Sometimes it can feel like you have only just established milk feeds, then before you know it you have to start adding in solid foods too! For any parent, weaning can feel overwhelming, with so many questions - when do I start? what foods do I give my baby? what about their milk feeds?
The current guidance states that you should wait until your baby is approximately 6 months old before you introduce solid foods. This is because research shows us that babies gut is more able to cope with solid food around this time. For some babies they may be ready a little earlier and for others a little later, so knowing the 3 signs of readiness will help you identify when your baby might be ready for weaning.
They can sit up unaided - this doesn't mean they have to sit up all by themselves without support, but can sit up with a nice straight back and they have good head control. This will mean it is easier for your baby to digest their food (who wants to eat a meal slumped over?) & also reduces the risk of choking.
They have lost the tongue thrust reflex (extrusion reflex). You may have noticed when you give your baby calpol, they immediately spit it out. This is due to a primitive safety mechanism within your baby - the extrusion reflex. It is there to ensure you baby swallows nothing more than liquids whilst they are little & to stop them choking on foreign objects. Around 6 months, this reflex disappears and your baby's mouth changes shape, allowing them to chew & swallow their food safely.
They have good hand eye coordination. This means they can intentionally pick something up and take it to their mouth, supporting self feeding, which is especially important for baby led weaning.
Don't forget all babies are different and some will shown signs earlier than others but waiting for these three signs can make weaning much more straight forward & enjoyable for you and your baby. Just remember - if they are ready on the outside then they are ready on the inside.
If you want to learn more then come along to one of my Starting Solids Workshops find out more here.