I have a 4 1/2 month old baby boy who was born at 8 pounds, 7 ounces. He is my first and only child and since then he has grown into a full and healthy baby boy. He weighs in at 9 kgs. Lately he has become very interested in food and is constantly staring at me hungrily when I eat and sometimes even cries when he sees food. He also reaches out for it and his mouth moves when food is close to him.

I see this as signs that he is ready to start eating, but when I took him to the health clinic they said not to give him any because it will make him over weight, and that I had to wait until he is more active. Even though he rolls over continuously, they say its not enough. My question is: should i start feeding him little bits or should I just wait until he crawls? Is it cruel for me to not feed him while he is so interested in food?

Dear Stacey (Moo Moo),

The APA (American Pediatric Association) advises that we shouldn’t wean babies on to pureed food until they are six months and in books you will read, for safety’s sake, it is six months. However, in my experience of looking after babies for 20 years, I believe if you are sensible in recognizing the importance of the type of foods you can give your baby at that young age and that it’s not too hard for your baby to digest, there’s not reason why you can’t start giving your baby some baby cereal or a little bit of baby bland rice. The key things to think of first: make sure that your baby is feeding at least seven ounce bottles every four hours. However if you’re breast feeding, it could be that your not producing enough milk and you’ll know that because he’ll be hungry every two and a half or three hours. You may want to start adding a bottle here or there.

After their last feed and you can start off by giving him a bottle cap full (which is the equivalent of two ice cubes) worth of baby rice which you mix with boiling water or formula milk. My baby book explains all of these ideas and/or solutions in detail. The fact that his mouth moves when food is close to him and that he looks eager and curious are signs that he is ready. But weigh out all of the above first and make sure you’ve tried those things before resorting to the food.

Clinics just want to make sure that you’re not overfeeding. So make sure that after you’ve fed him and given him time to digest, it isn’t just that he’s hungry for more food or hasn’t digested it first.

There’s a baby book by Annabel Karmel [http://www.annabelkarmel.com], she’s a personal friend and she has wonderful books out regarding feeding your child and they’re filled with lots of great ideas. One of my favorites is the “Annabel Karmel's New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner”.

Love,

Jo x

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