Since the holidays are just around the corner, you may be wondering if your child is ready to grab a plate and join you at the buffet! While there is no clear-cut age to start introducing solid foods, most young children independently begin to show signs that they’re ready to move past their typical pureed diet around the same time. You may receive the green light from your pediatrician to begin introducing solids, but also but watch for these signs, as these may indicate that your child is ready to move on.
Signs Your Baby Is Ready To Eat Solids:
1. Your child is gaining more gross motor control. When your child is able to demonstrate adequate head control as well as stabilize their trunk when sitting, they are typically ready to tolerate a more complex repertoire of foods. While your child does not have to independently be able to sit on their own, they should be able to maintain an upright position when placed in a highchair without slouching or falling over.
2. Your child begins to show interest in what you are eating. Many young children may begin to watch others intently during meal times, any they may even attempt to grab items off of your plate! Young children may also become more interested in self-feeding, and your child may start to reach for the spoon when hungry, attempt to drink from your cup, bring a cracker or
cookie to their mouth, or place their hands on the bottle when feeding.
3. Your child demonstrates more oral-motor control. The most apparent sign that your child is ready for foods is when they lose the tongue thrust reflex. Rather than immediately pushing foods out of their mouth with their tongue, your child should be better able to manage the foods inside their mouth. Also, when your child begins to present with more tongue movement, such as back-and-forth and up-and-down when a spoon is introduced, they are indicating that they are also ready to move on.
4. Your child is on track for meeting feeding milestones. Observe your child’s behavior at play, as there are many signs to indicate that they are ready for a change in their diet. Some of these behaviors may include: an increase in hand-to-mouth play as demonstrated by orally exploring with objects, anticipation of spoon feedings, the transferring toys from one hand to another, the ability to “rake” toys and foods towards themselves, and the emergence of the pincer grasp.
5. Your child starts to not appear “satisfied” after breast or bottle feeds. During certain ages, children may insist on eating more than they typically would, but note that significant changes in their feeding patterns could also be related to a growth spurt. Some pediatricians will indicate that once children have doubled their birth weight, most children are ready to be introduced to solids.
Even though your child may present with many of the signs, they may still not be ready to tolerate the transition. Just remember to be patient, and speak with your pediatrician about any concerns you may have about moving to solid foods.