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  Solids – best age to start
My three month old baby is just hungry all the time, and I am exhausted trying to breastfeed her. Could this be a sign that she is ready for solids?

Your baby is probably experiencing a growth spurt. So when this happens it is not unusual for the milk supply of the mother to lag behind the demand. Which is very tough on the mother. However it is unwise to start your baby on solids at this young age, unless your doctor specifically recommends it. Try to take some extra rest, eat well and drink plenty of water, and your milk supply should be adequate to the demand pretty soon.

Generally the current medical thinking is that around six months is the optimum age to start introducing solids. Earlier than this, and the baby’s digestive system may be immature and struggle to digest the food. There is also an increased risk that a very small baby will have an allergic reaction to a food. Up to the age of six months, either breastmilk or formula milk should be nutritionally sufficient. It does happen that babies, who reject solids at a very early age, then remember the adverse experience and are still reluctant to accept solids at a later date. However, many babies who start solids after around four months cope very well. If your milk supply continues to lag behind the demand, it may be worth a visit to your doctor or health care worker, to see if starting on solids earlier is a good idea.

However, waiting too long can also be problematic. Older babies may be a little set in their ways, and be less amenable to learning to adapt to the strange tastes and textures of food than a six month old baby. For this reason, it is wise to keep an eye out that your baby fulfils the criteria needed for feeding, and then don’t delay too long in letting baby experience the joys of solids.

See also:

Solids - Amount

Solids - Avoid in first year

Solids - Baby trying to take charge

Solids - Changing her mind about a food

Solids - Feeding chair

Solids - First foods

Solids - Getting started

Solids - Keeping clean

Solids - Is baby ready?

Solids - Rice Cereal

Solids - Salt content of food

Solids - Using a bottle for solids

Solids - Very short feeds

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