How you can tell your baby is ready to start their solid food journey
Giving your child their first foods is meant to be an exciting milestone in your baby’s development but with contrasting advice from well meaning family members and an abundance of information online, where here to simplify it for you.
Weaning your baby simply means introducing your baby to solid food.
It’s sometimes referred to as complementary feeding as it’s meant to continue in tandem with your infant’s main milk source.
There’s guidance and advise galore about the best way to start your baby’s feeding journey with some opting to spoon-feed purees and others who start immediately with finger foods.
We’re going to look into when the right time to wean your baby is as this is completely dependent on your child’s milestones. If you are concerned, you should always consult a doctor or health visitor.
Weaning Myth Busting
Families have been starting their weaning journey for centuries. This means most people you come into contact with, will have a piece of unsolicited advice. Here we are going to dispel some of these well-meaning mistruths.
Hand, finger, fist-chewing is a sign your baby is hungry and ready for solids
Hand, finger and fist-chewing usually begins around the four-month-mark. This is when they discover their hands and they often bring it to their mouths as a way to entertain themselves or to soothe discomfort from the first tooth breaking through.
The baby is on the lower percentile (below 25%) or higher percentile (above 75%) so start weaning early
It’s easy to think that a smaller baby could do with solid foods to make them more robust or that your milk isn’t satisfying a bigger baby. The percentile chart is just a way to show your babies size in comparison to all other babies born that year. We’re all going to grow into different size adult bodies and as long as there are no other health concerns for your child, their size is not a factor on whether they should start to wean.
Weaning onto solid foods will mean your child starts to sleep through
If only that was a certain truth! Some babies start sleeping through as early as six weeks completely satisfied with milk. Other children might not sleep through the night until 18 months old. Every child is different. Just like every adult sleeps differently too. Will get to the signs your baby is ready to wean below but this myth tends to do the rounds because by 6 months, it’s considered your baby has a big enough stomach and is physically able to sleep through the night with the food they’ve consumed throughout the day. We all know that this isn’t always the case.
Each child is individual, how can you be sure your baby is ready to start solids?
Research has shown that somewhere around the 6-month mark, your baby’s digestive tract is ready to start receiving solids but this can be earlier or even later up to 8 months. Unfortunately, you cannot easily tell when your baby has hit that milestone.
In general, there are three key-signs to look for which shows your child might be ready to start their journey onto solid foods.
All three milestones should be met to start the weaning journey.
1. Can sit up with a steady head
This doesn’t mean that your baby can sit themselves up unaided but you want to see if you can put them in a safe and secure high chair and they can retain that position with a steady head.
2. Hand-eye-mouth coordination
This means your baby is able to pick up objects and place them in their mouth. Whether it’s a dummy, a teether toy or food.
3.Baby can swallow
When you offer your baby food they open their mouth and swallow the food rather than pushing it away with their tongue.
Baby is ready to start solids so what’s next?
Next up, you need to decide what’s the best weaning method for you and your baby which we have covered in this article.
Best to stock up on some pretty cute weaning sets so you’re well equipped for the next stage.