Feeding | Sign of Readiness for Solids
Episode 9 | Signs of Readiness for Solids
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So number one: your baby is between four to six months of age. We don't want to introduce foods to babies younger than four months and often I hear mums saying to me that they want to start giving food because their babies seemed keen, or they think they're hungry because they're not sleeping through the night. Your baby isn't ready to digest food prior to the age of four months. And in my opinion, and in my observation, lots of babies, it's actually happening that signs of readiness are happening closer to six months. Giving food to a baby that doesn't have the digestive enzymes to break down the food is a recipe for disaster and it can actually cause more issues with their sleep, with their behaviour and their growth, then thinking that introducing foods is going to help all of the above. So waiting, for between four to six months of age, and try not to exceed on the other hand, six months, because we want babies to start having complimentary foods, around six months of age, so that they can begin to work towards family foods and independent eating. And because for a breastfed baby, certain nutrients such as iron, are low in breast milk, and so babies need to start getting those food sources and those nutrients through food sources once they hit six months.
Sign number two: your baby can hold their head steady while sitting. So a baby who is able to hold their head up well when sitting, even if his body needs a little bit of propping up, is generally one of the signs for solids readiness. And the reason being is that your baby needs to be able to stand up straight and have their head and neck not hunched over, and have the neck tucking into the chest, because you could imagine how trying to swallow, when a baby has their chin tucked into their chest, is really quite dangerous, and it's going to prevent them being able to swallow effectively, and can in fact lead to choking. So we want babies to be able to sit up tall so that they're best able to swallow and then digest their food.
Sign number three: your baby is eyeing or reaching for your food. So this might start with them just taking a little bit of interest in what you're eating and then watching the process of you putting your fork in and popping the food in your mouth and chewing and they're learning, and so as a side note to all of this is making sure that your baby is present at your meal times is key for them actually understanding the whole process of learning how to eat. When your baby gets to the point that they are trying to reach out and grab your sandwich off your hands, that is a sure fire sign that they are ready to rock and roll with food.
Sign number four: your baby opens wide at the sight of a spoon coming. So again, a great sign of readiness is if they have shown keenness and you actually go to offer them a spoonful of something that you're eating and they happily open their mouth. That is definitely a sign that they are keen to get started on food and it would absolutely be a great time, in combination with the other signs, to get started on offering some foods.
And last but not least, your baby is not purposefully sticking out their tongue. So, this is sometimes a trickier one to observe because sometimes it's not until you try and offer food that you notice the thrust reflex. So this reflex is literally, as the name says, when something's put in their mouth, your baby will naturally poke their tongue out as a reflex, and so you can imagine that if you're trying to offer food, what this is going to look like is them perhaps taking it in their mouth and then just poking out their tongue and spitting out the food. If your baby's doing this, then chances are they aren't quite ready to start on food, so now's a good time to just delay it until you're starting to see a nice combination of the other signs that I've spoken about.
Anyway, I hope that has been useful. I would love to hear about when you started to introduce foods for your baby, so make sure you head on over to my Instagram or Facebook @jenbutlerearlyparenting and pop me a DM and tell me what you noticed your baby doing prior to starting on food. Anyway, that's it from me today, I'll be back here with a new episode next week, so can't wait to join you then. See Ya.
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