Four Months Old: Baby Weaning Advice
According to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the most recommended time to start giving solid food to your baby is at 6 months old. However, a recent study published in 2018 in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that weaning your baby at an earlier time provides more benefits.
The 2018 study by JAMA Pediatrics looked at the allergic reactions babies could have after eating certain foods, and it explored whether giving babies solid food before 6 months could have an impact on their sleep.
The study revealed that the babies who were introduced to solid food earlier than 6 months slept approximately 2 hours a week more compared to those in the other group. In comparison, the babies who had not had solid food by 6 months old woke up 2 times at night every week.
A Health Expert’s Take
Dawn Kelly, a child health expert from the UK, says there’s no harm in starting a baby led weaning 4 months old as long as parents never introduce solid food before 17 weeks. According to Kelly, if parents think their baby is ready to start baby led weaning at 4 months, they can consult their baby’s doctor for professional guidance.
How to Tell If Your Baby Is Ready for Weaning at 4 Months Old
It’s important to know when your child is ready to handle solid food. Here are some signs to tell when your baby is ready for weaning:
- Your baby has good head and neck control.
- Your baby has maintained healthy weight since birth.
- Your baby can reach out, grab, and bring objects to his or her mouth.
How to Start Baby Led Weaning 4 Months Old
The first foods for weaning should be vegetables like carrots, spinach, green beans, broccoli, or courgette. Your baby may not like the food during their first few days of weaning because of the taste, but it’s totally normal. Babies naturally prefer sweet and salty flavors, but be firm and make sure their first tastes are from ‘bitter’ food groups than sweeter fruits.
Help your baby develop a palate for bitter, sour, and umami flavors. This is because the earlier your baby is introduced to bitter vegetables or the umami flavor, the more likely they will eat these food types as adults. Plus, they are healthy and vitamin rich.
When weaning at 4 months, start with thin puree. You can use your breastmilk or use leftover water from cooked vegetables. You can also buy baby puree – just make sure you select stage 1 baby food from brands that have vegetables as main ingredients.
Moreover, it’s important to consult your baby’s dietitian before weaning to look out for food allergy. If your baby has allergies, your baby’s allergy doctor may recommend incorporating food that causes allergies during the first few weaning attempts to reduce your baby’s risk of developing more allergies.
Your main goal for baby led weaning at 4 months old is to help your baby transition from milk to a combination of milk and food to provide him with more vitamins and nutrients. However, different babies develop at different times, so it’s important for you to observe and determine when your baby is really ready for weaning. Consult your baby’s doctor to get professional advice.