Decision: Starting Solids at 4 Months vs. 6 Months
"Even the experts don't agree on the best time to begin," says Marianne Neifert, M.D., author of Great Expectations: The Essential Guide to Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding advocates recommend exclusive nursing for the first 6 months, but plenty of moms will tell you their kids were ready for solid food sooner (and contrary to earlier findings, starting at 4 months does not up your baby's risk for allergies). "Follow your baby's cues," recommends Dr. Neifert. Signs he's ready: He watches longingly when you eat, holds his head steady when he sits upright, and no longer sticks his tongue out when you place food on it. "Just don't start early because you think it will make him sleep through the night." That's a myth, says Dr. Neifert.
Bottom line: Anytime within the 4- to 6-month window really is fine, though you may want to wait until closer to 6 months if you're breastfeeding exclusively.
Patty Onderko is a contributing editor.