7 Myths About How To Know If Your Baby is Ready for Solids
Updated: Sep 7
There are many signs to watch for that your baby is ready to start solids. And you can read about them in this previous post - 5 True Signs That Your Baby Is Ready For Solids. But there are also many myths and outdated information regarding how to tell if a baby is ready for solids that can confuse some parents. Let’s debunk some of those myths and make things clear about what to watch for to see if your baby is ready to start solids.
DISCLAIMER: Each child has their own development timeline and specific needs. The content below is general information and for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional one-on-one advice. You are responsible for supervising your child’s health and for evaluating the appropriateness of the information below for your child. Please consult your healthcare provider regarding support or advice for your child's well being and health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
Myth #1: Waking at night
Babies wake at night for all sorts of reasons, and there is no evidence that giving them solid food solves the problem. If they are genuinely hungry, babies under six months need to be offered more breast milk (or formula, if they are formula-fed), not solids.
Myth #2: Baby’s weight has reached a “magic” number
Many parents hear that if a baby has doubled their birth weight, or if they weigh more than 14 pounds (6.4 kg), it’s time to start solid foods. But, just because your baby achieves “x” number of pounds, or has doubled birth weight, (or however much your baby weighs) does not mean that they are automatically ready for solids – particularly if your baby is under 6 months. It’s the maturity of the digestive tract and baby’s developmental readiness that makes the difference, not baby’s weight.
>>Download the FREE Quick-Start Guide to Solids to learn WHEN, HOW, and WHAT to feed your baby when starting solids.
Myth #3: Weight gain slows slightly
Research has shown this is something that normally happens at around four months, especially in breastfed babies. It’s not a sign that they need solid food. The breastfed babies are still gaining weight, but not as quickly as they were in those early months. The rate slows even more during the second half of the first year as babies become more active. Formula-fed babies tend to gain weight at a more consistent rate throughout the year. There is some slowing, but not as much as for breastfed babies.
Until recently, the growth charts used by most North American doctors were based primarily on formula-fed babies. The World Health Organization (WHO) came to the rescue by doing a large study with groups of babies from several countries around the world. Their study included only breastfed babies who started solid foods at the recommended 6 months. The new curves on the graph flattened out by around 4 months and had a lower average weight at 1 year. This growth pattern is linked to better overall health and lower rates of excess weight and obesity later in life.
If your baby is breastfeeding and your doctor suggests that she might need solid foods to “get her back on the curve,” you can ask whether the WHO growth charts are being used. If not, ask your doctor to use them instead to get a better assessment.
Myth #4: Small baby
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