Q: My daughter is 4 months old. When should I start feeding her solid foods?
A: Start solids at no earlier than 6 months old. Giving your baby breast milk exclusively is not just adequate for six to nine months--it's optimal. Formula is a second-best option, but either way, no solid foods need to be added during the first six months. (Pediatricians used to recommend starting solids at age 4 months, but we now know that introducing them this early may increase a child's tendencies toward allergies and obesity.) Fruits and vegetables are easier to digest than cereal and thus make excellent first foods. Cook a sweet potato, mash it and feed it to your baby. Or let her do it herself: Babies love to feed themselves. (Any food is finger food if you're willing to clean it up!) Just be certain to stay nearby to make sure she doesn't shove too much into her mouth.
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