Posted by: Kippie | 2004/11/08


Right age for solids

I am new to this site and had a browse through the questions and answers. I see there is a strong views by some of the members on when a child should eat solids, and I want to know the following.

My son was big at birth - 4.93 kg and was started on Nan1. At 9 weeks he was drinking Nan 2 as per the advice of the peaditrician as he did not sleep through anymore, wanted feeds more regularly.
At 11 weeks we started him on cereal in the morning and at 13 weeks introduced purity in the evenings and he is now 5 months, having 3 meals a day.
All of the above was okayed by the paeditrician.
I know the general rule these days are to wait to at least 16 weeks before they start solids - what effect will this have on my son.

Secondly, I have 2 daughters ages 15, 12 which started solids at 12 weeks, and they have no allergies or any other problems whatsoever, so I believe each case must be treated at its own merits.

Expert's Reply



These "rules" are not fixed at all, and it is customary in many other cultures to start solids earlier or later. From experience and scientific deduction we think that about 4 months is the best time, but there is no harm done if it was instituted with success at an earlier date.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

user comments


Posted by: Nicki | 2004/11/16

Hi Kippie

Try to give your son something to hold in his and to eat then you try to give him coaser foods, try Rice or Macaroni but boil it very soft
Hope it helps you

Reply to Nicki
Posted by: Kippie | 2004/11/09

Thanks for all your replies - really learnt alot eventhough this is my 3rd baby!!

How do you get them to eat purity stage 3 or coarser food for that matter. My 5month old gagged himself when I gave him coarser food and is back eating purity 2 just for the sake of getting him fed. As I said he was big at birth and already eats a entire jar of purity 2. He is also nuts over sweet patatoe and butternut but don't like mixed vegies or beef and vegies. HELP!

Reply to Kippie
Posted by: Purple | 2004/11/09


CN, yes, I think that Nuffing is right and its not starting with purity that makes a difference.

Thanks Nuffing, I'm trying hard with the b/f and really loving it. I saw a lactation consultant for an appointment while pregnant, and then when my baby was born, and that at weekly support group meetings, and that made a huge difference. It was also good to be able to get information from a qualified professional expert in human breast feeding, who had breast fed 4 children herself, and could dispel all the old wives tales.

My baby is now 9 months old, and he eats rusks, dried fruit, cucumber, rice cakes, bread with marmite and boudiour biscuits without a problem.

People are shocked when they see how well he eats. I keep his food healthy (apart from the odd bodiour biscuit), and he gets the purity when its convenient (as I work full day).

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Nuffing | 2004/11/09

Hi CN,

I think the difference may be that purple and I didn't srat with purity, so the homemade food was all they knew... a friend of mine's baby couldn't eat anything other than purity (and not even stage 3 purity) until well over one year old. Anything with texture literally got her to gag and vomit!

My children managed to eat whole marie biscuits virtually unassisted at 6 months old. People couldn't belve how the child would hold and devour a marie in under a minute!

Another friend held my younger son one day at dinner at around 12 months and commented that he just kept eating... she was feeding him off her plate. I had to tel her to stop as he literally would just carry on eating. He would only stop when you stopped feeding him.

Ironically he now noramlly only eats about half the food on his plate and always leave some over.

Reply to Nuffing
Posted by: CN | 2004/11/09

Sounds like you are lucky that your babies eat well. My baby refuses to eat homemade pureed foods and will only Purity jars. Even when I mix the 2 together she will not eat. It doesn't matter how smooth I make the food, she just knows the difference.

Reply to CN
Posted by: Nuffing | 2004/11/09

Sounds like you are doing a brilliant job purple, well done.

Especially for persevering with bf, even though you battle with the supply :)

Reply to Nuffing
Posted by: Purple | 2004/11/09

I also started adding meat at 8 months. I steamed skinless, boneless chicken breasts and then "minced" them in the blender and added to veggies as you did. I also cooked normal lean beef mince and mixed with veg. I've fed him fish flakes off my plate, but haven't given him a fish meal yet, am planning to this week though.

We've had no problems with him not accepting texture either. I also belileve its because his food has been pretty textured from the start. I've never liquidized anything. I used a hand masher on steamed apple and pear, butternut and sweet potato. I didn't feed him normal potato, as when I was a child (right up until a teenager in fact), it always made me gag. I didn't know it didn't freeze nicely, so perhaps its just as well.

My baby also loves his foods, and just adores meal times. As soon as he turns his head away I know he's had enough and I stop feeding. I'm giving his meals and snacks at set times (within 5 or 10 minutes either way) to introduce a normal routine/structure to his day, but his breast feeds are still on demand. (I leave bottles for him with his nanny during the day), I express milk twice a day at work, sometimes at lunch time as well if I have a chance. As I've had a breast reduction, I don't produce enough milk for his needs, so his nanny gives him formula bottles. I use my expressed milk for "top ups" in the morning and evening.

I am hoping to breast feed for a year as well. With having had a breast reduction, milk supply is always a problem for me, and I have to express like mad to keep it up. My baby has two full breast milk feeds and two formula feeds a day, and then I let him suckle at night wakings as well, as it is such a lovely feeling getting him off to sleep again like that, and I miss him so much during the day, that I special time breast feeding is such a joy.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Nuffing | 2004/11/08

I forgot to mention that the food I used expanded listed in order given.

*Rice Cereal (used 1 small box and then didn't bother again, because he didn't need any bulking out)
*Butternut - a staple for at least his first year
*Sweet Potato
*Potato - but this doesn't freeze as nicely
*Stewed prunes (occasionally)
After 8 months I added flakes of fish and chicken into a vegetable mix.

Both of my children ate like champs and many other mm's were envious of the gusto with which they ate, in fact if anything I had to slow meal times down, as they gobbled their food so well.

I kept purity to a bare minimum and only used it if we were going to be out, and even then I started using the bottles to carry my own food out in too.

I think the fact that they got used to texture from the start helped a lot.

I also breastfed each for a full year.

Reply to Nuffing
Posted by: Purple | 2004/11/08

Hi Nuffing,

Yes, I also followed my babies signs, he was ready at about 5 and a half months. His tongue thrust reflex was also gone by then. I feel that's the most important signal, as its a protective mechanism to stop foreign things being put into baby's mouth, so if its still there, baby shouldn't be having anything but milk.

The lactation consultant I saw said that the average baby will be ready at 6 months, some a little earlier and some a little later, but that a general guideline of 6 months of age is when most babies reach the developmental milestones that indicate that they are ready for solids.

Nice to "meet" another mom who went a similar route to me.

I also make my own food and freeze it in ice trays. My baby now eats about 6 cubes per meal. I work, so I tend to only make food for his evening meal. He gets yoghurt or jungle oats for breakfast, and purity fruit for lunch. He gets a variety of finger foods as snacks.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Nuffing | 2004/11/08

I too belived in not feeding solids until 6 months and fully inteded to wait that long, and I still belive that's the age to wait until for most babies.

However my child was born 2 weeks over due and weighed 4.5kgs. He grew and advanced quickly and by 4 months I honestly couldn't not let him eat... I started him on one spoon of rice cereal, which he gobbled down from the first mouthful. I swear not a drop was pushed out again. He had none of that tongue pushing to food out again action.

I gave him a small rice ceral meal once a day for about a week, and then switched to home made butternut, and then sweet potatoe.

I kept him on one meal a day for 2-3 weeks, then added a second and kept him like that for a few weeks and he was on 3 small meals a day by around 6 months.

I made all my own food and froze it in ice trays, he would get 2-3 cubes per meal.

He has been well and healthy from the start and hardly goes to the doctor at all (maybe once a year), and he's now 5.

My younger child started solids closer to 5 months because he just didn't seem ready, like the older one did, until then...

So I do think it's fairly induvidual, like most things, but I agree that under 3.5 months is FAR too young, and is not a good idea.

Reply to Nuffing
Posted by: Purple | 2004/11/08

Hi, I belive babies should only be fed solids from 6 months. This is of course just my own opinion, which I've formed from seeing a lactation consultant (human breast feeding expert), chatting with other mothers, and reading articles in baby magazines, and reading up on the internet.

Before the age of six months, a baby might not yet be sitting upright, even when supported, so can get indigestion from eating solids.

Also, until this age, although a baby might not develop sensitivies or allergies, they lack the enzymes for digesting the food, so you can feed baby the food, and so long as its liquidized, it won't cause damage, but its of absoloutely no. benefit as baby can't digest it and it just passes through his or her system.

There have been numerous studies on food and sleeping through the night. All have conculed that giving solids does not lead to sleeping through the night (La leche league can give you details of the studies done).

Babies wake during the night from hunger, thirst, being too hot or too cold, an arm or a leg getting pins and needles, wanting to be cuddled, being frightened etc. Babies need to be fed milk at night until about 6 or 7 months of age, when they tend to start dropping all night feeds. Night waking after this age is for other reasons. Until the age of about 3, a child cant sort out the problem for themselves, so they need you to help.

Before purity and blenders existed, and before formula (when your granny was a baby), babies were exclusively breast fed until about 8 months of age. At about 8 months they were able to eat what the family ate, just cut into small pieces, or coarsely mashed. When our mothers were small, our grannies began giving cereal in bottles from about 2 to 6 weeks of age, and water in bottles from about 6 weeks of age. This interfered with breast feeding and women produced less milk as their baby demanded less milk, so many gave up breast feeding.

Attitudes to solids change from generation to generation.

I just used my baby's natural signs as a guide. When he began recognising my food as food and trying to grab it and suck it, I started giving mashed fruit. I don't belive that baby will refuse veg if given fuit first, as breast milk is sweeter than any fruit, so if he was going to refuse veg after the sweetness of fruit, this wouldn't make any sense. He could sit upright supported in my lap at this stage (he was between 5 and 6 months of age) so I knew he wouldn't get indigestion. After a month of breakfast only, I started introducing supper, then lunch at about 7 months, and then finger food snacks at 8 months. EAch month I made the food more coarse. After I'd given banana, avo, apple and paw paw, I introduced butternut, sweet potato and carrots (he ate them all without fuss).

My baby hasn't had any allergic reactions or sensitivies, but nobody in my family is allergic to anything so this didn't surprise me. He has put on weight steadily and followed his curve without a problem. He has never been ill. He has consistently reached all his developmental milestones early. He is 9 months old now. He was demand fed his milk, and only started wanting less milk to drink from about 7 months of age. Right from birth he was a very content and happy baby. I've never fed him baby cereals. I do use purity though.

My paed told me to start giving pureed fruit from 3 months of age (12 weeks). I changed paediatricians.

Perhaps some of the other mothers will also share their thoughts on solids and what their personal experience of the reality was like. I really enjoy hearing other people's points of view, that's how we learn more and more.

Reply to Purple

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