Is My Baby Ready For Solids?

Introducing your baby to their first taste of solids is one of the most exciting and memorable developmental milestones for your little one! It can be exciting but also quite daunting and sometimes scary as they embark on their food journey and explore different flavours and textures!

When can I introduce solids to baby?

Most babies begin to show signs that they are ready to be introduced to solids at around the 4 to 6 months mark. It’s important to remember that every baby is different and these indicators may happen at different stages. Every child is different, and as a parent, it is you who will ultimately decide what works best for you and your baby. However, health professionals unanimously recommend not to start introducing solids before 4 months. Every baby is unique and they develop at their own rate, but here are some signs to keep an eye out for that will indicate they are potentially ready to start getting a taste of solids!

What are the signs my baby’s ready for solids?

Hold their head steady

While babies are able to lift their heads from around 4 weeks of age, it’s not until they are around 4 months that they can hold it up when in a supported sitting position. This head control is generally strong and steady by the time they reach 4-6 months.

Sit with help

The muscles your baby needs to be able to hold themselves steady in a sitting position start to become strong enough from around 4 months. Initially your little one will need support but this upright posture is important to for safe solids and the prevention of choking.

Lose their tongue thrust reflex

This reflex is activated when your baby’s lips are touched, and the result is their tongue moves forward. This reflex is helpful for feeding from the breast or bottle, but if present is a sign your baby is not ready for solid foods. This reflex is often mistaken for an indication of food dislike when solids are started too early.

Show great interest in what you eat

As your baby becomes more aware of the world around them, they also tend to become more interested in food—babies ready for solids will watch you intently while you are eating often reaching and grabbing food or opening their mouths like a little bird as you eat.

Are less satisfied with only milk feeds

It’s very important that this cue is coupled with the above readiness signs as many mistake a hungry baby for one who needs to start solids. Babies commonly experience a growth spurt around the 3-4 month mark and this can see many wake at night and need to feed more often. If your little one isn’t showing any of the other signs of solids readiness then more frequent milk feeds are best to satisfy your baby’s increased needs for food.

It may take quite a while before bub happily accepts their first taste of food so do not be discouraged if bub initially dislikes it. Usually, it takes them 8-10 times of tasting before getting used to the flavours and textures. Keep on trying and don’t give up! If you are unsure about whether to introduce solids, check with your maternal health nurse.