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READY FOR SOLIDS? THE 3 SIGNS

SOMETIME BETWEEN 4 AND 6 MONTHS, YOUR BABY MAY SHOW AN INTEREST IN WHAT'S GOING ON YOUR PLATE. HERE'S WHAT TO LOOK FOR BEFORE STARTING YOUR BABY ON SOLIDS:

As your baby nears the four-month marker, another famous first is quickly approaching: Your baby's first taste of solid food! (okay, mushy food!) Although cultural and generational habits vary (your mother may tell you that you started chowing down at two weeks of age), most pediatricians suggest that you introduce cereals and purees when your baby is between four and six months old. If your baby or anyone in your family has allergies or sensitivities to food, you'll want to wait until the six-month mark, and then tread carefully when the solids start, following the advice of your pediatrician. How can you tell when your baby is ready to plunge into the world of solid foods? Watch for these three signs:

Head held high.
While your baby doesn't need to be able to sit independently in order to expand her culinary repertoire, she does need to be able to hold her head up well on her own, and sit — supported — without slumping over.
Tongue untied.
See if she'll accept a spoon. In young babies, the tongue-thrust reflex helps keep foreign objects out of their mouths, and if she's not ready to be spoon-fed, she might push out that spoon coming her way — even one that's laden with yummy bananas or tasty rice cereal. Once she outgrows the tongue-thrust reflex, she'll be able to eat solids more successfully.
Eager eyes.
A baby who's ready for solids may show great interest in grown-ups' meals — she may even try to grab herself a bite right off your plate!
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