Until babies are four to six months of age, they are not physically or developmentally ready to eat or digest solid foods. The World Health Organization recommends waiting until 6 months of age to start solid foods.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that signs of solid food readiness include when a baby can hold his head upright and can sit in a highchair or infant seat, when he shows an interest in food and seems eager to eat when you are eating, when he can move food to the back of his mouth to swallow and when he doubles his birth weight – typically between 4 to 6 months of age – and weighs 13 pounds.
It’s important to note that when solid foods are introduced to babies before four to six months, it can increase the baby’s risk of aspirating, obesity and can lead to the baby not getting enough or getting too many calories or nutrients, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s also important to remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. When solid foods are added, formula and/or breastfeeding should continue.
When spoon feeding a baby, nannies should opt for a soft tipped spoon so that they don’t harm the baby’s delicate mouth and gums. Using unbreakable plates and bowls can also ensure that they don’t shatter if knocked off the feeding surface or out of your hands. When feeding solids, nannies should ensure that the baby is sitting upright in a highchair or feeding chair. Using a waterproof or cloth bib that can catch food and that is easy to wash can help minimize the feeding-time mess.