Baby-led weaning, which avoids pureed solids in favor of foods served in thick, long pieces that younger babies can hold in their fists and gnaw on (whether or not they have teeth yet), is the method that some parents choose to use.

When do infants begin to consume solid foods?

Between the ages of 4 and 6 months, most infants are ready to begin solid food[1], though many experts advise waiting until closer to 6 months. When it’s time for your child to transition to a diet with more variety, consider her development.

Even though you might be eager to join the feeding bandwagon as soon as possible, there are a number of reasons why starting a baby on solids too soon is not a good idea.[2] First, a very young baby’s digestive system is not yet ready for development. Because they lack some essential enzymes that aid in the breakdown of food, young babies frequently reject any foreign substances that are placed in their mouths on their own accord.

In addition, infants can meet all of their nutritional requirements for the first six months of life with breast milk, formula, or a combination of the two, so solids are not necessary early on.

Your baby may initially turn her nose up at those spoonfuls because she isn’t ready, and then turn her nose up again later due to previous parental pushing. Introducing solids too early can also undermine future eating habits. In addition, infants who are fed formula may develop obesity if solids are introduced too soon.
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Baby eating solids in a high chair, the best feeding schedule for a newborn, and the Baby Feeding Schedule and Food Chart for the First Year On the other hand, delaying the introduction of solid food for an excessive amount of time—at least until the infant is nine months old—can result in a number of potential problems. An older baby might prefer to stick to breastfeeding or bottle-feeding (which are easier and more familiar ways to eat) rather than try the difficult, new skills of chewing and swallowing solids. And similar to habits, tastes may be more difficult to alter at this point. When milky liquids have dominated the menu, an older baby may not be as open to solids as a more adaptable younger baby.

If you want to try baby-led weaning, you should wait until your baby is about six months old to start solids. At that age, your baby will be able to hold and chew the foods you will be giving her. Keep in mind that she won’t be able to transition to finger foods that require a pincer grasp until a few months later, typically around month 8.

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