Signs of Readiness to Start Solids

I know many parents & caregivers who are really excited to get started with solids but one of the most important factors is that your BABY is also ready to get started.

Being developmentally ready for solids is SO important! This helps to ensure safer swallowing.

If you are wondering if your baby is ready for solids, look for these 5 Signs of Readiness:

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Loss of Tongue Thrust Reflex

The “Tongue Thrust Reflex” – also known as the extrustion reflex- is a natural reflex that all humans are born with as a protection mechanism. This reflex makes babies tongue automatically push out anythign solid which is impoant in the early oth as babies muscles aren’t developed engout to swallow anything other than liquid.

This reflex generally begins to fade around 4-6 months old.

How do I know if my baby has lost their tongue thrust reflex?

If you place your finger, a spoon, or a toy at your baby’s lips and their tongue automattially comes to the front of their mouth to push it out, they still have their tongue thrust reflex!

Having this natural response to push things out would make trying to eat difficult which is why the loss of this is important for feeding.

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Bring Items to Their Mouth 

Pretty self explanatory, but babies need to be able to bring items to their mouth to self feed. Don’t expect them to have great coordiantion!

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Able to Sit Unassisted

This ensures safer swallowing as your baby has more control and stability of their upper body! Their highchair will provide support while eating they do need to be able to maintain stability on their own which means being able to sit up on their own for at least 45-60 seconds.

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At least 6 months old (adjusted age for premies)

This is the CURRENT (and recently updated) recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Before 6 months of age, breathing or formula will meet ALL of a baby’s nutritional needs. After 6 months is when their iron needs increase drastically so iron-rich foods can help meet those needs.

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Interest in What Their Caregiver is Eating 

All of these things won’t happen at exactly the same time. That’s normal!

But it’s important to wait until your baby is showing all the signs and is developmentally ready for solid food to help ensure safer swallowing & more enjoyable mealtimes! 

If your child has not met the signs of readiness by closer to 7 months old, consult your pediatrician.

Learning to eat takes time and practice so once your baby does start eating solids, do not be surprised if it doesn’t look like what you imagined. Self-feeding requires practice so each opportunity to eat will be a chance for your child to build and hone their skills.

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But what about teeth?

Many parents and caregivers are surprised to find out that teeth are NOT required for learning to eat solid foods! When preparing a baby’s food, it is important to make sure it is soft enough by checking to see if you can easily smash it between two fingers.

We call this the “smoosh” test. If it passes the “smoosh” test, then a baby with no teeth can still safely eat it! 

**The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. For more information please read our full disclaimer here.**

Published by snackswithjax

Sarah is the creator and mom behind "Snacks with Jax", a social media community of over 85,000 parents/caregivers, where she shares her son's meals, nutrition information, and evidence-based tips for feeding children. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist with a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition emphasizing in Wellness from Texas Woman's University and years of experience as a culinary instructor working with ages 2+. She has coached hundreds of parents & caregivers through the journey introducing solids to babies and also navigating picky eating with toddlers and older children. Her focus is on establishing a life-long healthy relationship with food for children while also empowering, encouraging, and educating their adult caregivers.

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