First Solids

When should I start introducing solid foods in my baby's diet?
After six months - WHO recommends.
Since our babies are human beings  - and not machines - here are some individual considerations to make in order to decide when to start.
Your baby is ready to experiment with solids when:
  •  He/she can sit without support
  • Can grab an object and put it in his/her mouth
  • Can make chewing movements with his/her jaws
  • Can clearly refuse something he/she does not want
  • When a small portion of food is placed on the child's tongue, he/she brings it in his/her mouth instead of pushing the tongue out
  • Your child shows active curiosity towards family foods.
What foods should I introduce first in my baby's diet?
Fresh, local, seasonal, healthy family foods - without excessive salt and condiments. 'Baby foods' are just a waste of money: less nutritious and more expensive. Prefer iron rich foods, dense and not too watery. Avoid cow milk till your baby is one year old. Be extremely careful with foods which might lead to chowking (ex. nuts to be offered only after grinding in a paste and possibly mixing to other foods, carrots to be cooked, grapes to be offer after removing skin and seeds and cutting, etc.).

How much, when, how?
Little and always after offering breastmilk, at least initially. Keep in mind that upto the first year of age breastmilk (or formula, in case of formula fed babies) is meant to be the main source of nutrition. Solids are just exploration and fun, with a bit of dietary integration as a bonus. So better allowing our child to explore, have fun and buil up a positive relation with food. Complement breastmilk intake with solids, rather than substituting and never compel, force, or take your child 'by hunger'.
Hold on to your anxiety and have fun along. let your baby touch, feel, express her preferences, even if it becomes a bit messy.
When should I wean my baby off breastmilk?
When your baby and you are both ready to do so - ideally, not before two years, WHO recommends.
Remember that breastmilk does not loose its nutritional and immunological value with time.
I have been told that if I do not wean my baby off the breast fast, later it will be very difficult to convince him to quit. Is that true?
Absolutely not. Ultimately all children wean, whether helped or spontaneously. Till date - even in tribal societies where the medium duration of breastfeeding is quite long - we have not heard of a single breastfed adult!
 As Dr. Sears writes: 'A need goes only if satisfied'... Would we hold our thirst hoping that not seeing water would quenche it?