When to start feeding babies solid food

Many parents have questions about when to first feed their baby solids.

Many parents have questions about when to first feed their baby solids.

Some questions include, “Can I feed my child solids at four months or would it be OK to start them even earlier? Why should I wait to feed them solids until six months?” With all these questions, a lot of anxiety and insecurities can be created.

Health Canada suggests it is best to start solids at six months of age; doing so sooner may affect a baby’s intestinal development.

Your baby’s intestines need to be mature enough to handle new food.

The intestines are the body’s filtering system, screening out potentially harmful substances and letting in healthy nutrients. In early months, this filtering system is immature.

Between five to seven months of age, a baby’s intestinal lining goes through a developmental growth spurt and becomes more selective of what it allows through to prevent potentially allergenic foods from entering the bloodstream.

A baby’s swallowing mechanism is also immature before the age of six months. The tongue and swallowing mechanisms may not be ready to work together for solids.

Many parents believe their child is ready to eat solids because he is showing signs of “wanting to eat.”

He may be watching you and open his mouth when he sees you lift up the spoon, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is ready for food. It may simply mean he is interested and learning as he gets closer to the age when his body is ready for solids.

When starting solids around the six-month mark, it is important to remember to include iron-fortified foods.

Your baby needs iron for healthy blood and for developing brain cells. Without enough iron, babies become tired, irritable and are more prone to infection. Your baby is born with a natural supply of iron that begins to deplete at around six months of age, making that the perfect time to begin solids. Iron-enriched cereals are an ideal first food. As your baby grows, make sure that you include iron-rich foods every day.

The feeding relationship with your child should be one that is enjoyed both by your child and you. It can be a time of bonding and a time to teach your child the important values of family time and nutrition.

When you are beginning to feed your baby solids, it is important to keep in mind that your child is not used to foods and may not enjoy some of the foods he tries.

Keep trying; a baby may have to try a food several different times before he or she decides it’s good to eat.

Be consistent and enjoy this fun exciting new time of exposing your baby to a world of different food choices.

You can find a lots more information on healthy eating on the Alberta Health and Wellness website, www.healthyalberta.com. There is a booklet available called Feeding Baby Solid Foods from 6-12 months.

Positive Parenting appears every week in LIFE. This week’s column was written by Erin Visser, a Healthy Families Home Visitor with Family Services of Central Alberta. Visser can be reached by calling 403-343-6400 or www.fsca.ca.

Just Posted

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Photos: Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

Clearwater regional firefighters in B.C.

Crew operating west of Prince George

PHOTOS: Samson Cree Nation Pow Wow

The Samson Cree Nation hosted its annual Pow Wow, celebrating youth last weekend

WATCH: Feasting at Red Deer Ribfest this weekend

Ribfest runs until Sunday at Rotary Recreation Park

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

OTTAWA — Canadians are generally supportive of current immigration levels, a survey… Continue reading

Quebec announces plan to compensate taxi drivers after Uber’s arrival

MONTREAL — The Quebec government has outlined how it intends to compensate… Continue reading

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

OTTAWA — The loss of Saudi Arabian resident physicians in Canada’s hospitals… Continue reading

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Death Valley worker has seen highest, lowest temperatures

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of tourists descend on Death Valley each summer… Continue reading

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

BANFF, Alta. — An internationally known ski resort in Banff National Park… Continue reading

Folk singer Ian Tyson cancels show due to ‘serious medical situation’

TORONTO — Canadian folk singer-songwriter Ian Tyson has cancelled his appearance at… Continue reading

Judge lifts publication ban, revealing details about Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Newly released documents reveal how last week’s deadly attack unfolded… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month