3 - 4 Months

Why you shouldn’t rush to start solid foods

Baby drinking from a bottle

The prevailing wisdom about when to introduce solids—everything from baby food purees to table foods—has shifted over the years. While doctors once recommended starting as early as 4 months, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization now say that most babies aren’t truly ready to start until about 6 months of age.

The case for waiting until 6 months

  1. Better digestion By around 6 months, a baby’s digestive system has become mature enough to break down the more complex substances found in solid foods.
  2. Better immunity For breastfed babies, there is evidence of additional immune benefits from exclusive breastfeeding until around 6 months. 
  3. Lower risk for obesity Some research supports that waiting to introduce solids can reduce future risk for obesity. 
  4. There is still time for early introduction of allergens. Experts recommend introducing common allergens to babies early; 6 months is in the recommended age range for this early introduction. Early exposure can reduce the risk of developing food allergies, particularly for babies with eczema or a family history. Consult with your child’s pediatrician if you have any questions.   

Signs your baby is ready for solid foods

By 6 months, most babies are showing signs that they are ready for solid foods. They have lost their tongue thrust reflex, making them less likely to unintentionally push food out of their mouth. They have also developed the coordination to safely move food toward the back of their mouth for safe swallowing.

When your baby is ready for solids, they will:

  • Have good head and neck control
  • Sit upright with little to no support. 
  • Pick up objects and bring them to their mouth.
  • Watch you intently while you eat or drink.

Why 6 months is the sweet spot

Throughout their first year, your baby will continue to get most of the nutrients they need from breast milk and/or formula. Starting at about 6 months, however, your baby needs more specific nutrients, like iron and zinc, which can be found in solid foods.

Eating solids also helps your baby learn to chew, strengthens their teeth and jaw, develops important muscles for speech, and discourages picky eating by exposing them to new tastes and textures.

Consider our course on introducing solids

It’s natural to have questions about how to introduce solid foods. If you’re interested in a developmental approach to introducing your baby to different food textures based on their individual signs of readiness, consider the Lovevery parent course ‘Food Before 1.’

In it, pediatric occupational therapist Rachel Coley shares her techniques and tools for mealtime success.


Team Lovevery Avatar

Team Lovevery

Visit site

Posted in: 3 - 4 Months, 5 - 6 Months, Eating and Drinking, Food, Feeding, Hand-eye Coordination, Lovevery App, Child Development

Keep reading