According to health experts, it is best to wait until your baby is around six months old before you attempt to start them on solids. Before this, babies should be exclusively breastfed or bottle-fed for the first six months of their life. Sometimes, a baby might not be ready to start solids at six months old. How do I know my baby is ready for solids?
Your baby will show developmental signs that indicate they are ready to be offered solids. Once they display these signs, and you are happy offering them some solids, it should be fine to do so.
When you should offer your baby solids will depend on the maturity of your baby’s digestive tract, and their developmental readiness to eat solids.
We can’t necessarily judge the maturity of their digestive tract, but it accepted that it is safe to wait till six months to offer solids, to avoid increased illness or other negatives resulting from introducing solids too early.
Once the six-month mark is reached, babies all show signs of readiness at a different rate, you cannot judge it on their age alone. Taking this into account, babies are ready to be offered solids anywhere between six and eight months.
Signs To Look Out For
There are certain developmental signs to look for which indicate that your baby is ready to enjoy some solids. It is best to wait until your baby displays all of these signs:
- Your baby can sit up well without any support
- Your baby has lost the tongue-thrust relax, and will not push solids out of his mouth automatically with his tongue.
- Baby is ready and wanting to chew foods.
- Your baby has a pincer grasp, where she can pick up food or other small objects between her thumb and forefinger. This does not include using the fingers to scrape food into the palm (palmar grasp).
- Your baby is wanting to participate in mealtime and shows interest in the food you eat and tries to grab it for himself.
It is also a good idea to try and pick up if your baby is spending longer breastfeeding after six months. Make sure it is not due to teething pain, illness, a growth spurt, or a change in routine. However, you need to look for all the signs to indicate your baby is ready for solids. Do not just rely on an increase in demand on feeding alone.
Should Solids Replace Milk?
It is so important to remember that you should only be offering solids, and not forcing them on your baby. The idea is to get your baby used to eating solid foods, not for solids to replace milk.
When introducing solids to your baby, it is recommended that you give them their normal milk feed before. Breastmilk or formula still needs to be their main source of nutrition. You should not rely on solids to fill them up.
Do not force solids on them, and if they don’t enjoy it, just take it slow. Offer baby-safe foods and make it a fun experience for both of you!