Weaning is an exciting and important developmental stage for you and your baby. For parents doing it for the first time, here’s how to know if your little one is really ready to start weaning onto solid foods.
1. Baby can hold their head up
Baby needs to be able to keep their head steady, and be able to move it from side to side.
2. Sit upright independently
This may be sitting in a highchair or booster seat with their back supported, or being held while sitting on your lap – either way baby needs to be able to sit upright with a straight, clear passage from mouth to stomach.
3. Curious about what you’re eating
They might be eyeing up your dinner, or reaching out to grab something from your plate – a new interest in everything you eat or staring at food is generally a good sign they might be ready to explore solid foods.
4. Good coordination
Babies should be able to look or focus on a piece of food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all on their own. Equally if you see your baby attempting to put toys or their hands near or in their mouth.
5. Doubled their birth weight
It’s important that the baby is a healthy weight when you start weaning - most babies double their birth weight by around 5-6 months which is a good indicator that could be ready.
6. Wanting milk earlier than usual
Even if you have offered a larger feed to the baby, if they are still showing signs of wanting milk sooner than expected this could indicate that they are becoming hungrier and aren’t as satisfied by a milk feed.
7. Baby can swallow food
If you’ve tried them with a little spoonful of something, if the baby pushes the food back out with their tongue, they might not be ready to try more solid foods.
TIP Serve baby their first taste in the form of a veggie puree or very soft steamed veggie stick with the help of a baby blender/steamer food prep machine
Even when you start to see signs that your little one might be ready to start weaning, experts recommend that breast milk or infant formula is the sole source of nutrition for infants until around six months. Until then, your baby will get all the nutrition they need from milk. Research also shows you shouldn’t introduce solids before 4 months (17 weeks), as the baby's gut is not yet sufficiently developed to deal with foods other than breast or formula milk, as it is more susceptible to sensitivity and infection. Every baby is different, and if you think your baby may be showing signs of being ready to wean earlier than six months, speak to your healthcare professional.
This blog content is provided for general information and is in no way a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or medical professional. Please consult a healthcare professional for official advice.