So, your little one has almost hit the six month mark, and you’re wondering if it’s time to start introducing solid food. It can be hard to know if baby is ready to wean (and by wean, I mean start on solids - without reducing milk intake!) and when to give it a go. Ask yourself these questions:
Can your little one hold his or her head upright, without support? Head control is important in self-feeding and swallowing.
Can your little one sit upright? This can mean sitting up by themselves, or with the support of your hand or a chair back. Babies must always be sat upright to eat, to ensure they can properly swallow.
Can they get food to their mouth? If so, you will have by now experienced your little one’s desire to put everything in their mouth. It’s a natural part of learning and sensory development.
Can they swallow food? Babies are born with a tongue-thrust reflex, which causes baby to push out their tongue as an object is placed in their mouth. In early life, this keeps them safe from choking on foreign objects. As they age, they lose this reflex, which is needed for chewing and swallowing food.
Can they communicate that they’re full? Babies have a magical ability to tell us “no more, please!”, even when they’re on the breast or bottle. We’ve all experienced the first head shaking and swatting that occurs when they’ve had enough! This is a good sign that baby knows their own appetite and wants to be in the driver’s seat of when and how much they are fed. Great skills for baby led weaning :)
If the answer to all the questions above is a resounding YES! then your baby may indeed be ready to begin eating solid food. Have a look at our getting started with baby led weaning guide. Give it a go, and remember that if baby doesn’t pick it up straight away, there’s no harm in trying again later.