For the first four to six months of your little one’s life all they need is breast milk or formula. But around this time they may begin to show signs that they’re ready to take the next step in their feeding journey and start their first foods.
When is your baby ready for first foods?
So how do you know if your baby is ready for first foods, and what signs should you look for?
- Lost their tongue thrust reflex
- This reflex is essential for babies to feed well from the breast or bottle. To eat from a spoon your baby needs to lose this reflex so they can develop a new set of feeding skills. If your little one pushes food out of their mouth with their tongue, they’re not ready for solids.
- Sitting well with support and have good head and neck control
- Good upper body control is an important developmental sign of readiness for solids. It means your baby is able to focus on learning the fine motor skills they need to bite, chew and swallow solid foods.
- Interest in what you are eating
- Babies are naturally curious around this age, so an interest in food is not enough to determine solids readiness on its own. But, it may be an early sign. If interest is high but your little one is not quite ready to eat, foster their curiosity. Bring them to the table at meal times. There is much to learn about the social aspects of eating regardless of whether it involves food or not.
For your baby to successfully take those first steps with solid food it’s important they show all the signs of readiness. If you’re uncertain, try them with a spoon of smooth puree. If the food comes back out, there’s fussiness and or interest to try further, then you know you need to wait. Try again in another week or two. Once you see an easy swallow and interest for more you know you’re on your way, so cover the floor be prepared for the mess and enjoy the ride!
Check out these articles for more advice on how to ease your child into their first foods!