Even if you are not exclusively breastfeeding, delaying solids until your baby is at least six months will give the baby’s digestive system time to mature. Mature or closed guts reduce unpleasant reactions such as upset stomach, gas or constipation in babies. Absorption of nutrients, digestion of fats, proteins and complex carbohydrates are also easier for mature guts. With immature or open guts, disease-causing pathogens in food could pass more directly into the baby’s bloodstream—a risk one should not be taking.
Experts, therefore, recommend to feed solids after the first six months. There’s no need to rush their bodies. After all, they have their whole lifetime to eat! From 6to 8 months, your baby would be more physiologically ready to eat.
You’ve waited 6 months! Is it time to feed them solids now? Not just yet! You have to check your baby for signs of physical ability.
Does your baby sit up well without support?
This is a key indicator of readiness! Why? Your baby needs to be able to hold his head up and sit without slumping over while eating.
Has your baby lost the tongue-thrust reflex?
Tongue-thrust is an involuntary movement that causes the tongue to come forward when some thing goes in the mouth. It’s a basic survival skill for babies! When tongue thrust is gone, it means the baby can now practice actively using the tongue to move food around the mouth.
Has your baby developed a pincer grasp?
At first, your baby will palm objects, involving the whole hand, in order to pick up things. Later on, your baby will learn how to pick up things with just the thumb and forefinger. Once mastered, your child will be able to pick up food (hopefully, mostly food!) with his/her fingers and put it in his/her mouth.
Is your baby eager to participate during meal time?
Check if your baby is interested in eating or imitating family members during mealtime. Grabbing your pandesal breakfast is a sure sign that your baby is curious about eating!
Lastly, are you ready?
Introducing solids requires a ton of patience—it will get messy and some times a bit frustrating specially when your baby would not even taste what you’ve carefully prepared.Remain calm and try again another time.
Let your baby sit with you during meal times to gauge whether your little one is ready. Give them spoons or bowls to play with. From 6-12 months, babies still get their sustenance from milk so just give your little bub time. It is not about getting them to eat the food, but more about getting them to explore, experiment, and experience eating.
Remember that eating is an enjoyable activity so relax and have fun!