Is Your Baby Ready for Solids? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

4-9 Months

Starting your baby on solid foods (anything other than breaskmilk or formula) is an exciting time! Between 4 and 6 months, your baby will show you when she’s ready. Just make sure she meets all the milestones on our checklist, then get ready for this new adventure!

1

What’s the right age for solids?

No need to rush it. Your baby should be at least 4 to 6 months old to start eating solids. Up until then, his little digestive system isn’t done developing. Starting solids too early can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, gas and constipation—not fun for baby or you. It can also cause more serious future problems, like food allergies, diabetes, eczema and obesity. He needs good body control, a ready mouth and interest in eating solids. 

2

How much body control does she need?

Before you start feeding your infant solids, make sure:

She can sit with support. Try slumping down in your chair while taking a bite and swallowing. It’s a struggle! Your baby will have an easier time learning to eat if she has the strength to sit up. 

She has good head and neck control. This is important because it means baby can communicate with you. Watch for her feeding cues: She’ll lean toward the spoon to show she’s still hungry and turn her head away, telling you she’s full. 

3

Is her mouth ready?

New babies don’t have the mouth control they need to eat solids. Before giving her baby food, make sure:

She can open her mouth wide enough for the spoon and close her mouth around it. And that brings up another tip: Always offer baby food from a spoon, not from a bottle. Eating from a bottle can make your baby gag and inhale food into her lungs. Using a spoon also helps her learn to eat food, rather than drink it.

She can move food from the spoon into her mouth and swallow, without pushing it back out. All babies are born with a “tongue thrust reflex,” nature’s way of keeping food out of her mouth before her body is ready for it. If she automatically pushes food out, it’s too soon for solids!

4

What if she's not interested in solids?

Your baby might meet all the feeding milestones, but still not be interested in eating. That’s fine. Just wait a few days and try again.

Starting solids is a fun and exciting time, but doing it before baby is ready can make it frustrating for both of you. Your baby instinctively knows what’s best for her, so let her show you when it’s time to start. Breastmilk or formula is still providing all the nutrition your baby needs right now, so don’t feel like you need to rush.