The dietary guidelines for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend children to be introduced to solid foods starting around 6 months of age. Why there is only an estimated timing? The answer is simple… every baby is different!

Is My Baby Ready for Solid Foods?

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There are 2 main important aspects to starting solid foods:

  1. Iron intake needs for infants.
  2. Developmental readiness to be able to safely swallow food.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants who are born at term usually have sufficient iron reserves until 4 to 6 months of age. Breastmilk has very little iron, therefore, exclusive breastfeeding for more than 6 months has been associated with increased risk of iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) at 9 months of age.

Moreover, about eighty percent of the iron present in a newborn term infant is accreted during the third trimester of pregnancy. Infants born prematurely miss the rapid accretion and supplementation is likely; this can be provided as medicinal iron or in iron-fortified complementary foods.

What does this mean after all? I strongly recommend that you check with your baby’s pediatrician about the needs to supplement iron at around 4 months of age. There is a study shared on volume 125, issue 5 of an AAP publication that recommends that term infants receive an iron supplementation of 1mg/kg per day starting at 4 months of age and continued until appropriate iron-containing complementary foods have been introduced.

This study demonstrated that supplementation resulted in better visual acuity and higher Bayley Psychomotor Developmental Indices at 13 months.

If your infant gets iron-fortified formula, a supplement may not be necessary. Always consult with a doctor to evaluate your case individually.

Fortunately, at about 6 months of age, an infant’s iron needs can be net through the introduction of iron-rich foods. There are some milestones called readiness signs that indicate if your child is developmentally ready to start solids.


Here is a list from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with some signs to look for before introducing solid foods to your baby:

  • Sits up alone or with minimal assistance.
  • Can control head and neck.
  • Opens the mouth when food is offered and shows interest in food (trying to grab)
  • Transfers food from the front to the back of the tongue to swallow (losing tong thrust reflex).
  • Brings objects to the mouth.
  • Tries to grasp small objects, such as toys or food.


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