If your baby is now several months old, you are probably starting to think about how and when you should start her on solid foods. You might begin to research or ask your pediatrician. Once you start asking, you will see there are many opinions and this can be confusing. Most go by chronological age, somewhere between 4 months and up to as old as a year. Since every baby is different, every baby can show signs of readiness at different times. One important thing to note is babies only NEED formula and/or breast milk to be healthy for the first year of life. “Just for fun until they’re one!” is a good rule of thumb. However exploring foods before that is a good way to help your baby adjust to new smells, tastes and textures so she will be less likely to refuse solids later, due to inexperience. Here are five signs your healthy baby is ready to explore the world of solid foods, from the mouths of babes:
- I can sit up all by myself. You can sit me on the floor and I can keep my balance easily without support
- I don’t cough, choke or gag on my bottle/the breast when I am nursing/bottling
- I am interested in YOUR food
- I can easily turn my head away from something I do not want near my face
- I move my head toward the spoon and open my mouth when you offer a bite
If a spoon is not accepted at first, try just putting a spoonful of puree’d food on the high chair tray and let her explore it with her hands independently. Do not introduce hard dry or crunchy solid food (cereal/crackers/cookies/puffs) until most puree’s are mastered and easily swallowed.