When you are wondering if your baby is ready for solids it really comes down to if your baby is ready for solids. It seems simple in theory but reality is your baby has to be ready to accept and tolerate food even if you are ready to give your baby solids. There is researched criteria, which I use to determine if a baby is ready to eat, and I always tell parents that getting medical clearance from your babies doctor should happen first. Then you can rely on support from a speech pathologist who specializes in feeding to get you going. In terms of getting started some general guidelines taken from the American Academy of Pediatrics are the following:
- Medical Clearance
- When you are ready to discuss solids with your doctor. The APA encourages you to explain your feeding experiences so far. Also giving information on what your baby seems to dislike or not. Ask about strategies when introducing new food types.
- Head control postural stability
- To be able to successfully eat, babies need to have good head control and stable at their neck. They shouldn’t rely on your support to keep their head up.
- A good test of this is if they can sit upright in a highchair without any help. If they can sit up and are able to hold up their head, this is a good sign that they are ready to try something new to eat.
- Interest in food
- Before trying to give your baby any new food, see if they have an interest in it!
- Does your baby bring things to his mouth? Does your baby point or make eye contact while others are eating? Does your baby they salivate when they see others eating? How does your baby feel about food.
- Integration of reflexes
- A reflex is an automatic response, some are in our control and some are out of our control.
- One of the biggest reflexes is the tongue thrust, this should be integrated before transitioning to solid food because it is a survival reflex that causes the things (in this case food!) to be pushed out of the mouth.
More Information here on the American Academy of Pediatrics Website.
Also checkout this post “Is My Baby Ready for Solids?” for more help with baby feeding!