When Do Babies Stomach Mature (Explained)

Have you ever looked at your baby and wondered when do babies stomach mature fully?

Interestingly, a baby’s digestive tract undergoes so many changes after birth and while these changes take place, your baby’s stomach begins to mature gradually.

One of the reasons why there is a delay in the feeding of your baby with some kind of food is simply because their stomach isn’t fully mature enough to deal with such food.

Once, their stomach has matured then it can comfortably accept and handle any type of food.

In this article, we discuss the question of when do babies stomach mature? How they form and tips to help care for your baby’s digestive health.

Maturity of Babies Stomach from Womb till Birth

While in the womb, a baby’s stomach does not perform much work because everything the baby needs for survival is provided for by the mother.

Once the child steps out of the womb, everything changes, the baby’s stomach will need to do some work on its own because it is no longer in the womb.

And since the stomach isn’t fully developed and cannot do everything immediately hence the need to start with foods (breast milk or formula) it can digest easily.

Breast milk contains all of the nutrients and energy that a baby needs at birth. A baby can only get all of the calories he needs for growth and development from his mother’s breast milk.

It may take some time for the breast milk to transition from colostrum to fat-dense milk, but once it does, your baby will begin to gain weight.

Because babies have smaller tummies, you will need to feed your baby frequently.

Your baby may only be able to take an ounce of milk in the first few days after birth, but this may gradually increase to three to four ounces per day before your baby clocks three months old.

In addition to the smaller tummy, your baby may have a small and underdeveloped oesophageal valve. This valve is in charge of transferring food to your baby’s stomach.

However, because it is small and underdeveloped, it may spit frequently. Because your baby’s kidneys will be immature, a mother must adhere to her baby’s feeding schedule to ensure that the baby receives adequate nutrients, is hydrated, and there is no electrolyte imbalance.

Read: How much weight should a baby gain in the first month?

When Do Babies Stomach Mature?

By stomach in this context we mean the digestive system and tract of your baby and it gets fully matured at the age of 6 months.

However, health experts believe that full development occurs between 6-9 months.

During this period all the enzymes responsible for the digestion of starch are produced in large quantity at 6 months, also bile salts and lipase that helps in the digestion of fat mature.

You can also begin introducing various kinds of solid food into your baby’s diet after consulting with your pediatricians.

Why Avoid Solid Foods Until 6 Months?

When you eat, you may be tempted to give your baby a morsel of food.

However, if your baby is under the age of six months, this may not be a good idea simply because his digestive system may not be ready or prepared for the same no matter how eager or ready your baby may be.

Until your baby is six months old, his body will not be efficient enough to produce the appropriate amount of enzymes to digest starch in food.

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Furthermore, bile salts and lipase, which aid in fat digestion, do not mature until six to nine months of age. Your baby will have an ‘open gut’ by four to six months of age.

This gut will allow the proteins to pass from the small intestine to the bloodstream in their entirety.

This will also help antibodies from mother’s milk enter the bloodstream; however, if large molecules of food or other pathogens pass through it, allergies or infections may occur.

Signs That Your Baby’s Stomach is Mature Enough for Solid Food

Before you can introduce solid food to your baby, there are signs that you should look at whose presence can serve as a pointer or indicator that your baby’s stomach may be mature enough to handle solid food.

When you notice that your baby can sit and support him or herself and these are done constantly without support, it is a pointer that his stomach has become matured enough for solid foods.

Also when you notice that your baby seems interested in food and can open and close his or her mouth at will, then it could be a sign that your baby’s stomach is ready for solid food.

When introducing solid food to your baby, please ensure that you start with baby-friendly food like infant cereals, baby food like pap, pureed food, and finger food.

Your baby may not be comfortable with the taste of the solid food for the first few days but do not be disappointed, this is expected.

Soon your baby’s taste bud would become accustomed to the taste of such food.

Read: Healthy finger foods for babies and toddlers

Common Digestive System Problems in Babies

Your baby may be experiencing some digestive problems probably as a result of what you have eaten or as a result of a wide range of other causes.

Some of the digestive problems your baby may have are:

Colitis

This occurs when your baby’s intestine becomes irritated as a result of exposure to certain proteins in their diet and could be from the mother’s diet if the baby is a breastfed one or from the formula consumed.

Intolerance to mother’s diet

This digestive system problem occurs when a baby reacts to what his or her mother eats.

Such reaction makes the baby fussier and gassier than normal and it is more pronounced in breastfed babies

Constipation

This is difficulty in bowel movement and can be as a result of the use of certain medication, poor health or nutrition

Other common digestive problems in babies include spitting up or dribbling milk with burps after each feed.

Tips to Help Care for Your Baby’s Digestive Health

Spitting up, tummy pain, colic, and other digestive issues are very common in the first few months after your child’s birth.

But don’t panic all these are very common issues that almost all babies may face due to an underdeveloped digestive system.

However, we have some suggestions to help you take care of your baby’s digestive health.

1. Breastfeed

Your breast milk is filled with nutrients whose activities in the body help to regulate your baby’s digestive system.

While your baby’s stomach continues its journey of development, the breast milk you feed your baby serves as a great source of nutrient and also help in building antibodies.

It also contains the enzyme lipase that breaks down fats and also the presence of prebiotics and probiotics have been established in human breast milk and formula.

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As a result, you must breastfeed your baby for at least six months. It has also been demonstrated that exclusively breastfed babies are less likely to develop digestive, respiratory, or other health complications.

2. Gradually introduce solid foods

When your baby reaches the age of six months, you can start giving him solid foods. However, avoid adding too many foods at the same time.

Begin by gradually introducing one food at a time, with the new food added after a four to the five-day gap.

Keep an eye on how your baby’s digestive system reacts to it. Apples, broccoli, banana, and cereals such as rice, ragi, and suji are some of the foods you can start with.

You can begin introducing wheat gradually, starting around eight months or later.

3. Look out for food allergies

Make a note of any allergies or food sensitivities your baby may have, as they may have an impact on his digestive health.

As a result, it is critical, to begin with, one food item at a time to determine if a specific food item is the source of the food allergy.

If your baby is allergic to any food, avoid giving him or her any food preparation that may contain that food item.

Some infants are lactose intolerant, have nut allergies, or are allergic to eggs. So you monitor your baby.

Now that you know when your baby’s digestive system develops, introduce solid foods to him once you’re confident that his digestive tract is fully developed.

Do not forget to seek the advice of your pediatrician before beginning any type of solid food for the first time, as your doctor may be able to better guide you on how to better feed solid foods to your baby.

Read: Best Formula For Acid Reflux and Gas

Other FAQ’s

What are the best foods for a baby till his or her stomach matures?

The answer is breast milk! Human breast milk is enriched with a lot of healthy nutrients in the body. These healthy nutrients help to regulate your baby’s digestive system.

If unfortunately, you’re not producing enough milk or can’t breastfeed then you can try giving your baby infant formula.

How do babies grind food without teeth?

Baby’s gum is capable of mashing soft solid food and while the gum is in the business of mashing and chewing, the saliva in his or her mouth contains enzymes that are breaking down the food as well.

All you have to do is to make sure that the food is soft enough for his or her age and also ensure that the consumption of such food is appropriate for his age too.

Read: How To Tell If Baby Will Be Right Or Left Handed (6 Helpful Signs)

Wind Up

I am sure that your question of when do babies stomach mature has been answered and I am sure you know by now that it gets fully matured at the age of 6 months.

Since health experts believe that full development occurs between 6-9 months.

Remember that until your baby clocks 6 months, you shouldn’t give your baby solid food because the system lacks the right amount of enzymes that aids digestion.

An enzyme responsible for the digestion of starch is produced in large quantity at 6 months, also bile salts and lipase that helps in the digestion of fat mature at the 6th month.