It can be challenging to know when a baby is ready to wean and start eating solid foods. There are several signs that parents can look for that will let them know that their baby is heading in that direction. There is no one set time span in which a baby will reach these milestones, but there is a typical time that they might show readiness.
From sitting up independently to showing more interest in food, these indications can alert moms and dads that it could be time to introduce semi-soft solids. Please enjoy this list of 10 Signs Your Baby Is Ready To Wean From Breastfeeding.
10 Sitting Up Independently
One sign that your baby is ready to wean is if they can sit up on their own. Sitting is required for a little one to be able to handle eating solid foods. This usually happens when a baby is six months old, but don’t worry if your infant doesn’t hit this milestone at that exact month.
Every baby is on their own track. A mom also shouldn’t feel obligated to wean their baby from breast or bottle just because they have the ability to sit up independently. This is just an important precursor to weaning, so be on the lookout.
9 Hand, Eye, & Mouth Coordination
There are a few skills that have to line up before a baby is ready to be weaned. Be watchful for your little one to master and hand, mouth, and eye coordination. Most babies will begin grasping objects and putting them in their mouths at about 4-months-old. This is a great first step but they have a bit more to go.
A few months later, at around the 6-month mark, they should gain more control of their tongue and begin to show easiness of swallowing. Once these three skills line together, it could be time to think about weaning and starting solid foods.
8 Showing An Interest In Food
If you’re wondering if it’s time to wean your baby, then you should be aware of this next signal that your baby will present. Once they start showing an interest in food, they could be ready to start eating solids. Maybe they act curious and light up when they see food placed on the table.
Other little ones will make a fuss when people around them eat foods because they are frustrated that they aren’t being offered a bite. Either way, their interest will suddenly shift to food. Once you see your baby reach this stage, they’re getting closer to being ready.
7 Hunger After Feeding
It’s challenging to know just when the right age is to shift your baby’s focus to solid foods. There are signs that will tell you that it’s time to stop breastfeeding. One thing to be aware of is if your little one is still hungry after feeding.
Although many infants are hungrier during growth spurts at younger ages, if they are 6-months or older and seem like they just can’t get enough nutrition, that’s a good sign that they are reading to move to solids. Just don’t feel obligated to stop breastfeeding when solids are introduced.
6 Holding Head Upright
There is no timetable when it comes to weaning your baby but there are several skills to be watchful for. One of the signs that weaning is on the horizon is when your baby can hold their head upright. This typically happens when a baby is 4-months-old, but don’t panic if it takes your baby longer to reach this milestone.
Once they reach around 6-months-old, their head and neck muscles should be strong and steady. This is a good signal that it’s nearing time for your baby to eat solid foods and move towards weaning from the breast or bottle.
5 Ability To Swallow Food
Perhaps the most crucial sign that a baby must present before they are ready to wean is the ability to swallow. Most little ones develop this skill at the 6-month mark, but each baby comes to it at their own time. Start feeding them starter foods so they can master swallowing, and then move on to lumpier foods.
This will help your baby learn how to move the food around their mouth and prepare them for swallowing finger foods in the future. The ability to swallow is a big step that means your baby is probably ready to wean.
4 Doubled In Birthweight
When a baby doubles their birth weight, it could be a sign that they could be ready to wean soon. You can expect your infant to reach this important milestone when they are around 5-months-old. As we’ve said before, don’t stress if your baby is older when they double in weight.
Once they do, this signal lets you know that your infant is on track to be introduced to semi-soft foods. You can expect their birthweight to triple by the time they reach their first birthday but there is no set time that you need to stop breastfeeding your baby, despite their weight gain.
3 Wanting To Feed More Often
If your baby is exclusively breastfed then be watchful for how frequently they want to nurse. Many little ones cluster-feed when they are having a growth spurt. Yet, if your baby is around 6-months-old and they show signs of wanting to breastfeed more often, it may be time to think about weaning them.
This is just a signal that they might be ready to start eating solids and is not necessarily a sign that they are ready to stop breastfeeding altogether. There really is not a set timeframe when it comes to stopping nursing and it’s different for each baby.
2 Mouthing Toys Or Hands
Many babies will begin to put their toys or their hands in their mouths when they are getting ready to wean. This milestone usually appears when they are 4-months-old or older. This is a big sign of readiness for solids. Be aware that it can also mean that they are teething.
Yet, this crucial skill is so important when it comes to a baby’s ability to handle softer solids. Of course, they will still need to master the act of swallowing before they’re ready to be fully weaned but chewing on objects is a big signal that it’s coming soon.
1 Opens Mouth While Others Are Eating
Perhaps the most adorable sign that your baby is ready to wean is if they open their mouths when they watch other people eat. Be watchful of your baby during mealtimes, especially if they are 6-months or older.
If they track your food and pop open their lips when you take a bite, they are getting ready to wean. This signals that they are aware of solid food and are curious about what it would be like to eat it. If you see other signs from this list, it may be time to spoon softer foods to your baby at the dinner table.