- An immature digestive system which makes it difficult for their bowel to cope with solid foods.
- A natural tongue thrust reflex which causes their tongue to push solid food out of their mouth, rather than swallow it.
Babies from 6 months or older:
- Coordinate chewing and swallowing better, but they don't necessarily need teeth to eat most solid foods .
- Generally have sufficient head control to allow them to swallow safely.
- Start sitting up with assistance (or by themselves), making eating much easier.
You may like to read more in growth and development before 6 months.
Food tastes under 6 months.
Some babies around 4 to 5 months of age show obvious interest in what others around them are eating. Although not necessary, a few parents decide to start giving their baby small 'tastes' of different foods in the weeks before beginning solids in earnest. Take care in what you give your young baby, to help avoid severe food reactions. For example you should not give babies under 12 months honey, peanut butter, strawberries or eggs. Read more in foods to avoid.
Rice cereals added to a bottle.
It is not recommended to add rice cereal to a baby's bottle of breast milk or formula, unless advised by your paediatrician. Rice cereal is made to be eaten as a solid food separately, not as a milk additive.
Babies are born with self-regulating hunger mechanism that lets them know how much food they need. During the early months, their body takes cues from the volume of milk they drink. Adding rice cereal to their bottles of expressed breast milk or formula interferes with this natural hunger mechanism, making babies ingest a deceptively large amount of calories. This may 'teach' your baby's body to overeat. When starting solids and using a spoon, your baby rests between mouthfuls and then stops when they feel full, allowing them to develop good eating habits to take them into older years.