I voted for 6 months, because most babies are ready *around* that time, but I think you need a "When BABY thinks the time is right" choice. The best time to start solids is when your LO shows signs of readiness - sitting up on own, grabbing items & able to bring them to her mouth, becoming interested in whatever strange thing you're doing with that stuff on your plate. 2 of my 3 started themselves by grabbing food off my plate. The 3rd we offered because his twin sister was getting solids & it was just easier to let them both make a mess in high chairs (he wasn't really interested until closer to 9 months, which was just fine, but he had fun playing & feeding the dogs ;-). When baby is ready is the best time to start, not when some doctor or book or your mother-in-law or whoever says. And before about a year, your milk provides exactly the nutrition your growing baby needs. There's no magic window & no such thing as starting too late (not like baby is going to refuse to eat forever if you don't start by some specific date). And agree w/ the previous comments that rice cereal is never ever needed, and probably best to avoid. Babies need real food, just like adults do!
Listen to dr or listen to my instincts on breastfeeding - Page 2
Poll Results: when is the right time for a breastfeeding mom to introduce baby food?
0% (0)4 months
25% (15)6 months
10% (6)9 months
67% (40)when the mother feels its the right time
I think once baby is capable of picking up the food, getting the food to their own mouth and chewing and swallowing that is the right time.
Babies do sometimes get short of iron around 6-9 months especially if their cord was clamped and cut early at birth so I wouldn't like to advise someone to stop their baby from eating, I think in a lot of ways staying out of our babies' way and letting them lead the way is the best course to take. We can make healthy foods available and avoid them from having access to unhealthy (for them) choices (for instance too much salt or sugar) by altering our own diets and allowing them to share our food.
I remember watching a video of a baby gorilla's first tastes of solid foods, which were just bits the mother dropped while eating and the mother doesn't interfere, she doesn't hand the food to the baby any more than she snatches it away. Breastfeeding is always on offer. I like this way.
Here's some interesting reading on why NOT to introduce rice cereal at all:
FTR, my doc also keeps insisting that I give my DS rice cereal... I politely nod and smile and then completely disregard that recommendation :)
With my first, I started him when he was 6 months old. He had been showing signs of readiness for quite a while before then but I waited until the recommended 6 months time. He loved solids and was always a good eater. I still breastfed until he was 17months.
With my second, I offered him solids at 6months as well but he was not interested at all. I should have waited for signs of readiness. I attempted solids a few more times over the next few months and was stressing out about it quite abit (which seems so silly now) He wasen't interested in solids until he was 9 and a half months old and only ate extremely small "meals" until well past his first birthday. He breastfed until he was 2 months shy of 3yrs old and is a great eater now too.
I am pregnant with my third and I plan to start baby on solids when he/she is ready this time. Not stress out and rush to start at 6 months if he/she isen't ready and not to withhold solids if baby starts feeding cues earlier.
Agreed re: rice cereal! I don't eat rice cereal, and I didn't see why I should have to make special cereal for my kid. Sometimes I eat oatmeal or some other hot cereal for breakfast; on those days, he ate it too. If I made eggs, he ate eggs. If I ate fruit and toast, he had mashed fruit (at the beginning, it's hard to feed your kid toast so we skipped that, lol).
I didn't vote because we haven't done any formal "baby food". We feed food to baby (now almost 8 mos), but not anything special, just whatever we're eating (egg yolk, bacon, steak, pork chops, carrots, cucumber, avacado, etc.) He actually won't accept anything without him being the one to put it in his mouth. Even if I have something on my finger, he'll grab my hand and choose to put it in his mouth. He refuses being spoon-fed.
Not an option listed, but I vote for when the BABY feels it is the right time.
Mind you this is more than just the baby grabbing food. Babies will grab for steak knives and cigarettes!
Taking into account all the other factors (sitting up unassisted, pincer grasp, no tongue thrust, etc)
This was 11m for my oldest and 9m for my youngest.