Our daughter is 4 months old and our pediatrician is keen to start her on solids...

He's suggesting dabbling in baby rice cereal for 1 month just to introduce her to the concept and then slowly introducing fruits and vegetables 1 week at a time after that.

Lily is yet to show any signs that she's ready for solids... she's an all-round happy baby who is exclusively breastfeed, is always content after meals, sleeps through the night and hasn't started showing any interest in us eating as yet...

I know experts used to say start at 4 months and in the past few years have changed their recommendation to 6 months, but I've heard it's back to the 4 month recommendation now? My main concern is that Lily was a premmie at 6 weeks (blessed with no complications), which means that she's really only 2.5 months old now... I want to do what's best for her - is it too soon for her to start solids?

asked 22 Oct '09, 00:29

Lin's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

something interesting I just found on Annabel Karmel's website:

"solids should not be introduced until at least 17 weeks after your baby’s due date as a young baby’s digestive and immune system is not sufficiently developed before this time"

(22 Oct '09, 11:44) Lin

Our pediatrician recommended that we start solids at our 4 month appointment, but after doing research I decided that I am not going to start my son on solids until 6 months. The AAP recommends that breastfed babies are exclusively breastfed until 6 months. Cereal does not have the same nutrient profile per calorie that breastmilk does, therefore any cereal that a breastfed baby receives is displacing breastmilk in the babies diet. I think rice cereal is junk food for babies! I plan to start my son on avocado, bananas, sweet potatoes and oatmeal at 6 months.

For formula fed babies, the recommendation for starting solids is 4-6 months. If you don't feel that your daughter is showing the signs of being ready to start solids, then I would just wait. I know my son is not showing signs of being ready. He still has a tongue thrust when we give him medications and is not showing interest in food. He does show the other signs, but I think showing interest in food is an important indicator.

Here is some information on starting solids:


answered 22 Oct '09, 01:17

Sarah's gravatar image

accept rate: 40%


+1 Great answer! I also wanted to point out that baby rice cereal is usually highly processed and missing most of the nutrients that brown rice has. If you wait a little longer, you could just cook brown rice and mash it up for her yourself.

(22 Oct '09, 23:08) Emily

thanks Emily - great tip!

(23 Oct '09, 22:27) Lin

@Sarah: thanks Sarah - You've given me a different perspective on rice cereal now! And thanks for the links. You've just reinforced to me that I should take my lead from my child and go with my own instincts.

(02 Nov '09, 05:57) Lin

The World Health Organisation says six months:

Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. After six months, they should be fed adequate and safe complementary foods while continuing breastfeeding for up to two years or beyond.

We've embraced the phrase "Until they're one it's just for fun" (not sure who coined it): that is, their main nutrition for the first twelve months comes from breast milk. Any solid food they eat between six months and a year is a bonus and to get them used to the idea, but it doesn't matter if they don't eat much of it.


answered 22 Oct '09, 08:08

Paul%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Paul Stephenson
accept rate: 4%

Hi Lin,

We started our daughter on rice cereal at 4 months with recommendation from our Dr. However, she showed all the signs of being ready. I read these from What to Expect the First Year but was also able to find a reference on the web.


Here are some signs to look for that will tell you if your baby is ready to try solid food:

•Holds head steady and sits with support.
•Reaches for and shows interest in food.
•Opens mouth when sees food.
•No longer thrusts her tongue out during feeding, so they are able to keep food in their mouth and swallow it.
•Turns head away when full.

Doctors are people too and not always right; however, it is worth discussing your concerns with them and to ask them about their reasoning. It sounds like you've done the research and once you've armed yourself with information you ultimately need to do what you feel is right for your baby.


answered 22 Oct '09, 00:50

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

Thanks Tammy - I also read those tips from WTETFY. So far, Lily only shows the 1st sign. My instinct says she's not yet ready.

(23 Oct '09, 22:40) Lin

My boys were born 3 weeks early and we still started them on rice cereal at 4 months. Before we started the cereal, we showed the boys the spoon (a soft rubber tipped one) and let them gum it a bit to let them get used to the feeling of it in their mouth. Then we put a bit of milk on the spoon and gave it to them to see if they would take it, which they did.

We then tried the cereal once a day for a few days and they didn't seem like they were ready for it, so we stopped for a week, then tried it again and they seemed much more eager for it the second time round. It still took them a few more weeks to really start to get good at swallowing it and not pushing out the front of their mouth with their tongues.

So there's no reason why you can't try the cereal, and if she seems like she's not ready, then just try again in a little while when you feel that she's more ready for it. Most baby books say you can start anywhere between 4-6 months, so you shouldn't feel pressured to start right away.


answered 22 Oct '09, 01:21

Shannon%20B's gravatar image

Shannon B
accept rate: 9%


thanks Shannon - that's what our ped advised us to do too he said no harm in trying every now and then to see if her extrusion reflex has gone and once it has, she's ready.

(23 Oct '09, 22:29) Lin

We just waited until our babies clearly asked for solids. It was when they were about 6 months old. We started with home made applesauce, mashed carrots and specific food for babies.


answered 22 Oct '09, 15:28

mouviciel's gravatar image

accept rate: 7%

We did this too and it seemed to work well.

(22 Oct '09, 23:09) Emily

What is the point supposed to be of giving her rice cereal? It has no nutritional advantages over breastmilk does it?


introduce her to the concept

idea is flawed. If you wait until babies are ready to start solids then they cope perfectly well with proper food. We did baby led weaning with our youngest, and it's a fantastic way of starting solids when baby is definitely ready. It's also far less stressful than the traditional puree method which we did with our older two.

Prem babies do have lower iron stores than full-term babies, so there might be a nutritional reason to start her on iron rich foods, but rice cereal isn't really one of those.

Bliss - the UK charity for premature babies says

We recommend that weaning starts when your baby is between five and seven months old, the age they are from their birth date and not from their corrected age date.


answered 23 Oct '09, 17:18

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

Hi Meg... our ped is not suggesting rice cereal as a meal replacement, but really just a "dabble", starting once or twice a day and no more than a couple of teaspoons at a time (of course, after a milk feed) to get her used to the idea. Thanks for the Bliss link - very informative info on premmie babies. I couldn't seem to access the baby led weaning link though?

(23 Oct '09, 22:35) Lin

Sorry the link didn't work for you. You could try this one

(24 Oct '09, 13:44) Meg Stephenson

Thanks Meg... a very interesting read

(27 Oct '09, 12:08) Lin

Our pediatrician recommended starting solids when the baby was ready, that we'd know because he would be "stalking our food", reaching for it, following it intently as it went from plate to our mouths. Sure enough, just after 6 months, he suddenly got VERY interested, "stalking" was the perfect description. Acted just like the dog. It couldn't have been any more clear that was ready.


answered 23 Oct '09, 18:00

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

this was exactly the case with my little nephew at 5 months - he'd watch intently with anyone eating and as soon as he was introduced solids, he just couldn't get enough!

(23 Oct '09, 22:37) Lin
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Asked: 22 Oct '09, 00:29

Seen: 4,931 times

Last updated: 23 Oct '09, 18:00