Feeding your baby is one of the biggest responsibilities of new parenthood. Breastfeeding is also one of the most rewarding aspects of being a new mom. The effort, love and thoughtfulness you put into breastfeeding will surely continue once your baby is ready for solids.
Breast milk is the best nutrition for your baby for the first six months of her life and should continue once solids are introduced. But when exactly should that transition happen? It differs for every baby. Today we’re reviewing signs your baby is ready for solids.
Your Baby is at least 4 Months Old
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently revised their guidelines for introducing solids to recommend beginning between four and size months depending on the baby’s readiness. But some pediatricians and breastfeeding experts still recommend exclusive breastfeeding until six months or more. One thing everyone can agree on is that solids are not appropriate for your baby’s body prior to four months of age regardless of other signs your baby is ready for solids.
Your Baby Can Sit Up with Support
Sitting up is an essential part of eating. If your baby can sit with back support without tipping to one side or flopping forwards, this is a sign of readiness. Some experts believe babies shouldn’t eat until they can sit independently without back support.
Your Baby Shows Interest in Food
Forcing food into your baby’s mouth before she is ready is not necessary, even if that’s well past six months. If your baby sees you and other family members eating and is interested in it, she’s more likely to want to try it herself. Babies that show no interest in others foods will probably not be successful eaters at that time because putting food in the mouth and chewing are mimicked motions for babies.
Your Baby Doesn’t have the Tongue Thrust Reflex
Babies are born with a reflex that causes their tongues to push things out of their mouths. This is called the Tongue Thrust Reflex. Feeding a baby who still has it will be frustrating for everyone. The Tongue Thrust Reflex usually goes away by around four months.
Your Baby is Working on the Pincer Grasp
Grasping food is imperative to your baby’s successful eating. She may not have it down perfectly at first, but she should at least be trying to grab items with her thumb and forefinger, which will be essential for picking up food and putting it her own mouth.
Your Baby Wants to Participate in Mealtimes
Family meals should be happy times of togetherness. If your baby is ready to join the group and participate in the dining experience, she’s on her way to being ready for solid foods. Not every meal will be the most pleasant experience depending on your baby’s mood or what you are serving, but most should be good times for everyone.
Sources: KellyMom & CafeMom