Ready for Meat and Potatoes

While sucking at the breast or bottle, the newborn first protrudes her tongue, pushing it against the nipple as she sucks and swallows. This tongue-thrusting reflex, which gradually subsides over the first six months, interferes with the process of taking food from a spoon and moving it to the throat, where it can be swallowed. A baby who repeatedly pushes her tongue against your spoon probably isn't ready for solids. Accepting food from a spoon is much easier for a baby who can control her head position, a skill which will be far better developed after six months than at three or four. A young baby whose head flops everywhere if not supported should be given more time with just breast or bottle.

By six months of age, your baby will be happily grabbing everything in sight and putting whatever she finds into her mouth--an indication that she will find a spoon worth exploring as well.

If a couple of teeth erupt before six months of age (the usual time of the first appearance of teeth), this in itself is not a sign that your baby is ready for pizza. Your baby won't use her teeth to chew food yet for some months. In fact, even if she still doesn't have teeth at the six-month mark, she will be quite able to swallow the mushy solids you'll be feeding her.

Background Information

Journey of No Return
Sometimes as parents, we have a knee-jerk response to our kids as we're barraged by their numerous inquires and desires. Maybe it's time to stop being so negative.

When Not To Discipline
Parents should recognize when they should and shouldn't discipline their children.

When You Feel Like Calling in the SWAT Team
Are your children constantly testing you? This classic parenting advice will help you regain the upper hand.

Questions and Answers

After I spank my child, she usually wants to hug me and make up, but I continue to be cool to her for a few hours. Do you think that is right?

We'd like to be more unified in our approach, but how do we successfully move from two financial approaches to one?

How long do you think a child should be allowed to cry after being punished? Is there a limit?

I have never spanked my 3-year-old because I am afraid it will teach her to hit others and be a violent person. Do you think I am wrong?

It just seems barbaric to cause pain to a defenseless child. Is it healthy to spank him or her?

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Other Things to Consider

Ten Things Toddlers Wish They Could Tell You
It can do wonders for the frazzled parent to know what's going on in the mind of your little one.

TransitionsHaving a Baby, Preparing for Adolescence

Life PressuresWorking Moms, Stay-At-Home Moms, Time for Family

RelationshipsParents and Adult Children, Blended Families