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10 Signs The Baby Isn’t Ready For Solid Foods (And 5 Signs It’s Time)

10 Signs The Baby Isn’t Ready For Solid Foods (And 5 Signs It’s Time)

One milestone that can cause lots of stress is when your baby begins to eat solids. Your mind goes all over the place with questions: “What should be the very first food that my baby eats?” “Should I make my own baby food?” “Does everything need to be organic?” “Is baby led weaning right for me?” But, before you start dreaming of vitamin and mineral rich purees and a menu of gourmet finger foods, you first have to ask yourself the most important question: is my baby ready for solids?

As every baby develops at a different pace, there is no precise date at which it is OK to give your baby food for the first time. As a result, this waiting period can be a source of excitement and anxiety as you wait for the “perfect” time to introduce your baby to solid foods.

Contrary to what you think and what you may have read or heard, some signs that baby is ready for solids can actually give you false encouragement. On the other hand, you might want to wait until your baby is showing several signs of readiness. Here are 10 misleading signs that baby isn’t quite ready for solids, and 5 signs that let you know that baby may be indeed ready for the next major milestone.

15 Reaches For Food

You might think that reaching for mama’s food is a sure sign that your baby is ready for solids. After all, he’s seen you eat countless times, and now he’s definitely showing you that he’s ready to try, too. But before you rush off to mash some bananas for baby’s lunch, consider that your baby might not be ready for solids, yet.

Reaching out for mama’s things is commonly thought of as one of the biggest signs that a baby is ready for solids. But, you may be mistaken. Remember that by the time a baby is around 4 to 6 months of age, they are interested in everything, and this includes your toast, fingers, iPhone, whatever is within arms’ reach. So, hold off for now and wait a bit longer before sharing breakfast with baby.

14 Fist Is Always In The Mouth

Generally speaking, increased feedings usually accompany growth spurts. These increased feedings are also known as “cluster-feeding.” Common times for these growth spurts happen around 1 to 3 weeks, 3 to 6 weeks, 6 to 8 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 9 months. Babies don’t understand what’s going on inside their tiny bodies, but they know something is happening- and they certainly don’t like it! Extra cuddles from mom and nursing on demand just seems to be the easiest way for a baby to deal with a growth spurt.

A growth spurt is the source of your baby’s irritability and longing for some TLC from mama. Once it’s over, you might see baby showing off some new skills. And, pretty soon you might be able to introduce your baby to solids.

13 Always Wants More Milk

We don’t expect babies to sleep through the night completely. Yes, it would be nice, but we need to be realistic here. Still, when our babies wakes up at night more times than usual, it can be a source of concern. Constantly waking up at night might lead to believe that your baby wakes up in the middle of night more because they’re hungry. Before your consider introducing solids to your baby the next morning, there might be other reasons why baby isn’t settling down like usual.

It could be that teething is giving your baby problems, or your baby might also be waking up because they are cold. Any changes in routine or changing where baby sleeps can also throw off nightly sleep patterns. Lastly, don’t rule out the possibly of a cold.

12 Can’t Sleep Through The Night

We don’t expect babies to sleep through the night completely. Yes, it would be nice, but we need to be realistic here. Still, when our babies wakes up at night more times than usual, it can be a source of concern. Constantly waking up at night might lead to believe that your baby wakes up in the middle of night more because they’re hungry. Before your consider introducing solids to your baby the next morning, there might be other reasons why baby isn’t settling down like usual.

It could be that teething is giving your baby problems, or your baby might also be waking up because they are cold. Any changes in routine or changing where baby sleeps can also throw off nightly sleep patterns. Lastly, don’t rule out the possibly of a cold.

11 Is There Teeth?

This is a funny one: Obviously we use teeth to eat, so why isn’t the presence of teeth a sign that baby is ready for solid foods? Babies typically get their first tooth when they are somewhere around 4 to 7 months old, which also happens to be the time when babies are first introduced to solids.

However, some babies get their first tooth before 4 months of age and others are actually born with teeth! These teeth present at birth are called natal teeth. It’s a rare occurrence, happening in 1 out of every 2,000 births. You certainly wouldn’t introduce solids to a newborn, even if they had teeth. So, even if you see teeth peeking out from under baby’s gums, hold off on baby’s first meal, just for a little bit longer.

10 The Weight Has Doubled

This is a sign that is commonly referred when moms consider introducing baby to solids. Apparently, the reasoning behind this rule is that a baby generally doubles his or her weight by 4 to 6 months. And, by 4 to 6 months, a baby will have his or her first tooth. Therefore, a doubled birth weight means baby is ready for solids because they will have had teeth by this time.

But, if your baby had a low or above average birth weight, the time it takes to reach this “golden number” will vary greatly. After all, every baby grows and develops differently. Some babies struggle to put on weight, while others gain weight faster. Rather than obsess over a number on the scale, there are better signs that will tell you if your baby is actually ready for solids.

9 Reaches For Object

To eat, a baby will be using their tiny fingers and hands to grab food. Plus, a baby at some point will need to learn how to maneuver a spoonful of food into their tiny months. Surely being able to grab things is a sign that a baby is ready for solids.

Remember how your baby would wrap their little fingers around your finger? And at 3 months of age, a baby can play on a floor gym and reach up at objects, but the hand-eye coordination necessary for self-feeding isn’t nearly there yet.

Rather than focusing simply on your baby’s ability to grab things, take a look at their grabbing technique. If you baby is still palming things, then it might be too soon for solids. But if your baby is able to pick up large objects like blocks with little difficulty, it may be time for solids.

8 How Old?

Age ain’t nothin’ but a number…unless you’re the mama to a late bloomer. Every delayed milestone stands out when you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed. I speak from experience because I felt like I was always surrounded by babies with mouths full of teeth at six months. Meanwhile my little girl didn’t get her first tooth until she was 7 and a half months old! Still, I introduced her to solids by the time she was 5 months old. Why? Because she showed all the signs that she was ready to move to the next level.

This is why you can’t rely on age to tell you when it is the right time to introduce solids to your baby. So instead of counting down the days to your baby’s 4 month old anniversary, enjoy the moment. Your baby will definitely let you know when they’re capable of handling solids.

7 History Of Food Allergies

There’s so much conflicting information out there about when is the best time to introduce solid foods to baby. And when it comes to introducing potential allergy-causing foods like eggs, nuts, dairy products and so on, the messages are mixed.

If you have a food allergy or a history of food allergies in your family, you might wonder when is the best time to introduce your baby to solids. There is an idea that if you wait longer to introduce your baby to solids then he or she will less likely develop a food allergy.

Even specialists and experts are divided on this issue, with some even going as far as saying that waiting to introduce solids does not prevent allergies. It’s safe to say that having allergies in your family is not the most reliable sign when deciding to introduce solids to your baby.

6 What’s Your Culture?

In western countries it is common to introduce solids to a baby somewhere between 4 to 6 months of age. But around the world, there are many traditional ceremonies where a baby is introduced to solids much earlier or even later than 4 months of age. In India, there is a Hindu ritual, Annaprashana, where babies have their first taste of solid foods somewhere between 6 and 8 months of age. Meanwhile in Japan, babies have their first ceremonial meal, Okuizome, when they are 100 days old.

Now, these ceremonies are primarily for show and provide a great opportunity for the family to get together and take photos. However, it just goes to show you that there is no set time for when a baby is ready for solids.

Look out for the following signs, and you’ll have a better idea of when is a good time to introduce your baby to food.

5 Sits Up

Being able to sit up doesn’t necessarily mean that a baby should be able to sit unassisted. It’s perfectly OK if your baby still needs your support in sitting upright. However, having the ability to sit up is a major motor skill. It means that baby has enough core body strength and the stability needed for eating solid foods.When a baby can sit upright, they are in a position that allows for problem-free food swallowing and easy digestion. These two are absolutely necessary for being able to eat solids safely.

When a baby can sit upright, he or she is able to use body language to communicate with you. You will be able to read baby’s cues and determine how much to feed your baby and understand what foods your baby likes or dislikes.

4 And Holds The Head Up

A baby holding the head up unassisted is connected to being able to sit upright. When the head is tilted downwards, eating is very difficult, not to mention dangerous. Try eating or drinking with your head tilted downwards. It’s nearly impossible to do! When a baby can keep their head up, this prevents the airways from being blocked and lowers the risk of choking.

When a baby has control of his or her head and neck muscles, feeding becomes much more easier for mom, as well. You’ll no longer no need to wonder if your baby is full or needs to eat more. A baby can tell you if he wants more by leaning his head forward. A baby can also tell you she’s had enough of mushed peas and carrots by moving her head away.

3 No Longer Spits Up Food

Babies already know how to drink from a bottle or the breast, but a baby needs a completely new set of skills to eat from a spoon. When you are introducing baby to solids for the very first time, pay close attention to your baby’s reaction. If your baby immediately uses his or her tongue to reject food, you may want to hold off on solids. This reflex is called “extrusion reflex” or “tongue thrust reflex.” It simply means that a baby can not yet use their tongue to push food to the back of their mouth.

To be fair, there will be times that baby does spit out food when you are feeding him or her. But, if your baby can successfully keep food in his or her mouth, then your baby may be ready for the next milestone!

2 Opens Mouth For A Spoon

When introducing solids, a baby should be able to open their mouth when food is offered and should be able to move food to the back of the mouth and swallow. Using a spoon is a completely new experience for a baby, so it is natural that they resist eating from a spoon at first. There is no need to force a baby to open her mouth for a spoon. Simply place an empty spoon in front of your baby and see if they reach out for it or open their mouth.

If your baby opens his mouth for the spoon and then manages to close his lips around it, he may be ready to try eating from a spoon. If your baby doesn’t open his mouth for the spoon, don’t worry. Simply wait a few days and try again.

1 The Hand-Eye Is There

Obviously, you don’t expect a baby to be able to feed themselves on the very first day you introduce solids. But, being able to sync the eyes, hands, and mouth together are a critical part of eating.

From the very first day they enter the world, babies use their eyes to explore their new surroundings. At this moment babies aren’t aware that hands can be used as tools. Later on, they physically explore their world by reaching out to mommy and to move toys closer to them.

The final step in development is being able to pick up objects and successfully bring them to their mouth. So while your baby’s desire to put everything in their mouth might drive your crazy, rest assured that it’s all part of being able to eat solids one day.

Sources:
Wholesome Baby Food, Kelly Mom, Parents.com, Made For Mums, Healthline, Huffington Post

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