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When Should You Start Puree Solids With Your Child?

Disclaimer: Every child is different and this information is a broad generalization.

How do you know if your child is ready to start puree solids? What usually happens is you go in for your 4 month well child check up and the doctor measures, weighs and assesses your child and then mentions starting puree solids and then leaves the room. They don’t have a lot of time to do very much education about starting purée solids. Here is a list of list of things to be aware of:

1. Children usually start puree solids between 4-6 months old. Why? Because this is typically when an infants cervical spine has started to form a curve and the child is able to steadily hold up their head up and be considered a “supported sitter.” They NEED this head, neck, and core stability to have an adequate oral and pharyngeal motor pattern for swallowing solids.

2. Why start with baby cereals mixed with breastmilk or formula? One reason is from a GI standpoint you want to gradually introduce simple and digestable foods so kiddos don’t start to have constipation or other digestion issues. 2. The swallow is DIFFERENT for when they are sucking from breast/bottle than when they eating from a spoon. You want to limit the variability whenever you are starting a new feeding modality so the child is not overwhelmed. We want them to enjoy this exciting transition to solid foods!

3. Your child will SPIT OUT the puree solids. Not because they don’t like it, but because they are learning a whole new swallowing pattern. They are used to doing a pattern of suck-swallow-breath when drinking milk but now all of a sudden they have to figure out how to close their mouth, keep the food in their mouth and swallow at the same time. Their little brains have a lot to keep up with!

4. Start out giving them a very small and thin amount by pediatric spoon to limit risk for choking. As they get the hang of things, you can gradually give them larger and thicker amounts.

5. Once they are passed the baby cereal stage, make sure to give them a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, meats and grains so they are used to these flavors.

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