When is the optimal time for solids to begin for your baby? The typical answer is somewhere between 4-6 months, although as a professional I do feel 4 months is probably too early for most babies. If your only motivation is too get the baby to sleep through the night, you should probably hold off. If you are so exhausted you can’t function during the day, perhaps you should see a holistic healthcare practitioner that can help address your adrenal fatigue. Being pregnant and caring for an infant can take a toll on your energy, especially if you have other small children, so make sure to take care of yourself too. So when your well-meaning pediatrician tells you to throw some rice cereal into your baby’s bottle so they will sleep through the night; you may be wise to skip this particular advice. Why? The majority of medical schools teach very limited nutrition. Of course, there are a few pediatricians out there who have chosen to educate themselves on nutrition, however they are still the minority. Contrary to popular belief, highly processed grains are not easy for your baby to digest. In fact, quite the opposite is true. I do believe in allowing a mother’s intuition to help guide all areas of raising a child. This includes when and what to start feeding your child. Grains, however, are never a good idea and pushing your baby to sleep through the night when they are not ready is also (unfortunately) not a good idea. I know it can be very difficult, but if your baby’s digestive system is not ready to start solids, please do not rush it. In addition, exclusive breastfeeding is also recommended for at least six months to help reduce the incidence of food sensitivities. If you were unable to do this then there are certain healing foods and supplements that can help prepare your babies gut for solids.
New research indicates that baby’s due dates could vary by as much as 5 weeks! Just as babies are born should be allowed to be born in their own time, I believe the start time of solids can vary by at least that much as well. We as mothers need to be in tuned to our babies and look for the signs. As a digestion and immune expert, I really wanted to wait till 6 months to start solids with my son Hunter. He, however, started to show signs that he was ready closer to 5 months. I felt compelled to compromise my six month goal and gave in around 5 ½ months. It was important to me to wait until his digestive tract was ready. I was very careful with what he was fed initially, but he was clearly ready before 6 months old. On the other hand his sister Ava, who was born with Down Syndrome, had low muscle tone. It made more sense to start her around 7 months. Every baby is different and we shouldn’t assume that some magical light bulb goes off on our baby’s 6 month birthday to initiate this process. It is really no different than assuming a baby should be born exactly at 40 weeks. Trust yourself and your baby to figure out when that time is right for you all.
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