Is it safe to introduce solids before a baby's teeth come in?

Is your baby showing interest in solids, but he doesn't have teeth yet? Dr. Dina Kulik answers your baby-feeding questions.

My baby doesn’t have any teeth yet, but I’m trying to introduce solid foods (and not just purées). Is that safe?

Absolutely. Solids can be given to babies once they are interested—usually around four to six months. (The Canadian Paediatric Society says babies can get all of their nutrient needs from breastmilk for the first six months, and most are ready for solids by then.) Some signs that your child is curious about solid foods include watching intently or leaning toward you when you eat and grabbing your spoon. Even once kids get their first teeth, they are typically just the front ones, which only break the food. They use their back gums to do the “chewing.”

There are all kinds of solid foods your kid can eat without teeth. Vegetables, fruits and proteins are good to start with. Purée or mash them with a spoon to make sure your baby can get them down safely. From there, you can move to pieces of foods, but avoid round foods like grapes and hot dogs, which are the same shape as your child’s esophagus and therefore pose a choking hazard.

Read more:
Are amber teething necklaces safe?
5 dos and don’ts for introducing solids to baby
7 teething myths

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