Home > Baby > Baby Development > Is Your Baby Ready for Solid Foods?

Is Your Baby Ready for Solid Foods?

   PRINT

The American Pediatric Association recommends not starting solids until 6 months. But some doctors say it’s OK to start earlier. So what is the right time for your baby to start solids? The short answer: It depends. Take our quiz and find out if your baby is ready?

1. Has your baby doubled his birth weight?

a baby messily being fed food

On average, babies tend to double their birth weight between four and six months, so this can be a sign that your baby is ready for solids. But there are a lot of other factors you need to look at before you decide to give your baby solid foods - especially the question of whether his digestive tract is mature enough to handle solids. (And by the way, just because your baby is big, it doesn’t mean that you can't produce enough breast milk to nourish him. Your body will figure out what he needs and provide it.)

2. Is your baby interested in your food?

a mom feeding her baby

If your baby isn’t following your fork's journey to your mouth with her gaze or trying to grab the mashed potatoes from your plate, she’s not interested in solid food. Wait till she shows some interest, then try this quiz again - bookmark it now!

3. Can your baby hold her head up and sit up with little or no help?

a young girl eating food from a bowl

All moms are busy. Moms of two or more are non-stop multitaskers. With a new baby comes a gazillion additional chores—diaper changes, feedings, baths, laundry, doctor's appointments, etc.—piled onto a mom's already chaotic day. From sun-up to sun-down, it's always go-time.

4. Has your baby lost his tongue-thrust reflex?

a baby looking up as his mom spoon feeds him

The tongue-thrust reflex, also called extrusion reflex, results in your infant automatically pushing things out of his mouth with his tongue (researchers assume this reflex came about so babies could protect themselves from choking). Your baby's oral development and digestive tract development go hand in hand, so this is an important sign. Once this reflex disappears, he’ll be able to swallow cereal and purees with ease, and he should be able to digest them, too.

If he still has the reflex, he’ll just push food right back out. Test whether your baby still has his by putting something - a blob of cereal, a spoon - on his tongue and see if he automatically sticks it out. If he doesn’t, he's lost his reflex. If he also makes chewing motions with his mouth when you put a little food in it, he might be ready.

5. Does your baby let you know when she's full up and doesn't want more milk?

a baby looking bored while being fed

When a baby is nursing or bottle-feeding, she is doing the work of taking in the milk - and so she can determine how much she eats. But a baby who is being fed solids by Mom is more passive. That's why it's important that your infant can let you know when she’s full - it's how she'll self-regulate the amount of food she eats. This helps stop her from overeating when someone continues to feed her, thinking that she’s still hungry.

6. Is your baby developing a 'Princer Grasp'?

a baby looking bored while eating

Your baby develops fine motor control in stages: First he learned to “rake” things toward him with his whole hand; the next step was grasping food or other objects between his thumb and forefinger - a.k.a. the pincer grasp. Being able to do this can be a sign that he’s ready for solid food.

7. Is your baby hungry between feedings?

a young boy covered in spaghetti

Aagghh! You thought you had the feeding thing down, but your baby is starting to get fussy between feedings and might also wake up in the middle of the night again. Is that a sign that she’s ready for solids? It certainly could be, but it could also mean that she’s teething, ill or having a growth spurt (they generally occur between months 3 and 4, 6 and 7, and 9 and 10).

If it’s teething or an illness, you’ll know very soon. To figure out whether it’s a growth spurt, offer your baby the breast or bottle more frequently for three or four days and see if she goes back to normal. If she does, she’s probably not ready for solids. (By the way, contrary to popular understanding, solids don’t make your baby sleep longer, and putting cereal in the baby bottle is not a good idea.)

 
3PREVIOUS ARTICLE BABY
 
   PRINT