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5 developmental signs that your baby is ready for solids

Introducing solid foods to your baby is an exciting milestone in their development. As a parent, you want to make sure your little one is ready and receptive to this new adventure in eating. While each child is different, there are some common signs that can indicate your baby is prepared for the transition from exclusive breastfeeding or formula to the world of solids.

There are key developmental signs of readiness a baby must display before starting solids. Current guidelines state that complementary foods should not be introduced until the baby is 6 months and that breastmilk or formula still remains the primary source of nourishment for the first 12 months of a baby’s life. And although babies develop at different ages, 6 months as a guideline is when the largest majority of babies meet these readiness signs.

It is recommended to delay the introduction of solids until a baby has met all of the developmental signs of readiness. These signs include:

 1. Can sit up unassisted

2. Lost the tongue thrust reflex

3. Developed pincer grasp

4. Shows signs of fullness

5. Eager to participate in mealtime

1)  Can sit up without support (i.e. unassisted for a period of time)

One of the first and most crucial signs of readiness is when your baby can sit up without any assistance. When they can maintain a stable sitting position, it is an indicator that they have enough core strength to sit up and that their digestive system is mature enough to digest food. It shows that their core muscles are strong enough to handle the chewing and swallowing motions required for solid foods.

(2)  Has lost the tongue thrust reflex

Babies will instinctively do this when something unfamiliar is placed in their mouth and will automatically push it out with their tongue. It’s a very clever safety mechanism that protects infants against choking. However, when they are ready for solids, this reflex diminishes, allowing them to move food to the back of their mouth and swallow it efficiently. When a baby can do this, it indicates that they are ready and willing to chew food.

(3)  Developed a pincer grasp

This means that the baby has moved away from grabbing objects with the palm of the hand and now begins to grab with their thumb and forefinger. This fine motor skill is vital for self-feeding and exploring different textures and tastes.

NB:// This may not be exclusively used and likely developed a few months after starting solids, but it may be noticed in other everyday situations such as when picking toys from the ground.

(4)  Able to turn head and indicate signs of fullness

This is a sign that baby can actively participate and properly express signs of fullness and disinterest such as turning their head away from the food and letting us know as parents that mealtime is over.

(5)  Eager to participate in mealtimes

This is a sign that the baby is becoming more noticeably aware of food, this will be displayed as grabbing at food and showing a keen interest to actively participate in mealtimes. Babies are remarkably perceptive, and they love to imitate their parents or older siblings. If your little one shows enthusiasm and eagerness during mealtime, it's a strong indication that they are ready to join in on the family dining experience and explore new tastes.

NB:// This sign should only be considered once the above signs of readiness have been met as babies instinctively put a lot of objects in their mouth out of curiosity. We do not want to confuse this as a false sign of readiness.

In summary…

If you've noticed these signs in your baby, then this indicates that your baby’s intricate system is ready and mature enough for the introduction of solid foods.

Remember that each baby develops at their own pace. There is no ‘set’ age to introduce complementary foods. Starting solids should not be rushed. It is recommended to wait until baby has exhibited all the developmental signs of readiness for both nutritional and developmental reasons before beginning their solid food journey.

Remember, every baby is unique, and it's essential to pay attention to their cues.

If you're unsure about the best approach to introduce solids or need guidance on creating a balanced and nutritious meal plan for your little one, book a FREE discovery call with Mother Nurtured here

Fiona Agius
Holistic Nutrition Consultant

The information provided in this blog is for your personal or other non-commercial, educational purposes. It should not be considered as medical or professional advice. We recommend you consult with a GP or other healthcare professional before taking or omitting to take any action based on this blog. While the author uses best endeavours to provide accurate and true content, the author makes no guarantees or promises and assumes no liability regarding the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of the information presented. The information, opinions, and recommendations presented in this blog are for general information only and any reliance on the information provided in this blog is done at your own risk. Any third-party materials or content of any third-party site referenced in this blog/article/handout do not necessarily reflect the author’s opinion, standards, or policies and the author does not assume any liability for them whatsoever.


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