When can I introduce solid foods?
Ask your baby’s pediatrician for her specific recommendations, as solid foods are usually introduced around 4 to 6 months of age, at the earliest. Most babies do not need any solid foods before this age because breast milk or iron-fortified infant formula provides all the nutrients the baby needs. After 6 months of age, a baby requires more foods to provide more calories, protein, and iron. Around that time, he will begin to show interest in other foods and develop the ability to eat them.
The introduction of solid foods before 4 to 6 months may not provide the proper balance of nutrients and may increase the risk of food allergies. Despite popular belief, adding cereal to the diet does not help babies sleep through the night.
Each child develops at his own pace. Signs that your baby may be ready to try solid foods include: holding her head and neck steady for 10 to 15 minutes while sitting up with support in your lap or in an infant seat; putting his hands or other objects in mouth; acting hungry, demanding breast or bottle more often, or taking more than 32 ounces (one quart) of formula in 24 hours. You may also notice your baby showing interest in your food and trying to grab your food while watching you eat, and waking more often during the night when he had been sleeping through much of the night for a while.
For more information see introducing solid foods.
Should I put cereal in the bottle to help my baby sleep through the night?
Cereal does not usually need to be put in your baby’s bottle unless your baby’s doctor specifically suggests it. Despite popular belief, adding cereal or other solid foods to your baby’s diet will not help your baby sleep through the night. Your baby may have a hard time learning to eat from a spoon, if she gets used to taking solid foods in a bottle. Giving cereal before 4 to 6 months may also increase the risk of food allergies.
How many wet diapers should my baby have each day?
Although most babies have between four and eight wet diapers each day during the first few months of life, this number may vary, depending on the type of diapers used and the person changing them. Some parents change diapers with each feeding or every few hours, regardless of how wet the diapers seem. Other parents wait until a diaper feels heavy. Disposable diapers tend to absorb a great deal of liquid and therefore, may not seem wet until the baby has urinated.
Under routine circumstances, you do not need to worry about the number of wet diapers your baby has each day. Doctors often ask about the number of wet diapers when they are worried about possible dehydration, for example, when babies have vomiting and diarrhea, or nasal stuffiness that sometimes causes difficulty feeding. If it is hard to tell whether a disposable diaper is wet, you can place a cotton ball or a piece of paper towel in the diaper. Call your baby’s doctor if the baby does not pass urine at least once every six to eight hours, as this may indicate that he is becoming dehydrated.