It’s coming to that VERY exciting time for me when I start thinking about introducing solid foods to my little boy. For me this is such a big deal: putting into practice important aspects of child nutrition – a big part of what I’ve discussed throughout my entire career.
I’m planning on following my own advice but, even more importantly, I’m also planning on having fun and experimenting with his first foods. As with my own experience with breastfeeding , I’m really interested to see how the advice actually works in a practical sense. I’m always up for learning more and reviewing my advice, and am hoping that I’ll find new snippets of practical advice throughout my ‘weaning’ journey too.
Signs baby is ready for solid foods
Firstly I need to know when my little boy is ready for his first tastes of solid food. It can be a bit of a minefield for mums who are trying to work this out as there is fairly mixed advice. At the moment the current advice recommends that we start introducing solid foods at around 6 months, and that the 3 signs below are useful indicators that a baby is ready for his/her first tastes:
- They should be able to stay in a sitting position and hold their head and neck steady.
- They should be able to co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all by themselves.
- They should be able to swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out with their tongue, so they get more round their face than they do in their mouths.
Really importantly though, you want to look out for multiple signs over time and not just one of these signs on one occasion. https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/first-foods
In practice – what other signs may I see?
There are other signs which are often mistaken for signs of readiness to wean, or which can, in reality, mean other things. For example, right now my little boy is paying a great deal of attention to what I’m eating and drinking. He watches me eat with fascination and even reaches out to grab my food. This is simply him learning, watching and taking an interest. Of course it’s also helping him to learn the process of eating and getting him engaged in food, and so it’s something that should be encouraged, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are ready to start having solid foods themselves.
Others often feel that a baby waking more during the night is a sign of readiness. However at around 4 months of age, many babies hit a sleep regression and so it’s actually very normal for their patterns of sleep to change. https://www.babysleepsite.com/how-we-sleep/4-month-old-sleep-regression/
Lastly, many parents feel that their baby may be hungrier than normal, and this leads them to want to start offering solid foods. It may be that your little one is growing and does need more nutrition. However it’s a good idea to try offering an extra feed or a little more milk before jumping straight to starting solids if your baby is younger than 6 months.
If you’ve noticed these signs in combination with some of the ‘official’ signs of readiness above, then it may well be time to start introducing your baby to their first solid foods. Just always make sure that your baby is over 17 weeks before offering anything other than milk and delay the introduction of allergen risk foods (fish, eggs, nuts etc) to after 6 months of age.
I’ll be posting more about my weaning journey on my blog and on my social media pages:
So make sure you follow and, as always, please do send in any questions.