Congratulations, you’re a new parent! From their first smile to their first time sleeping through the night, nothing is more gratifying than watching your child begin to check off those all-important first milestones. Another huge step in your baby’s development is the introduction of solid foods. But how do you know when they are ready to make that crucial next step? Fortunately, there are some specific developmental signs that indicate when your little one is ready raise his culinary game.
Signs That Your Baby Is Ready:
Ability to Sit Up – This is a no-brainer because if a baby cannot sit up unassisted, eating food becomes a serious choking hazard. To be safe, make sure that they can hold their head up steady and sit up on their own.
Interest in food – When you sit at the table to eat a meal does your baby stare at you intently, watch your mouth, or maybe even mimic your chewing action? This could be their way of showing interest in what you are eating. Some experts consider reaching for food a sign, too. However, keep in mind that four- to six-month olds are teething and usually putting everything in their mouth, including nonfood items.
Loss of tongue thrust reflex – This reflex allows babies to drink and swallow liquids without choking. Not sure what to look for? Simply place a piece of banana in your child’s mouth and if they push it back out with their tongue, you have just witnessed the thrust reflex in action. It’s usually gone by six months, but in some cases breastfed babies can hang onto this reflex a little longer, meaning their forays into the world of solid foods might take a little longer than formula babies.
Always remember that all babies are different and progress at varying rates. Even though they may have some of the signs mentioned above, they might not be interested in food. Some babies may start as early as four months while others may not start until as late as nine months. Watch for your child’s hunger cues and don’t try to force it. They’ll eat when they are ready.