Q: My grandson is 2 1/2 months old weighs 13.8 oz. He's in the 67th percentile for his weight and height. He is drinking 30 oz of formula and 8 oz of water a day. When can he eat solids? He does not sleep well... waking every hour day and night. My generation would have started him on cereal....what is your advice? His pediatrician just says " that's a lot of liquid"...when asked if it's too much, he just says "no, but it is a lot of liquid." He takes a pacifier well but acts hungry when he won't sleep.

A: Although many moms and grandparents are ready to start feeding babies solid food when they’re just a couple of months old, it’s wise to wait until the baby has doubled his birth weight and is at least four months old. At this age, his digestive tract will be more mature, and better able to handle solids. In addition, he’ll be more likely to show signs of readiness for solids. It’s important that babies are able to hold their heads in a steady, upright position before offering them solids. You’ll also want to make sure that he’s no longer exhibiting the extrusion reflex, which is when babies use their tongues to push food out of their mouths. Ideally, your grandson should be able to sit upright with support to make sure that he’s able to swallow properly. Introducing solids before babies are mature enough to digest them can lead to other problems, such as an increased risk for allergies and stomach upset.

When babies wake up frequently at night, they’ll often take a bottle for comfort, even if they’re not really terribly hungry. It might be time to start letting him learn to self-soothe and get back to sleep on his own, without the help of a bottle and the cuddling that comes with it. It isn’t easy for parents or grandparents to listen to babies cry themselves back to sleep, but if you can manage it, your grandson will begin to sleep longer between awakenings—and feedings.

Answered by Dr. Rallie McAllister