thread: 4 or 6 months?

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Member

    May 2010
    Land of Dreams

    4 or 6 months?

    DD3 had sleep school this week and while there, we were told solids are to start at 4 months now. Reason given was, research has been done and its proven that starting earlier helps to get on top of allergies/intolerances before its a huge problem. We were told its only the past 12-18 months this change was made.

    All my other children weren't started a day before 6 months and even then I didn't feel ready (#2 and #3 never really wanted 'real food' until well over 15+ months in the end).

    Being told my bub needs to start at 4 months and 'well and truly' be on a huge variety by 6 months, makes me uncomfortable.

    I know end of the day, as her mum its my choice when to start, but I really don't want to be pushed or judged by others and certainly not pressured by mchn to start

    Shes 4 months in a few weeks

    When did you start and do you think that was a good age?

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2010
    Gold Coast

    Last time we started at 4 months but I think you also need to play it by ear and see how she's developing
    We will be starting dd at 4 months ish depends on how well she can hold herself and her head and whether she can swallow it etc..

    Our paed recommended to start at 4 months

  3. #3
    Registered User

    Jun 2010
    Tiny Town

    I take the baby led weaning approach, which is that each baby is different and will eat when they're ready. The research cannot tell you what your particular babies gut readiness is, and if starting solids at any particular time will be beneficial.

    What you can do though is let your baby decide. When she grabs food and starts to eat, let her have it. If she's not interested, she's not ready. What I wouldn't do is spoon in pureed foods just because mchn says to. Your DD will swallow if you put something like that in her mouth because she doesn't want to choke and it's a reflex, but it's not necessarily a sign of readiness.

    I'd leave it to her to decide when to eat and what

  4. #4
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2007
    Middle Victoria

    It has been hypothesised that starting food between 4 and 6 months may be better in terms of reducing allergies, but this has not yet been proven. I don't think any of the main guiding bodies in Australia have yet changed their official reccomendation.

  5. #5
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2009

    No the official recommendation is still 6mths

    I also do baby led weaning approach, seems to make the most sense to me.

  6. #6
    BellyBelly Member

    May 2010
    Land of Dreams

    Baby led weaning... Might be something I need to look into. Heard of it, but no clue what it is or how to do it (Or what foods to start with etc)!

    Im so over conflicting info... I never felt this over whelmed with my other kids, and this time I feel like a first time mum all over. Big age gaps aren't such a good idea with me lol

  7. #7
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2007
    Middle Victoria


    This is the Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013) Giving your baby the best Start brochure that uses "around 6 months" to describe when babies are ready for other foods.

    I also did BLW with my two, and think it is a great way to do it. The book "Baby Led Weaning", by Gil Rapley is a great place to start. Many libraries have it now.

  8. #8
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Sep 2008

    I think Analytical Armadillo had a good article on this and also ABA perhaps.

    I did BLW, didn't give food till 6 months but didn't prevent them taking it from my plate from about 5 months. From that point they could have any food at all and I do believe things like delaying eggs and milk etc and saying foods must be introduced in set order (many of my peers were introducing egg not until 10 months and then white before yolk or vice versa even when no family history of allergies) can have an influence on allergies. E.g. The delayed introduction to way after six months instead of being baby led right from six months.

    Go with what you feel is right and from six months let them be exposed to if not eating a variety of foods.

  9. #9
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Jan 2006

    Nope, the recommendation is 6 months. It was updated earlier this year. It is not currently under review. It has not changed.

    The reason it's 6 months isn't really anything to do with allergies, it's about ensuring babies get optimal nutrition and *don't* displace breastmilk with other foods until they're ready.
    Babies' iron stores begin to deplete sometime after 6 months, so sometime in the 2nd half of their first year most babies will need a complementary source of iron. But this still doesn't necessarily mean babies need to be eating masses of food early on as breastmilk still provides the best and most complete nutrition until 12 months.

  10. #10
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Sep 2008

    This is the article which I found most useful:


    Is called "starting solids the facts behind todays media hype" and is from 2011 which is when the whole 4 month thing came up.

  11. #11
    Registered User

    Oct 2006
    In a house, on a hill with a big fat welcome mat!

    We started last week and will be 6 months in just under 2 weeks. I am the only one in my MG not to start at 4 months.
    We are still just playing and not eating... No way would she have been able to do even that at 4 months when her head control was still very hit and miss.
    I resisted the pressure I was feeling and just went with what I think is best

  12. #12
    BellyBelly Member

    Nov 2008
    in the ning nang nong

    We did baby led weaning here too - grab the book and have a read. For the $14 odd from the book depository, it was an ace investment here.

    And 6 months worked well here - neither of our boys were ready at 4 months, in terms of sitting, interest, or being ready to have anything other than boob and EBM.

    See what works for you.

  13. #13
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2009

    We started at 5.5 months with DS because he was pulling food off our plates, opening his mouth when you put food up to your mouth to eat, screaming when we would eat because he wanted it. He could sit upright well and wanted to eat. We started DD at 4.5 months on MCHN advice because she was tiny. Doesn't make sense now looking back. I say wait until bub shows signs of readiness. Because Dd was 4.5 months she started on mash and when we moved to finger foods she used to gag a lot. I have found with DS he has been amazing with his food, he doesn't gag and chews well because he has always been in control of when and what he eats.

  14. #14
    BellyBelly Professional Support Panel

    May 2007
    Warrnambool Vic

    Unfortunately you have been misinformed by your health care provider. They should be going by the National health and Medical Research Council guidelines which were released in just March this year after an extensive period of revision, discussion and research on the latest evidence. Solids should start around 6 mnths. If you have the opportunity, please let them know that they are giving their clients incorrect information

  15. #15
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Feb 2006
    South Eastern Suburbs, Vic

    I started offering solids occasionally to my youngest from around 6 months. She wouldn't have a bar of it until she was 8 months—in the same week as cutting her first tooth and sitting independently. I recall the Mchn saying something about iron and zinc(?) stores but bub was off the top end of the chart at that stage weight wise and I wasn't prepared to force the issue. I was a bit relieved when she ate, so perhaps 8 months is my threshold, but I agree that developmental readiness plays a part. No one flicks a switch right on a certain age.

  16. #16
    BellyBelly Member

    Nov 2009

    Yes it is still 6 months but my DS1 is nearly 3 and others with kids his age started at 4 months so it has been around a while, it's still dependant on the individual baby, DS1 would have been more than happy to start at 4 months I think, he used to watch us eat very intently and would grab at our food but I held off til 5 months DS2 was not even ready at 6 months and I don't think it was til about 9 months that he would swallow without gagging! BLW is amazing though!!

  17. #17
    2014 BellyBelly RAK Recipient.

    Feb 2012
    Melbourne , Victoria

    The recommendation is 6 months for starting solids however there is also a school of thought that introducing the highly allergenic foods between 4 and 7 months reduces allergies. This threw me when Liz Hallam our pediatrician from Flourish Pediatrics told me about it. I think there might be info on her website.
    We do BLW with some spoon feeding and follow DD's cues. She was interested early so we gave her a few tiny tastes. We introduces the top 8 highly allergenic foods between 6&7 months as recommended so we were covering all bases.
    We also want DD to have a broad pallet so we have given her a huge range of foods- from goats cheese to cumin, lentils, rare beef, tofu... You name it if we've got it in the house( apart from honey) or on our plates at a restaurant we give her some.
    It's important to wait until your LO is showing signs of being interested. And for ages it's more about tasting and learning than actually eating and swallowing.

  18. #18
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Jan 2006

    The advice re allergies has changed in recent years, the general 6 month recommendation has been around for quite some time, however, though obviously some health professionals don't always pass on the official advice (though they're supposed to) and obviously individual parents can do whatever they wish in any case

    The timing of the introduction of possible allergen foods is a tricky one, largely due to the lack of good data. In countries like Australia, most babies receive solids and/or formula before 6 months (and many before 4 months) so it's really hard to say one way or the other because we have so few babies who reach the 6 month mark exclusively breastfed, let alone any further than that.

    We do know that introducing anything other than breastmilk before 4 months significantly increases the risks of allergies. We also know that weaning from the breast while introducing solids increases the risks of allergies - so continuing to breastfeed while you're introducing appears to offer some protection.