Until they're around six months old, your baby will get all of the nourishment they need from breast milk (or infant formula). Babies will be ready for solids around six months old, but make sure you don’t introduce foods too early (before four months) because their digestive system isn’t ready.
It’s best not to leave introducing solids later than six months, as your baby could miss out on some very important nutrients they need for healthy growth. You should also seek advice if your baby was born prematurely as their timeline will be different. Here are some of the signs your baby is ready for solids:
Can I have some of yours? - they’ll start showing an interest in what you’re eating, leaning forward or even reaching out for the food on your plate.
Milk isn’t enough - you’ll notice they’re not satisfied with milk. If they’re still hungry and crying after a full milk feed that might be a sign. They might also demand more at each feed, or start to have really frequent feeds. If your baby is showing these signs before four months, it is too early to introduce solids so baby may need more frequent or larger milk feeds,
Waking at night – they start waking up hungry during the night when they used to sleep right the way through.
Open wide – they’ll often put toys or their hands up to their mouths. They’ll also open their mouths easily if you put a spoon up to their lips.
Bigger and stronger – your baby can hold their head up well and they’re roughly double their birth weight.
Extrusion reflex disappears - Your baby is born with a sucking reflex, and when it come to feeding this is what they'll use for their first few months of life. The other reflex your baby has is an extrusion reflex. This is when they'll push any food placed on their tongue out the front of their mouth. This is completely normal, and doesn't mean they don't like their food - it just means they're not capable of swallowing it yet. Somewhere between four and six months the extrusion reflex should disappear, and it's from this point that you can look at giving you baby their first solid foods.
Remember, all babies are different, and will progress at their own pace. Don’t worry if your baby decides to do things a little differently.
If your baby is showing these signs before four months, talk to your health professional. They won’t be ready for food yet, but may need more milk.