Time flies really fast, and it seems surreal that my little one who used to be a tiny and wiggly monster in my belly is finally turning 6 months today. Although each month is special, this one is especially memorable because he is supposed to start eating solid food today…or so I thought.
I’ve was scouring baby websites for first solid food ideas when I came across a post that left me pondering and anxious for the next few days. The article discusses the signs of readiness that must be met before starting babies on solids.
1. Your baby has good head control.
2. Loses the reflex to push food out of her mouth.
3. Sits upright.
4. Makes chewing motions.
5. Has doubled her weight since birth and is at least 4 months old.
6. Seems hungry – even with 8 to 10 feedings of breast milk or formula.
7. Is curious about what you’re eating.
Okay. So, my son is showing all of these except that he can’t sit up yet. My first thought was that other babies are even fed at four months and they came up just fine, so it’s not really a big deal. As a first time mom, there’s no way I could hold off something that I’ve been so excited about. Also, every single meal time, he looks like he badly wants to grab whatever is on our plate and start eating real food. There was even a time when I inadvertently held him a little too close to our table when I was sitting him on my lap in a restaurant, and he almost licked the soup that was somehow dripping on the side of the bowl. My bubble was burst, and to say the least, I was dismayed.
I rummaged forums and articles in the internet, but got even more confused because moms and experts alike have dissenting ideas about starting babies on solids. Some say that babies can be fed even if they aren’t able to sit up on their own yet so long as they are six months and up, and they show other signs of readiness. They also argue that when babies reach approximately 6 months, their bodies need more iron and zinc, so supplementing with solids is a must. Others firmly advise that sitting up unsupported is a vital requirement before introducing babies to solid foods.
Guess what? I ended up deciding to hold off feeding my little one solids until he is able to sit up unassisted. I was also able to convince my husband although I know it didn’t make sense to him at first.
1. Sitting unassisted is one of the outward signs that his gut is ready to digest food, so it is safe to assume that if he can’t sit up by himself yet, his digestive system is not yet cut out for solids. I can ask his pedia to do a microscopic test of his intestinal lining to check for readiness as opposed to using outward signs as basis but that would be impractical.
2. Waiting out till he has enough strength to sit up also decreases the possibility of choking considering that it would be a lot easier and more comfortable for him to eat when his hip and neck are not bent.
3. He can lean forward instantly and clear his airway if something gets stuck in it if he is sitting upright and not propped up on a bumbo or high chair.
Babies reach their milestones individually. Other babies are even fed before reaching 6 months, but I think it doesn’t necessarily mean that my little one must be ready too. I wouldn’t mind seeming to be a purist or overly anxious mom for strictly waiting out till my little one is able to sit upright before feeding him solids, but I’d rather be safe than sorry when, god forbid, something bad happens to my little one if I force him to start eating solids without being able to sit up on his own yet. For now, I think all I need is to alleviate this self-inflicted anxiety by looking up more baby food ideas.