Expert Q&A

Infant feeding: When to introduce solid foods

When is the correct age to start feeding my son solids? He is now four months old, but doesn't seem interested.

The standard answer is that babies should start solid foods between four to six months of age. Somewhere in this age range babies are usually physically and developmentally ready to move on from an all-liquid diet. However, each child is different and you should not focus solely on your son’s age. The following four milestones indicate readiness for solid foods. 

  1. He can sit with little support. Can he control his head so that he would be able to turn away to signal when he is done eating?

  2. His appetite has increased. Is he still hungry after breast-feeding? Does he drink more than 32 ounces of formula per day?
  3. He shows interest in the foods you are eating. Does he watch you eat or open his mouth in anticipation?
  4. He can swallow. Does he push foods out of his mouth with his tongue? This is not a sign of distaste or disinterest. It usually means he does not yet have the coordination required to push food to the back of the mouth for swallowing.

Use the above milestones as indications that your son might be ready for solid foods. If you try and he won’t take them, wait a few weeks and then try again. Avoid forcing him to eat solids, as this will only frustrate you and your son, potentially creating a negative association with feeding that can persist into childhood.

For further information on introducing solids see the following article from TheDietChannel: Infant Feeding: Properly Introducing Solids.

For information on introducing solids and preventing allergies see the following article from TheDietChannel: How to Reduce The Risk For Food Allergies in Children.

Erica Lesperance, RD, LD
Contributing Expert

Have a question for our Experts? Send it in!